On Monday night in the northwest suburb of Sydney called The Ponds an 8-year-old boy was hit and killed whilst riding his bike across the road.
I was first alerted to it as a friend of mine lives on a nearby street where it happened and the CareFlight helicopter had just landed nearby. She was concerned and put a question on Facebook asking if anyone knew what was going on. She also mentioned that there were lots of police cars will lights flashing as well.
The news started to trickle through from other friends of hers who live in the area and those who had heard about the incident on the news. Then one of the local news paper’s Facebook page updated their status with the news and put a call out for anyone who was a witness to the incident to come forward.
The normal comments started coming through on that page by followers including;
“Prayers for the family and boy…”
And then a comment was made that made me quite angry.
“I bet the driver was drunk.”
If it turns out the mother was speeding and witnesses can corroborate that then I am sure she will be charged and it will go to a trial. And if it turns out that she was drunk or even slightly intoxicated then I am sure the correct procedures will be put in place to convict the driver of negligent driving.
(Note; the driver was tested for alcohol and returned a negative breath test and later a negative blood test. After questioning at the local police station she was released without charge later that night).
But that is not what concerned me. What concerned me was why someone would jump to that conclusion without ANY string of evidence that it would be the case.
Is this person an anti-drunk-driving advocate? Has this person lost a friend or family member to an incident involving a drunk driver? Is this woman a man-hater who has taken her distain for men and assumed the worse and taken it to an extreme level? What is her cause? What is her problem?
In this age of social media we have many people who are quick off the mark with their comments on current events and they are often wrong. They don’t wait for more evidence before assuming a “logical” conclusion or reason for an action or incident in their mind and that assumption is often an extreme negative remark.-
Just last week Donna D’Errico jumped on Twitter and claimed that the star the television show 7th Heaven, Stephen Collins had committed suicide. It had been announced in the media earlier that day that Collins had admitted to sexual abuse of a minor. Of course he had not committed suicide. Ms D’Errico claims to have heard a gun shot and then assumed it was Mr Collins killing himself. Do not assume.
Of course, it would be remiss of me not to include this old cliché in this story;
“When you assume you make an ass out of u and me.”
That’s very true. But assumptions still happen.
After my initial reaction of being angry at this woman for making this comment had faded and I thought about her comment in a rational way, my feeling of anger towards her turned to pity. You see, often these sort of comments are made by people who are angry at something themselves and their comment is nothing more than a subconscious cry for help.
Just like those “vague-booking” status updates on Facebook. It is sad, but sometimes social media is the only medium for some people to get their otherwise silent screams out.
I often want to reach out to the people making comments like this in the hope of being able to find out if they need help. Sure, you can’t help everyone, but then again, you really do need to look out for anyone who you might deem to need some help.
But then again this could be just the angry rant of someone who had a bad day and that negative comment was nothing more than a build up of angry emotions taking their next logical step towards them thinking the most extreme and negative thing they can think of. Maybe that helps them cope.
I am hoping that with my studies in psychology at university I can unlock the answers to the human psyche.