Don't Blame Facebook for Stupid People's Crimes

robbery facebookI'm not quite sure why people still insist on flirting with strangers on Facebook, but it happens! In a recent case, online flirtation between a guy and gal in Lima, Ohio (oh, hey, that's Glee-town!) led to a serious crime. See, the woman, Tara Bell, met a guy named Josh L. Tyree via the social networking site. She's now accused of luring him on a fake date in order to set him up for a robbery. Oh jeeze. And FYI, Bell's pleading guilty.

Alright, not to belittle what happened here -- I do feel bad for the guy, because he got shot in the leg by the robber when he showed up to the meeting place! -- but it really annoys me when this kind of thing goes down. Because sooner or later -- usually sooner -- someone points the finger at Facebook or Twitter or Craigslist or Google+ (are people even meeting on there yet?). As if the sites themselves, the Internet itself, are the reason these shenanigans occur.

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But the truth is that crimes like this have been happening offline for centuries. And continue to occur despite the Internet. It's just that we live our lives online now, and malicious people and gullible people ready and willing to fall into their traps are EVERYWHERE.

Tyree is probably a nice guy, who knows, but he didn't really use his judgment or common sense when flirting with a woman who is a total stranger on Facebook. It's really a pet peeve of mine. Facebook was founded on the basis of creating a network of people you already know -- or at least semi-know. (Like that guy you haven't talked to since AP English eight years ago, but you remember him having a decent sense of humor.) It's not exactly built for connecting with strangers. If you want to meet someone to go on a date with, you go on Match.com or eHarmony or Plenty of Fish. And even there, you're bound to run into more than a handful of crazies ... just as you would at any bar or other place where singles congregate!

No, sorry, the Internet isn't sanitized. Just like the real world isn't. Either way, you have to be on the defensive when attempting a blind, potentially disastrous, first date.

Do you think Facebook or the Internet in general should be blamed for crimes like these?

 

Image via Geoffrey Fairchild/Flickr

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