Alyssa Douglas

Here’s the thing. Yes, she should get a shit-scaring-out-of-her visit from the Secret Service. And if there are legal repercussions she has to face, I will laugh and laugh and laugh. What she tweeted was stupid and evil.

And what they’re doing at Daily Kos is stupid and evil, too. How many times do we have to watch internet shit-storms get completely out of hand before we learn that they’re a terrible idea? I will never forget, nor forgive, how Jesus’ General cost Britney her job because he felt like playing judge, jury, and jailer and hadn’t bothered to discover whether there was any surrounding context. He just brought down his unholy shit-storm and there was no defense against it. There were just too many people who were too angry for him to call it off once it sank in to him how he’d fucked up.

But one of the things that struck me about that incident–and it strikes me about this one–is how easy it is to build a mob against a girl. and how, once the crowd gets revved up about going against a girl, whatever they want to do to her is fine. Whatever happens to her, it’s somehow her own fault. Harass her, harass her family, harass her school, harass her workplace, whatever you want! It’s all cool and fine, because… well… because bitches have to be kept in line.

There will be no defense she can give, no sorry that is enough for her to get her life back. And the truth is that all most folks know is that one thing they saw, nothing about the context. Not that I think the Douglas thing has context, but I DON’T KNOW. And neither do most of us.

I loved Obama’s speech last night. I found it deeply, deeply moving, especially when he quoted Lincoln. And the funny thing is that I think the Daily Kos writer really gets at what was so powerful about it:

But The Choice is also about something far weightier, something far longer-term than our economic prosperity or the American Comeback or of freedoms to love and marry who you want or pursue whatever dreams you have regardless of your background or your fortunes.  It’s something far outside the boundaries of this election alone: it’s a choice between the kind of world in which hope is codified into our laws and values as a nation, and one in which the seeds of division, exclusion, and anger triumph over the greater good—wherein the fabric of society is allowed to erode at the vestigial hands of hate.

I disagree with the part in bold there. I mean, that’s almost hilariously stupid. But ignore it for a second. The point I want to make is that this Kos writer can ask if we want to live in a nation where anger triumphs over the greater good and then turn around and unleash an angry internet horde on everyone who even knows this girl.

So, really, even though it’s framed as “anger” vs. “greater good,” what it means in practice is still that same old change vs. exchange problem. These folks at Kos–as evidenced by their own actions against Douglas–do not want actual change–where you would see a tweet like that, report it to the proper authorities, monitor the authorities to make sure it’s been properly dealt it, and then not indulge in your misogynistic internet blood lust–but want exchange–where liberals get to be terrifyingly angry and folks like Douglas get to be afraid for a while.

I want no part of that.

38 thoughts on “Alyssa Douglas

  1. A friend of mine, years ago, got a visit from Secret Service agents for a satirical website poking (admittedly NSFW) fun at Karl Rove. KARL ROVE. Not the President…KARL ROVE.

    This was a 16-year-old girl, old enough to operate a motor vehicle in every state in the Union, openly and publicly advocating the assassination of a president. And the sad thing is, there are millions more like her that at least have enough good sense to keep their mouths shut, even though their thoughts are likely more vile.

    This is not behavior born of facts and reality about our collective national situation. This is learned behavior, passed on by her surroundings, her relationships and unreasoned fear.

    I knew in November 2008 that the election of Barack Obama would lead to a resurgence of latent racism in the country the likes of which we hadn’t seen in decades. I’m saddened that I underestimated that by a factor of 10.

  2. So, her parents and the principal at her school are acceptable casualties? It’s totally cool to ruin the life of a child soldier? Please. If this were an actual war, we lefties would have compassion for a combatant in her situation. And she’s not some amorphous “they.” She is a child, who is about to learn a very hard lesson. Piling on a child isn’t some great moral victory. It’s just not.

    If we want a better country, we have to live in it right now. Which means not forming pitchfork wielding mobs based on someone appealing to our prejudices and our desire to teach our enemies a lesson.

  3. The last line that Lucas write is exactly how I felt as well, and now, about the election in 2008. I knew it would be rough, I just didn’t anticipate that it would be as bad as it is.

    That young girl was wrong and rightfully in trouble. There is no doubt. Yet I’m not going to throw verbal grenades at her and I think that it is important to reach out, not kill with fire, people like this. I do. You can’t change anyone’s mind yelling at them.

    I think it is important to see if we can change people’s perspectives. It is something I try to do everyday, but if they think just like me I am wasting my time. If they think differently then myself is where the true challenge is.

    As an aunt of two teenage girls right now, I know they are suffering from a bit of bullying right now. When they make uneducated responses, and they do, about issues of the day, I feel it is my job to educate them. Mentoring is crucial.

