Oct
27

Using Social Media to do Harm

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by on October 27, 2012

I have agonized about whether I would share what has been going on in my life for the past month. I like to keep my personal life separate from my professional life, but sometimes the two worlds collide. I have dedicated the last four years of my life promoting the benefits of social media and raving about how wonderful it can be, but during the last month I have experienced how ugly it can be when it is used as a weapon. Over the last couple of weeks I have been targeted by some of the lowest life forms on the planet. One woman called my boss and told him I had no business being a teacher. She also had the audacity to post where my 17 year  old daughter works for over 13,000 people to see.  All of this has taken place on Facebook.

What did I do to upset these people? I stood up for a very good friend who has been accused of killing a dog in cold blood. This person is a deputy sheriff and has worked closely with my husband for over 13 years. He is more like family than a friend. My local paper posted a couple of different updates about how this officer shot a dog while on patrol on their Facebook page. I made a few comments where I urged people to examine all of the evidence before forming a conclusion about what happened and the next thing I know I am being torn apart on the JusticeforBos Facebook group.

The family of the dead dog formed this Facebook group just hours after their dog died, ostensibly to raise awareness about animal cruelty.  However, the vast majority of the comments were not left to provide support to the family, but rather to take cheap shots at this officer as well as other local law enforcement officers. The main ring leader of the group  is a man whose family harbors deep-seated resentment toward my friend because they believe he “murdered” one of their family members many years ago. There were never any criminal charges and their civil case was thrown out twice.

I believe so strongly in this person and I will not be bullied into not supporting him. I watched for weeks as thousands of people joined the JusticeforBos Facebook group and called for the resignation, termination, and in some cases, the murder of this officer. They claim that a short 3 minute segment of video proves this man is a killer. They claim they have even more video that backs up their story, but it has yet to be produced. They fail to acknowledge the numerous pieces of evidence such as the necropsy (which show the dog was shot as he was facing the officer and NOT while he was running away and eyewitness accounts that back up the officer.However, none of this matters to me. I KNOW that this officer had to shoot this dog because it was aggressive and it lunged to attack him. His word is all I need.

I started a new blog because I did not want to share the horrific things on this blog that I shared on there. The video and slide show contain graphic images and vulgar language so please be mindful of where you view them. There are dozens of screenshots from the “secret” Facebook group that illustrate the extreme level of hate and contempt these people possess. I have provided links to the articles from my local paper as well as the statement of support from the attorney representing the police department, embedded the surveillance camera footage, and linked to the summary of a lawsuit that has been brought up again. If you want to know more about the background of this story then please visit High Road.

I have shared all of this because I want some good to come out of this nightmare that I have been living for the last month. I am requesting that you leave a short comment on the post I wrote called Setting the Record Straight in support of law enforcement officers everywhere. They have an unbelievably difficult job which is made even more difficult when they are openly harassed. My wish is for the High Road to have numerous supportive comments directed at all law enforcement officers. They need to know that people believe in them and that they matter.



4 Responses to “Using Social Media to do Harm”

  1.   Andrew Blackwell Says:

    I support you.

    Best wishes

    Andrew

    Reply

  2.   Jenna Newton Says:

    I support police officers!! Especially my father who served for over 30 years. My father is the person who impacted my education…I wanted a criminal justice degree just like him…and I wanted to help individuals. Police officers and correctional workers are my heroes for many reasons. Although we do not see eye to eye on a few incidents I want to make it VERY clear I support police officers who serve & protect…I will support you on that matter.

    Reply

    •   Beth Still Says:

      Jenna,
      Thank you for your comment. I have no doubt you support law enforcement officers. No matter what you and I disagree on there is no denying that law enforcement officers in Scotts Bluff county have taken a beating over the last month or so. First, they got flack for not investigating the Ike case. What the general public does not realize is how many man hours have been dedicated to solving the case. With your background in law enforcement you can appreciate the fact it takes time to put a solid case together. Just a week later, Bos was shot and killed and Ray was accused of doing things that I am certain he is not capable of. I started the High Road blog as a place where I, along with others, could share words of support for Ray and other law enforcement officers. I believe he is a good person and I will not change my position on that. I understand and respect your right (and the right of others) to disagree with me. Those who stand behind Ray deserve to have a place where they can comment without fear of being attacked. The problem is that there is no neutral ground where people can actually talk about this situation. There isn’t a forum where anyone can ask questions to gain a better understanding of what happened on September 22. This is a very emotionally charged situation. Nobody likes to see a family pet get killed, but there are quite a few people who believe his actions were justified. We are entitled to our opinion just like those who disagree with us are entitled to theirs. Again thank you for your comment. If you are currently a law enforcement officer—-thank you for your service.

      Reply

  3.   Meryl Says:

    I think a lot of other people do that now more than ever. It seems like it’s their means of wanting to show they have the upper-hand above everyone else.

    Meryl Dail

    Reply

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