Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain on the Wurld Wide Web!


Matt White

You’ve gotta love social media at it’s finest. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that we all, in one fashion or another, have played the role of the “Monday quarterback” or backseat driver, but the anonymity of the internet’s exploited overuse of emoticons, memes and avatars in a fictitious virtual world is more prevalent to some than good old fashioned face-to-face communication.
Recently a picture of a couple of Norwich City PD officers goofing off in the office re-surfaced on Facebook, and like clockwork the opposing forces collided like some sort of super hero battle of good versus evil. More than 100 Facebookers had strong feelings either for against the photograph from “alleged” locations as far as California.
Personally, I don’t think the act itself was especially heinous or cause for alarm. After all, People fool around all the time at work, and again – sometimes one falls through the cracks. At most is was just some inappropriate tom foolery that, I’ll admit didn’t even go all that far.
Now, you can choose to love or hate the guy over on Chenango County Memes – often known for his seemingly slanderous approach to all things disgraceful in the ‘Nango – for the content that he posts, but at the end of the day there is integral accountability associated with everything that he post. The administrator of that page is comfortable in his shoes and is transparent, rarely (if ever) does he seem to be offended by the slew of derogatory comments often channeled his way from people with differing onions.
Humans are fallible by nature. The one thing that people of all faiths and denominations can agree on is that people make mistakes. Heck, even the anarchists admit that.
You have made mistakes. I have made mistakes.
Four years ago I was arrested and charged with a DWI… I blew a .08%… so I was the legal definition of intoxicated, which for a man of my size really doesn’t seem like much. What was more detrimental for the outcome of my situation was that I “fled” the police and hit two parked cars. My explanation, I panicked – plain and simple.
Needless to say, it cost me greatly. It cost me a marriage, a $35,000 car, at least $5,000 in legal fees, restitution and eventually a short stint in county jail. No fun.
As embarrassing as the entire incident is, I owned it… and I still do. I don’t hide from the fact that I did something callous and stupid, and I never will. It’s in the past and I have moved on. No one died, thankfully. Some will always argue “Someone could have died,” and I’ll always counter, “did they?”
Where the “cop-selfie heard round the entire city of Norwich” ties into my story is when I commented on the Facebook post something along the lines of “Anything shared on the internet is permanent and never goes away,” something that the officers in the photo probably understand well and clear.
Where this story gets interesting is that an unidentified individual with an anonymous profile begrudgingly posted a link to the ES story that a former reporter wrote of my shortcomings four years ago. It was news, and it was his job, and I can now respect that.

This anonymous person basically tried to throw me under the bus and humiliate me.
Did it work? Absolutely not.

In response, I sent a message to this “masked man” (or woman… which I like to assume is the case since the sex of the person in question is listed as “male” on the profile… and deception seems to be his/her thing) calling them out for their cowardly act of trying to oust folks who may have fallen from grace accountable, yet remain anonymous and “untouchable” – effectively unaccountable for their actions.
Moral of the story; When attempting to mar someones character by shedding light on a past mishap –
1) Just. Don’t. Because that just makes you a jerk. And a coward.
2) You’d better have a face and an identity to back it up – and be as transparent as the guy you’re trying to throw under the bus. If you’re going to call someone out, you’d better expect that you’ll be called out. If not, you just look foolish. VERY foolish.