The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Dumb posts ruin good futures

Many people have posted something online and now regret it. Like feathers in the wind, once dispersed into the world, there is no taking our words or posts back.

But some are made to regret their posts more than others including those whose messages in the virtual world landed them in a real-world court.

Take Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe, who both attempted to use Facebook to start riots in England. Both said they were joking and nothing actually happened, but the 20-some-year-olds will serve four years in jail for their lame pranks.

In the U.S., former University of Minnesota mortuary student Amanda Tatro posted threats of violence against the living and disrespectful comments about her donated cadaver. While there was no criminal action, a student conduct committee gave her an F in the class, placed her on academic probation and made her take an ethics class for breaking the university’s conduct code.

When she attempted to overturn the university’s decision, the state courts backed the university saying Tatro had violated the university’s rules. The Minnesota Supreme Court is currently hearing the case. Tatro said she didn’t mean the comments. She was just venting or joking.

And Miami Dade College student Joaquin Amador pleaded not guilty to threatening President Barack Obama in his Facebook posts. Police arrested Amador at his home after he asked those attending a college visit by Obama to video the event because he was going to shoot the president and wanted the video posted on YouTube. He also told the court the posts were a joke.

There’s a common thread here: “I was just kidding” doesn’t hold up very well in court.

Nor does it satisfy the friend, family member, boss or significant other who happens to read or “misread” posts.

Hopefully, society will have a short learning curve and the courts will soon have firm rules about what will and won’t land a person in jail. More realistically, it will take years before we can know with certainty if an edgy post will land us in hot water.

But until then, make sure to pause a minute or wait until you’re sober and calm before you click that post button. Jail time or losing your education is a steep price to pay for a moment’s indiscretion.

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