    I’ll get off my soapbox, I just know we have an obligation to everyone.

  4. Steve, is this girl evil? She tweeted something evil, and that has to be fought — by making sure the Secret Service looks into it. Taking it upon yourself* to decide that she personally is evil and therefore to harass her and her family is vigilantism of the worst sort. Assuming that you know that she — not this action of hers, but her herself — is evil and needs to feel as threatened as she threatens others, needs to be fought and harmed, that makes you, in my mind, part of the problem. Because I don’t want you as an unauthorized individual deciding that you are my judge any more than I want Rush Limbaugh doing it.

    *I don’t know whether you personally are involved in making angry phone calls to people connected to her. But you seem to think it’s OK, so I’m using the generic “you” here.

  5. Trace, I agree with you. I also think it’s fine if people don’t want to reach out. This chick may be completely irredeemable. Who knows? If they hear just this much of the story and decide to somehow shun her, great.

    But to reach out to punish someone you don’t know, on the word of someone else on the internet, who you also do not know, that what you’re hearing is the whole story or all you need to know in order to make a decision about how best to proceed is a problem.

    If it’s not a problem, then what happened to Britney isn’t a problem. And I utterly reject that.

  6. What the girl said was vile and mean and stupid.

    but hey, remember being 16? Seriously, I’m so glad the internet wasn’t readily accessible when I was 16. Or 20. Because while I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t put out the call for the death of the leader of our country I’m afraid “young & stupid” would take hold and I’d say something I would regret sooner or later.

    That line in “the Social Network” is true: The internet is not written in pencil.

  7. It is apparent that because she is White this would be targeted as racism. PLEASE – get over it people. She is a KID that is 16 – who made a very bad decision. Yes, I think she needs to be sat down and be told that her words could have serious consequences but she should NOT be persecuted for being a kid and her life is NOT over…. It is a shame that people want to persecute her without knowing her. I am a forgiving person and I think we all need to learn how to forgive. Lets not make this about racism – personally sick of hearing about it. She will need support and much love/guidance, not people trying to ruin her or make things worse. I see so much hate in some of these comments I am reading and I think many of you need to look in the mirror.

  8. Betsy, I agree with that. I think that’s what end up happening is that we don’t have the whole story and we are on the same page about punishing people you don’t know. A few months ago, the trolls showed up at Newscoma and it was one of the only time I thought to myself about stopping blogging because it got to the point my dad and MRM were like “TAKE IT DOWN!” It got very ugly because, how dare I, ask for some folks to financially support progressive bloggers and I was repeatedly told in comments and emails some very dark things that leaned toward threatening violence.. It got picked up by Reynolds and it became a bit scary. Of course that was from the tea party/right contingency, so that is different that what happened to Brittany, who got it from the left side.

    Trolling, as we saw in 2009 and 2010 in this state battered a strong alliance of bloggers in this state. We didn’t have the core that Brittany provided us at WKRN.

    I don’t like it when the extreme right attacks online, but it kills my soul even more when people on the left do it too and we’ve all seen that happen as well.

    I hope that makes sense.

  9. No, I’m not making calls. And, frankly, I do not relate this to the situation with Britney and the General because what this 16-year-old did was intentional. Burn the 16-year-old at the stake? No. Make her understand in no uncertain terms that what she did was abominable and unacceptable? Yes.

  10. I didn’t catch the speech last night, but that bolded part of your excerpt worries me. That sounds like the makings of an excuse for some failry unpleasant things.

  11. When you make a mistake you should pay for it somehow. If there are no repurcussions you will do that same thing or worse the next time. Her parents should shoulder the blame because they have failed in their parenting responsiblities. If she has friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students or supporters who would like to reimbuse the goverment for all the cost of those secret service people who have had to spend valuable time, finding her and talking with her and her parents. Let all of them pay. This seems to be the only thing that people like this understand. The KKK continued to do depicable racial criminal acts for years with little regard of the law until that organization was forced to pay cash money for their crimes. That is when they found religion and slowed down. We have an opportunity to help this 16 year old young woman (Alyssa Douglas) by giving her a fine. A fine that is large enough to encourage her family, her social circle, and her community monitor her behavior and constantly remind her what is appropriate and what is against the law.

  12. Wow, so we’ve reached the portion of the evening where the anonymous group of people who have determined an extrajudicial punishment more fitting than what they believe the government will dole out justifies terrorizing a girl’s whole community because the girl’s community is like the Klan.

    And no one dies of irony. Amazing.

    Pretty much the moment your anonymous group of vigilantes is using the phrase “this seems to be the only thing that people like this understand” to justify your harassment of them, you prove my point that you are evil and stupid.

