Want to know something cool?

One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Maybe MySpace has a good side too...

OK, you've read it here and you've probably seen it on the evening news and everybody is all spazzed about sites like MySpace (et al.) and the potential hazards they pose. But maybe some good has come from all that bad publicity.

According to the Associated Press, a 16-year-old highschooler was actually suspended from school and arrested by police when he posted photos of himself on MySpace.com. The gist of the case is that he posed with various firearms, including a couple of handguns ... possession of which by a minor is a misdemeanor in Colorado. He also had some disturbing, vaguely threatening language about being an "angel o' death" with "wings o' lead" (in a photo with long guns splayed winglike beside him).

Homey's name has not been released, and the MySpace.com page has been pulled, but it's probably safe to say that at best, Junior here has got some serious redneck issues. At worst, he's a simmering stew of nihilistic, teen-hormone-induced, potentially lethal threat with a bad sense o' spelling and o' grammar.

Now the cool part. Junior posted his "masterpieces" on MySpace.com.: other kids, other kids' parents, teachers and/or principals, and eventually the police SAW these photos on MySpace.com, and were able to step in and disarm this genius.

If he'd been "journaling" in spiral notebooks like his Colorado predecessors, it's entirely possible that this intellectual giant could have shown up at school one day with his hardware, and surprised-- and maybe destroyed-- his peers, teachers, etc.

Kudos to those who saw and acted on the photos. We'll never know how many lives were saved, but mad props to you. Not just for reigning in this, um, "individual," but also for being smart enough and persistent enough to spend the time on MySpace to see what was happening. Ya gotta believe that some parents triggered the chain reaction that led to suspension and arrest. You go, moms and pops-- you are not only aware of your kids' online personnas, you're checking out their neighborhood. And that is WAY k00l.

(You can check the original AP story here, courtesy of MSNBC.)

P.S.-- No White Hat for MySpace ... unless they tweaked to the photos first and began the investigation. Of course we can't hold MySpace responsible for the content posted on these sites, but if there had been some kind of bot or filter that could have triggered a red flag ... . First Amendment and all that, yeah, but still ... this case has "close call" written all over it, with chills and that nasty gut-twist that says we were this close to disaster. And "almost," in this case, is definitely NOT k00l.

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