Friday, April 20, 2018
Opinion

Filth on Facebook sloshes into real world

Let's be proper and cast a harsh glance and a tsk, tsk in the direction of Debbie Piscitella. She has it coming.

Choking a 14-year-old boy in a shopping mall is wrong, wrong and wrong. Shameful. Awful. Violence — bad.

Now that we have gotten our politically correct ablutions out of the way, we can quietly admit that when we read of Piscitella's defense of her daughter, we all (even the pacifists among us) thought to ourselves: "You go, girl. If it had been me, that kid wouldn't have been able to sit down for a month."

Piscitella has been charged by the St. Petersburg police for assaulting the 14-year-old boy, who apparently has a budding career as the next Andrew Breitbart, who before checking out a few months ago was the reigning knuckle-dragging thug of the Internet.

The Thrilla at the Tyrone Square Mall began when Piscitella happened upon the lad while shopping with her daughter. He had posted on Facebook that the 13-year-old girl was so unappealing he wouldn't bother to rape her. When the girl's father had tried to intervene on the Web, the boy posted additional, explicitly sexual observations about her.

On Monday, mother confronted oaf. Unpleasantries ensued.

And now Piscitella is facing a child abuse charge. "She Who Must Be Dismayed" is properly chastened and apologetic for trying to choke a dope in a shopping mall. "I shouldn't have done that," Piscitella wrote on her Facebook page. "But you all do not even come close to understanding all the torment they have put my child through."

Therein might be a smidgen of an alibi for the mother — or at least a strong mitigating factor for why she did what she did. Was this really an assault on a poor, innocent teenager? Or the social media equivalent of "stand your ground"?

In theory, Facebook and, before that, MySpace began as an innocent online forum for people to share aspects of their lives, their interests, their opinions. How quaint. How delusional.

Instead, the medium often resembles a cyber Star Chamber where all manner of vitriol, lies, character assassination and bullying is the order of the day. And this is especially common among younger users.

If you are a parent and you are not monitoring your child's Facebook usage, then you are certifiably bubbleheaded.

There are too many examples of children who have been mercilessly harassed and vilified over the Internet by their hideous, loathsome pubescent tormentors, to the point that they took their own lives.

What this 14-year-old didn't know or didn't care about was that he was casting this young girl as a modern day cyber Hester. It is a smeared reputation long — if ever — in the correcting.

Children are cute. But not always. Kids can be mean, capable of the most hurtful treatment of their peer group. What occurred here was a viral Lord of the Flies.

What would any of us do if we discovered some adolescent had just published offensive comments on the World Wide Web about a son's or daughter's sexuality, or other assorted prurient innuendos?

Outrage? Vein-popping anger? Fury? You betcha.

Piscitella has admitted grabbing the little twerp was a big mistake. And it was. But does this incident rise to the level where a mother who rather impulsively attempted to defend her daughter's honor needs to face the prospect of a criminal record?

An apology seems more than enough and certainly more than the offending cyber bully deserves.

But the teenager also should be held to account, too.

Maybe if this chap had to spend some time with rape victims and hear their stories of the trauma they experienced, he might not be so quick to toss sexual assault references around Facebook.

At the very least, the boy's mother learned a valuable lesson as well — that her son disrespects females and their parents, and he has an X-rated mouth on him that would embarrass Chris Rock.

Trying to choke this kid was wrong. Washing his mouth out with soap is another matter altogether.

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