  13. I am A student at Clinton massie and Alyssa was one of my good friends and thankyou for your article cause you are right none of you know her. She made a mistake and this one mistake does not reflect who she is or the school she goes too. I know her better than most and she is a really nice person. She would never do anything to bring harm. And to all you people out there saying those terrible things I have been reading shame on you. She is 16! And so am I! Why would you ever want such bad things to happen to a kid! Look I will say what she said was wrong and she should have thought about what she said and needs to be spoken to and have a punishment. But she should not be cast out! And ganged up on by people that don’t even know her so you all need to think about what you are saying. Also Clinton massie is the best school in Ohio and I would never go any where else. The kids here are all friendly and watch out for each other. We never have fights or anything so please understand it was a mistake any one could have made. And once again thankyou whoever wrote this article its good to see at least one other person out there with some sense.

  14. Austyn – uh huh. Based on your proofreading errors Clinton Massie clearly must be the best school in Ohio…

    What your friend did was not simply “wrong.” It had criminal implications, and demonstrated that Alyssa has no grasp of the agreements that keep civil society functioning. SIxteen is more than old enough to understand the evil inherent in a call to assassination. Best of luck to you both — you’ll need it.

  15. See, Xavria, this is what I mean by there being no sorry that’s good enough to call of the internet hounds. Austyn says–and I quote directly from him–“Look I will say what she said was wrong and she should have thought about what she said and needs to be spoken to and have a punishment.”

    But because he’s not meeting some unspoken standard that is apparently beyond recognizing what his friend did was wrong and should have consequences, he gets insulted, chastised, and vaguely threatened?

    Let’s just be honest and say that there is literally nothing Alyssa’s friends, family, and schoolmates could do to make the internet shit-storm feel even the least bit bad about raining down on them. There will always be some bullshit justification about why they deserve it.

  16. I would also like to point out, again, how rooted in the specific sexism that our society aims at teen girls this whole incident is. We, as a society, believe that publicly punishing and shaming teen girls and reveling in their public humiliations is good fun. We believe that women, girls especially, belong to and are the responsibility of all of us to police and punish. It can’t simply be left to the authorities because then we don’t get the thrill of “teaching them a lesson.”

    You want proof this is deeply rooted in sexism? Hank Williams Jr. is easy to track down. He also has friends and family who could be said to be enabling his terrible behavior. They also are fairly easy to track down. He has a tremendous amount of influence among the kinds of people who actually might try to assassinate a sitting president. He has corporate ties and those corporations have addresses and phone numbers.

    And he’s been spending all summer giving concerts in which he riles his audience up against the president. Every Hank Williams Jr. concert, he gets at least a few hundred people out of the thousands who attend to chant about how much they hate the president.

    And yet, because he never openly advocates for anyone’s assassination, he’s got a free speech right to say whatever the fuck he wants. There’s nothing the government can do about him.

    So, here’s an ongoing clear case in which high-profile public disapproval is literally the only option, unlike Douglas’s, which is going to be taken care of by the Secret Service.

    And yet, which person, family, friends, and community gets an internet shit-storm? (Note, I would object to an internet shitstorm against Williams as well. I’m just using him as an example of someone who would seem to have earned one.)

    Objectively, it’s strange. But when you factor in our society’s sexist love of publicly humiliating teen age girls, it makes perfect sense. It’s simply more fun to go after Douglas than Williams.

  17. It was NOT. KOS that created the shitstorm. They were merely reporting on it. The shitstorm arose from another site.

    The outing of all her info, private photos, the fact that she was dating a 20 year old at 15, proof of her underage drinking, the calls to the school, and authorities. All happened long before.

  18. Exactly how much less terrible is “We didn’t start it, but after we saw what fun it would be to get into every nook and cranny of her life, we joined in” supposed to be, exactly?

  19. Are you kidding? Picking on teenage girls? Teenage girls seem to have about as much moral compass and sense of accountability as feral cats, these days. This isn’t picking on them. It’s merely shedding light on one of their behavior. Go to a local middle or high school and listen to them, if you don’t believe me. It’s nauseating. Are they all like that? Of course not. But many are, and they are modeling themselves after nitwits on reality TV whose role in society is not particularly positive. These girls are growing up thinking this kind of behavior is funny or cute, and it isn’t. And isn’t going to bode well for our society if we don’t put a stop to it. I don’t want our boys to grow up with this generation of women as their future partners. This girl is old enough to understand the meaning of assassination and “dieyoufuckingpieceofshit”, also included in her tweet. She is a dreadful reflection on herself, her family, and her community. Punish her, by all means. People posting their disgust with her behavior is hardly a call to tar and feather her, or put her to sleep. She’ll get another chance to keep acting like a nitwit, and she probably will, because her parents are more likely to keep perpetuating the same behavior than not.

