In the latest “what is this world coming to” moment, several teen girls posted a video of themselves abusing a toddler on youtube last week. The girls, which includes a 17 year old who admitted to being a part of the video and called it a hoax on her myspace page, drive down the street, listening to Christian music, while taunting and hitting a two-year old girl of color seated on the floorboards of the van. They imply the child has taken Ecstasy as her eyes roll back in her head and curse throughout the event. Another child is seen being passed around in the back of the vehicle, also unrestrained by required car seat. Both the police and Child Protective Services are looking into the video and asking that people contact them if they have more information. The investigator in charge of the case is AJ Louderback of the Houston PD.
People in Houston are hoping the situation is a hoax as the myspace girl contends. However, the question remains, what motivates youth in N. America to find abuse, simulated or otherwise, entertaining? How do we re-inculcate a sense of human dignity into a cultural that has left such a concept so far behind?
I am reminded of a child abduction in Atlanta a few years back when sites like napster were still popular. One such site, that specialized in bootleg cable tv shows and pre-release editions of movies, had a video uploaded on it that was listed under multiple film and tv names as well as titles more in keeping with its content. The video showed a little girl of color swinging in the park. Then someone came up behind her and snatched her off the swing and began to run. That same day the news reported that a toddler had been abducted from the park. When I called to report the video it had already been taken down.
I do not know whether we should be glad for sites like these, as they encourage people to put their crimes (minor and major) out there for the world to see. In so doing, they allow us to have a better chance of tracking abusers and punishing them. They also act as a giant mirror held up to our morally bankrupt society and demand that we not simply look away.
What would have happened if the Jena nooses had made it on to youtube the day they were strung up? Would it encourage more supremacists to put their hate out there or would it have forced the kind of attention and action to the obvious hate crime that would have prevented the travesty of justice currently going on in Jena?
One of my students once said, “technology is advancing faster than our morality can process and it scares me.” I agree.
If you live in the Houston area or otherwise know something about the people involved in the youtube-X video, as it is being called, you can contact AJ Louderback at:
A. J. “Andy” Louderback
115 W. Main, Room 104 Edna, TX 77957 Administration: 361-782-3371 Dispatch: 361-782-3541 Jail: 361-782-5407 Fax: 361-782-7574 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you see other disturbing videos on youtube, you can report them by clicking the “flag as inappropriate” button underneath the video. If you believe a child, or anyone, is in real danger on the video, you should also report it to the local police department. Take down the URL and any identifying information in the video: username of poster, date posted, radio station announcement, street sign, etc. so the police have the most to go on.
All though some may feel this is the equivalent of narcing and/or overreacting to “harmless pranks,” I cannot help but wonder how many people saw that video of the child in the Atlanta park and said nothing.