Wednesday, March 28, 2007

death threats against Kathy Sierra

The prominent blogger and author Kathy Sierra has recently cancelled a tutorial at a conference after receiving death threats.

Obviously this is a matter for the police to investigate - and the matter has been reported to them.

It's also an issue that is causing a lot of discussion on the net. The strange thing is that a large portion of the discussion seems based on the idea that what happened to Kathy is somehow unusual. The sexual aspect of the attacks on Kathy is bizarre but campaigns of death threats are far from unusual in our society. The first post I saw to nail this is the I had death threats in high school blog entry. Death threats and campaigns of intimidation are standard practice in most high schools. After children are taught that such things are OK for six years straight it's hardly a surprise that some of them act in the same manner outside school!

But I don't expect anything to change. Columbine apparently didn't convince anyone who matters that there is a serious problem in high-schools, I don't expect anything else to.

I can clearly remember when I first heard about the Columbine massacre, a colleague told me about it and explained that he barracked for the killers due to his own experiences at high-school. While my former colleague probably had not given his statements much consideration, any level of support for serial-killers is something to be concerned about.

This is not to trivialise Kathy's experience. But I think that discussion should be directed at more fundamental problems in society instead of one of the symptoms. If the causes are not addressed then such things will keep happening.

1 comment:

Ralf said...

I don't think its specific to high schools. We have simerlar problems here in Holland. The term people use to describe it is "useless violence". Violence that doesn't serve any purpose.

Afterwards, when you ask the perpetrators, they say "they didn't really think about how it was like for the person that were beating up". This sounds extremely silly, but its not. Who is still telling them to care about others? The only message they ever get is "your special, you are unique, your opinions matter, buy, buy. buy."

For some reason there is very thin line between emancipation and teaching people to be self-centered.

It's just individualism that is backfiring. Perhaps because those pushing it to the people, push it for the wrong reasons: to sell products.

I understand that in the United States, there is a lot more competitiveness, but disagree with that actually being the cause of these things. Holland isn't very competitive, yet we have similar problems. Teenagers that just don't give a fuck and go around and hurt somebody out of boredom. Thankfully guns are not legal here, and no teenager will be able to get his hands on one of those. Otherwise we would have had our columbine years ago.

I honestly think we should recognize the need and the importance of people that first consider themselves part of a society, and then, an individual. It really is depressing for a teenager, when you parents divorce, out of selfishness, when you government is corrupt. out of selfishness and when you go to school and the biggest bully gets all the love.

I guess, if you grow up, never seeing somebody sacrifice anything for any good cause. If you never see anyone putting their own needs second. If you see selfishness and self-centeredness constantly being rewarded. You might, someday, switch teams and say "what the fuck, I aint helping nobody. Nobody's helping me. From now on, I just going to take what I want".

Those kids that go to school and shoot the crap out of everybody, are just those few kinds that weren't able to make the switch from 'idealist' to 'selfish asshole', needed to survive in this world. They didn't go from giving to taking like the rest of them; they went from loving to hating. Those columbine kids didn't want to survive. They didn't want to live in this world. Most suicidal people, they just kill themselves to flea their problems. These kinds were not running away from their problems. We need to think about that. This world was so depressing for them, they would rather destroy it, then try to live in it.

For a large part, being pretty young myself, I can come up with one reason for this, though there might be more. Globalized information: We know too much of this world, too young. The world is flat. We see and hear of _all_ the problems in the world. We also get so much background-info that any attempt to solve any of those problems get squashed. The only message we get is "its a mess and its not going to change". That's just really depressing. Perhaps the columbine kids were just the few kids that actually watched the news? Whereas the rest sticked to MTV?

I will in also, in the case of columbine, not forget that this happened in a little town, where the majority of the people worked in the cruise-missle-factory. These kinds saw a truck for every cruise-missle being trown (on Serbia at that time) passing their school. I can only guess how that would make me feel at that age.