On the tragedy of Tyler Clementi and what you can do to turn it into a better Internet for us all.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

The words come easily about a thoughtless incident
engineered  by unthinking adolescents


The facts have flashed around the world.

A freshman at Rutgers University, Tyler Clementi, literally just
days into his first term, had an encounter with another
student, a  male student.

His peeping tom roommates, one male, one female,
had the bright idea of posting live feed of the tryst on
the net for the titillation and second-hand  jollies of a world
that can’t seem to get enough of the intrusive and lascivious,
no matter how invasive the source.

All this was bad enough, thoroughly, unequivocally

But worse was quick to come.

A young man in a new, strange environment learning what
had been done, faced in his mind a future replete with embarrassing
confessions at home, taunts from bigoted classmates,
ridicule and recriminations for what was no more
than a private act of consensual love at a great
liberal institution.

Tyler, literally helpless, saw only one way to cope,
and so at the very dawn of adult life he took that life,
by leaping into eternity from the George Washington Bridge,
a premature statistic with stillborn potential.

Not the net but its misusers at fault

For those who dislike and mistrust the Internet, the
Clementi case has been a godsend. Now here is an
opportunity to lambast and to deprecate the Internet as
a hotbed of lying, prevarication, deception, malice
aforethought, and unfathomable immorality. These
vociferous folk say the Internet must be hobbled,
controlled, contained, regulated and eviscerated of
its almost satanic power for mayhem and evil.

But such critics are wrong.

The Internet is neither good nor bad; it is only what
the minds of men have made it.

As such we must look into ourselves to find
solutions to a problem that threatens to engulf and
destroy the great institution the Internet has become.

The solution starts with you, and it starts today
from your computer. Here is what must be done
by all of us, without a moment’s delay, lest we tarry
too long and lose this race for the soul of the Internet.

1) Never post anonymous comments about
anyone. If you have something to say, have the
courage of your convictions, not the dutch courage
of anonymity. Yes, anonymity has its benefits, but these
are dwarfed by the hurtful and malicious comments
which  are bold only because unclaimed by their

2) Tell owners of sites publishing anonymous
comments that what they are doing is reprehensible,
dishonorable, cowardly and injudicious.  One such comment
from just one person may cause a shrug from the site owners
and publishers. But one comment launches the forces of
outraged morality which have ignored, evaded, and winked too
long at these abuses.

3)  Boycott sites which publish and condone
the malice and pain of anonymous comments.
Boycott advertisers on such sites. And tell them you
are doing so. Money talks, especially when it walks.

4) Use the majesty of fair play to rout those who
present and sustain the dedicated, premeditated
evil of anonymous commentary.  Post a comment
whenever you see anonymity used for destruction.
Remind readers that the one attacked has not
been asked for rebuttal and fair response.

5) Be honest in describing acts of anonymous
commentary, films, video, etc which set out to
hurt and malign. These are not "pranks" (as
the Rudgers perpetrators claim); they are
deliberate acts of hate, violence, and vicious
destruction and must be regarded and dealt
with accordingly.

6) Don’t regard the publication and posting of
intimate personal business as anything other
than a clear violation of an individual’s essential
right to privacy. You must be quite clear on this!

7) Assume that the people publishing anonymous
comments have an axe to grind, a personal motive
behind their remarks, an arriere pensee   They wish
to be perceived as delivering the truth, while in
reality cloaking their own objectives behind the
shield of anonymity. This allows them to lie, cloak,
run, hide, deceive and avoid any responsibility
whatsoever while the gullible and credulous are manipulated.

8) See if the site publishing the hurtful anonymous
commentary has a listed owner, address, phone,
e-mail etc.; someone in a responsible position who
can remove comments clearly designed to
agitate, calumniate, and besmirch — or is the
site impervious and inhospitable to the need for
accuracy and fairness.

Above all, recognize this: all that must happen for evil
to prevail is for men of good will and progressive
outlook to do nothing. The time is here for these good people,
including you, to use your powers for goodness,
before a handful of malicious, hateful, mean-
spirited people of unrelenting negativity and disguised
motive cause the Internet to stumble and fall,
brought down by a bacillus which can and must be
eradicated now.

This all comes too late of course for Tyler Clementi, young,
confused, who died alone and who might have left no footprint
here at all. But this lad gone too soon is instead a source
for cosmic change of the utmost importance
to the myriad activities and communications of mankind
universal on the Information Highway.  His death, tragic as it
is, does have meaning for he has helped cleanse the
Internet of a great evil. Sleep well, young Tyler for we shall not
forget you, victim of malice, inspiration for reform. You have
done your work and it is good.

About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of
Worldprofit, Inc., www.worldprofit.com where
small and home-based businesses learn how to
profit online through automation. Attend Dr. Lant’s
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go to www.jeffreylant.com