“It isn't Funny...We weren't Thinking!”
Swift, Global Backlash Greets Hamilton Men
Who Shot Video of Cruel Stunt in Barton Street McDonald's
From an article written by Molly Hayes ~ The Hamilton Spectator:
They may have taken down the video, but two Hamilton men who filmed themselves throwing a half-eaten cheeseburger and a drink at an unsuspecting sleeping man in a McDonald's can only wish it will be forgotten. Nothing ever is truly gone from the Internet and in this latest example of 'social media backfire'...thousands of people have chimed in to shame the men for the stunt which, based on their laughter, was presumably supposed to be funny. The clear response from people around the world ~ backlash which attracted the attention of police...was Disgust!
Matthew West, 23 agrees now, in hindsight, “It isn't funny...we weren't thinking!” The video was posted to Facebook by Joey Alexander Reid. West is tagged in the video as being 'with' Reid after a night out Sunday. It shows the two friends giggling at their table before panning the camera toward a man who has fallen asleep several tables away. It shows West dropping a half-eaten cheeseburger into a cup half-full of bright pink pop, which he then tosses in the man's face before the two of them run out of the restaurant laughing. In one of his many apologies Monday, West acknowledged they had been drinking, but that it wasn't an excuse.
One Facebook user who was particularly outraged by the incident
posted a screen shot of the post on his own Facebook page Monday morning,
encouraging people to 'share, share, share' and people did ~ more than 2,000 times
with scathing comments and messages from around the world.
A McMaster University professor commented, “I think the temptation to have that moment of fame, where you have your 15 seconds, where you are doing something that you know your friends find funny on reality TV or on Internet TV shows...that's a very powerful pull...especially when you're 'under the influence'. When you post something on the Internet, you're speaking to the entire world!”
(excerpts from Molly Hayes article published March 18, 2015)
THE SPECTATOR'S VIEW
When online bullying begets bullying:
(written by Lee Prokaska...published March 18th issue)
Two young men throw a half-eaten burger dipped in drink at a sleeping man in a local fast food place. They think it's funny. It's actually stupid and immature. They shoot video of themselves in the act ~ more stupid and immature. The ultimate in stupidity and immaturity? Posting the video to Facebook, where is was almost immediately subjected to outrage.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this incident and they are not new lessons. Just a few:
Think before you post...Don't drink and post...The Internet is forever (even if you pull something off quickly. Bullying is bad ~ and cowardly ~ in person and online!
The posting of the video and the backlash expose and engender bullying. Scathing commentary, mostly from behind the mask of online anonymity, becomes piling on and morphs into threats to specific people. The bullies become bullied...innocent bystanders get pulled into the mess...then it's over in a flash...and the web world moves on to the next outrage.
It may seem unreal, but it's not. It's mean, harmful and irresponsible. It's bullying begetting bullying.
And it's wrong.
Kim Arbour in her 'Letter to the Spec’ (March 18) wrote:
Food Tossers: Disgraceful Act
I am appalled that two young punks would think it was funny to throw food in a man's face. Now, they don't think it's funny because the media and their peers don't. Did they stop to think this man may be cold...homeless...sick...or had mental health issues? Why didn't they offer to buy him a burger and drink instead of throwing their garbage in his face? As a health professional, I work in this area of town...and have seen the lack of compassion shown to the less fortunate.
Everyone of us could be this gentleman. I say, “Charge them with assault and make them apologize to him for their disgraceful behaviour. He could have been their father, grandfather or somebody they care about. Make an example of them.” This must not be tolerated in our city.
The foregoing writers fully express my viewpoint on this bullying act!
Respect people’s feelings…even if it doesn’t mean anything to you.
It could mean everything to them.
Theodore Roosevelt: Knowing what’s right, doesn’t mean much…unless you do what’s right.
Robert Kiyosaki: A lot of people are afraid to recognize the truth…to say ‘No’.
This is where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully…it’s being a backbone.
Desmond Tutu: If you are neutral in a situation of injustice,
you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse…
and you say that you are neutral…the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr…March 18, 2015
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