  20. Yes, we’ve already established that there’s always a reason it’s okay to get our kicks from publicly humiliating teenage girls. i don’t really need to see a list of them. As I’ve stated–women are not public property. It’s not actually the job of strangers to get their kicks teaching bad girls lessons.

  21. Austyn, Alyssa you are both unbelievable. How can either of you defend the statement made. You deserve exactly what you get Alyssa and all of you people trying to defend her should be very ashamed also. A 16 year old knows the difference between life and death. And I would bet my bottom dollar that she got her thinking from her parents or someone in her environment. Both of you can go straight to hell and anyone else that doesn’t like it.

  22. Tony–1. Alyssa is not reading this. 2. Austyn did not defend her actions. If you actually read his comment, you’ll see that he’s very clear that what she did was wrong and deserves punishment–you know, through the proper authorities. Which means 3. you’re the type of person who condemns people to Hell based on your poor reading skills.

    This again proves my point that most of us clearly don’t know the whole context of this situation and are not qualified to take extra-judicial action against this girl and her friends. It also shows that, should the job of God come up, you should not apply, because you would suck at it.

  23. It would have been one thing if that was the only foul comment she\’d made but a good number of her tweets were profanity laced attacks on one person or another. Seems she had issues w/classmates or someone in her peer group. She called one person the Ç word and made the statement: \”Chris Brown is probably the only good looking black guy on earth.\” Clearly she is on the wrong path.

    It\’s her right to dislike Obama and/or any of his policies (if she even knows what they are. She is probably just regurgitating what she hears from her parents) but given some of her other tweets, she seems to be brimmed to the top with racist and angry thoughts. That\’s not cool in what some are deeming a \’post-racial\’ society. No 16 year old should be spewing the kind of vitriol that she is. Despite people returning the favor and saying equally as vile things to her, perhaps this can be a teaching moment for her. Her problem is bigger than her just not liking the President.

  24. Yes, as I said, there’s always some reason why it’s okay to try to humiliate a girl for entertainment. I’m well aware of why folks think why teaching her a lesson is justified. You’re wrong.

    Let me get at this another way. If it’s okay to attack a child you think is really fucked up and possibly evil, then why would it be wrong for people who believe that being gay is wrong to attack a gay child with information they were able to glean on the internet?

    Is it truly only because they’re wrong about gayness being fucked up and evil or is it also because adults attacking children on the internet is really weird and terrible?

    If it is also because adults attacking children on the internet is really weird and terrible, then you should not do it, no matter how certain you are that THIS child deserves it.

  25. Wow, Aunt B…are you Alyssa’s mother? Where in the world did you get the idea that someone who publically calls for the assassination of a US President is simply a delicate little flower, a pure, pure snowflake who’s simply too good to be in this world, and that anyone who shines a light on her actions is a mean, horrible PERSECUTING monster who lives to torture pwecious widdle pwincesses? It’s not sexist to call out a clearly-deranged, hate-filled loser on her behavior.

  26. Oh, you caught me! I am her mom! Oh, wait, no you just made up some shit in order to justify why you’re picking on a child. I mean, let’s be clear about how fucked up your behavior is. There’s this girl you do not know, but who you’ve decided you will win some moral victory over, somehow.

    And the way you will do that is to search the internet for discussions about her, places where you’ve never commented before and have no intention of commenting again, just to read along and comment and get your catharsis on with a bunch of other people you do not know and who don’t know you and who also don’t actually know the girl involved. And this is… what? Social justice?

    As I said, way back in the post–what she did was stupid and evil. She deserves a completely unfun visit from the Secret Service–which I’m sure has happened by now.

    The internet shit storm is also evil and stupid. As evidenced by all the people who show up here to argue that the very vigilante behavior we’d find appalling and frightening if it were unleashed upon a good kid is cool because she deserves it.

  27. I would also point out that I find it hilarious all the folks who seem to be complaining like I went out into the world and shit in their “Pick on Alyssa Douglas” punch, when my experience is that it’s like a bunch of folks are sitting in my toilet insisting it’s a well-known punch bowl.

  28. I personally am amused by all the people who say she is old enough at 16 to know better AND she’s probably just parroting her parents. So which is it? Autonomous agent of evil or puppet in need of reeducation at the hands of the mob?

  29. Agreed that this isn’t the job of the Internet to correct… Although it does shed some light on the current mindstate of conservative youth. She got it from somewhere, and she sounds thoroughly unpleasant, but at the same time really it isn’t anyone’s job except those who, well, HAVE that job, to punish her. Understanding the anger but harassing her IRL will probably just make her worse. Hate plus hate just equals more hate.

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