A lot has happened since Sunday, when 16-year-old Kara Alongi tweeted that someone was inside her house and that people should call 911. In short: Twitter went berserk fretting for her safety; a police search was conducted; and it was determined that it was all a hoax. Then after all of that, yesterday she was found walking along the New Jersey Turnpike and reunited with her family.
It's difficult to even imagine how emotionally charged that reunion with her parents was. There had to be such a mix of anger, outrage, and resentment, but I imagine that relief and joy that she was home safe trumped everything.
The rest of the world, however, doesn't want to pause to celebrate her safe return; instead they just want to continue crucifying her for what she did.
People have come down hard, calling her everything from "the girl who Tweeted wolf," to spoiled, selfish, and narcissistic. Some have called for her to be jailed, and almost no one is looking at her with any inkling of sympathy. Instead, she's become the most hated girl on Twitter.
A sampling of Tweets tearing her down:
Its bitches like
@KaraAlongi that ruin investigations for ACTUAL kidnap victims. I hope she's charged for faking her own kidnapping. Hoe. -- @SaksFilthAve
Well Kara Alongi is home safe. Now who's going to be the one to enroll her into a mental institution? She obviously needs help. And manners. -- @darcjade
What she did was absolutely wrong, but we don't know enough about why she did it to judge her so harshly. It may be that she made a rash decision that she never thought would snowball like this, and she got caught up in a nightmare that grew out of her control. Often Twitter seems like a big, black hole into which you Tweet and hear nary an echo if you're not a Kardashian. Perhaps she thought a friend or two would see it and laugh, then the next thing she knew she'd earned the wrath of the world.
Maybe she has some deep problems with her parents, or with a friend, or at school. Maybe she's dealing with more than we can ever imagine. Or maybe she is just some brat who did it for attention.
I don't know, but I do think she deserves the benefit of the doubt. It's up to her and her family to figure out how they can move on from here, and it's up to the rest of us to remember that she's just 16 after all. Plenty of us did rash and impulsive things at that age; we just didn't have the entire world judging us for them or the temptation of Twitter. #JudgeNot
What would you do if your child did something like this? Do you think she deserves some sympathy?
Image via Clark Police Department