After tragedy comes keyboard rage

People who are at fault in significant local transportation accidents can expect to suffer more than death, injury or guilt. They can count on self-proclaimed safe drivers attacking them on Internet comment boards.

Four tragedies in the Top of Utah this summer caused heated reader rumbles on

Exhibit one: An elderly woman driver turned left in front of a motorcyclist on 12th Street. The biker was severely injured. On the story comment board, motorcycle activists blasted the woman. A relative of the woman posted an apology for the accident, but that only inflamed the bikers to more vicious heights.

Second, after two recent Ogden Canyon accidents in which several local teenagers died, several critics poured invective and insults on the teens. A few comments included blanket condemnations of “Mexican” drivers. The argument spiraled into the unrelated illegal immigration controversy.

Now comes the case of a Davis County man who was killed by a Frontrunner train Monday night after he drove onto the tracks, around the crossing barrier. It didn’t take long before comments were posted by people assailing the man for having put train passengers’ lives at risk.

One such mind-reading, venomous analysis: “So why was he willing to put so many other lives at risk (train operators, passengers and bystanders) just because he felt he was too important to wait?”

Obviously, frustration and anguish are understandable. Most people don’t have much patience for bad drivers. The lack of tolerance goes up when blatantly dangerous behaviors are involved, such as canyon speeding and rail crossing violations. But I think it’s heartless and serves no constructive purpose to rain down vicious invective, especially while the bodies are still warm and families on all sides are grieving.

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8 Responses to After tragedy comes keyboard rage

  1. Doug Gibson says:

    Thomas Jefferson is alleged to have said: “When angry, count to 10 before speaking. When very angry, count to 100.” … The same could apply to keyboards.

  2. BobBecker says:

    \But I think it’s heartless and serves no constructive purpose to rain down vicious invective, especially while the bodies are still warm and families on all sides are grieving.\

    Yes. The level and frequency of just plain downright spittin’ meannessin some people is depressing. And sadly, the net and web provide such miserable folk easy options to display their mean-spiritedness [usually anonymously] where the rest of us can see it.

  3. CB says:

    Well, especially where there is careless or reckless driving, those families don’t need to hear it… I’m willing to bet they are grieving just as much for the senselessness of it all, as they are for the death itself. I recall that very sentiment coming from the families of those kids who were killed in the canyon, warning others not to do the same.

  4. Michael Trujillo says:

    Well, you could require people to use their actual names when they comment on-line. Using my name rather than my old User ID “Blue Lou” has made me pause before I’ve said a thing or two. People tout the annonimity of the internet but I don’t buy it. If we were sitting around the pickle barrel or standing by the water cooler talking about current events or politics, we wouldn’t wear bags on our heads so nobody could trace our comments back to us.

  5. Scot says:

    It is a real shame, especially when someone dies, but accidents do happen.
    The christian thing to do is forgive, regardless of how difficult that might be to do.

  6. laytonian says:

    Michael, I agree that using one’s real name adds to accountability.

    However, because I started on the internet in days of yore (when there was no web), then moved to Prodigy (where real names are required)…I quickly found out why anonymity is safer.

    If you knew my real name, you’d find stalkers who’ve posted sexual, scatalogical, and libelous statements about me. Just because they could, from the anonymity of remailers.

    I still use my real name in several places (and it’s not hard to figure out). But it’s not been easy.

    Right now, my biggest “fan” is a man in Las Vegas — unhinged enough that he actually emailed me his identifying information before beginning his campaign.

    Beware, my friends.

    My own rage is aimed at careless adults, whose ineptitude and sheer stupidity causes the death of child(ren).

    Maybe my hope is that someone else will be so appalled at my “judging” the inept, that they’ll think twice before letting their child run loose?

    Nah, that hasn’t worked, either.

  7. Krissy Thompson says:

    Here’s one of my rules for mouthing off about a tragedy–am I telling these people anything they don’t already know? Is my outrage going to lessen the risk of something like this happening again? The families of these drivers are already fully aware of what their loved ones did and the results of those behaviors, and those family members responsible for the tragedy are dead. So all I’m doing by shouting is increasing the family’s pain and railing against someone who can’t hear me anyway.

  8. Zack says:

    Krissy I agree with you whole heartedly.

    Even laytonian came across as an \adult\ this time. Good for him; there is hope for him afterall.


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