Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Lindsey Factor: A Cautionary Episode Of The Internet Shame Game

Lindsay Stone is the young woman in the picture above who felt that going to a place where respect for those who died defending American freedom was still a place you could publicly act like a rebellious 13 year old. Her alleged impulse, as she would later insist, to be cute and contrary and make "funny pictures" came, of course, from that part of human nature that resists authority, despises and pushed set boundaries and does what it wants to. It's regrettable that what she characterizes as being "funny" became a moment that she and a friend needed to be documented for their amusement.

So when it hit Facebook, as the ancient books say, "it was written" that she would find Internet notoriety knocking on her inbox and voicemail. For the Internet made her famous, in all the ways you don't want to be immortalized for it.

This foolish young woman realized that the closest thing to sacred ground in even a secularized land like America is not a place you do such things. It goes to show you how ill advised people can be and the inevitable shaming she encountered for a private moment of stupidity becoming globally public for syndicated consumption was a lesson for us. It's what I call the "Lindsey Factor," something I'll be blogging on in the future. I want to take a look at how the power of the media and the phenomenon of mass personal outrage magnified by the Web is a potent source for change for both the good, evil and all points inbetween .. and how the essentially well intended sense of establishing right and wrong can go terribly yet predictably wrong.

Lindsay, if you are still Googling to find out how far you've been able to move beyond your admittedly pathetically unfunny and insulting image you created, and you happen upon this blog, I want you to understand, as a veteran and a pastor, I am both infuriated and saddened still - how you could choose such a place to "mock-disrespect" and so completely ignore the national sanctity we hold for it. I am taking time to actually travel there this summer to pay respects at a memorial of a tragedy aboard my old ship, the U.S.S. Forrestal  that took place when I was only seven years old that cost the lives of many men serving our country. It matters enough to me that it should be remembered by all the country and Arlington is a timeless place it should be remembered at.  As a man old enough to be your father, I am sorry you now reap what you have sown but that is the nature of things.

You seem to be an intelligent and compassionate young woman who is mortified and trying to move on.  I've no interest in belittling you and believe in redemption and growth. So I am glad you are trying to still do good in a world that you've rightfully enraged over an act that didn't need to happen. I hope your help of the autistic goes well, for autism is a tragic dimension of reality in our world that you are trying to alleviate.  But your lapse has become a teachable moment to bring light upon the darkness in our world for which future writing will come. I'm just shaking my head that it had to be you .. or anyone else.

I'm certain you've now come to understand that our freedom .. and yours .. isn't free. It came at a price your example terribly mocked.

I truly hope that is the life lesson you had here.