It is hard to think of a story more horrifying than that of the beating death of 20 month old Imani Jennings at the hands of her mother and the mother’s boyfriend. The tales of abuse and neglect, as well as the complete breakdown of the County’s social service agencies, is stomach-turning and infuriating.
That being said, the only thing worse than this story is the internet comments being posted on Syracuse.com. I don’t dare go to some of the forums, notorious pits of bile and invective. Just reading the comments on columnist Maureen Sieh’s Metro Voices blog is nauseating enough. A commenter volunteers to blow the accuseds’ heads off with a machine gun. Another wants to bring back lynching and then hold a vigil underneath their rotting corpses tied to a Fage Ave. street sign.
I appreciate the attempts of the Post-Standard to break out of its shell and adapt to the wired world. I know and respect many people at the paper, I have had conversations and interacted with many of their fine reporters and editors: Maureen Sieh, Sean Kirst, Brian Cubbison, Greg Munno (and numerous others.)
However, the paper has to deal with the anonymous posting trolls that threaten the civility and thoughtfulness of its writers and most of their readers. If action isn’t taken soon, the Syracuse.com site will be no better than a wall on a men’s room in a seedy bus station. The problems with on-line harassment has become a serious problem with serious repercussions. Syracuse.com must deal with the issue if it wishes to continue its push off the printed page and into cyberspace.