Like many of you, we've been shocked from start to finish by the Peyton Strickland case. By now you know the background. An 18-year-old student was suspected of robbing another student of his Sony Playstation. Days later he was killed by two shots fired from a sheriff's deputy's gun.
The strange thing about this case is how many mistakes were made as the events played out. If Strickland had opened the door instead of retreating, he and his dog may still be alive. If the police had waited for the suspect to attend school, or for him to leave his house, the arrest could have been a lot less violent. If only the grand jury had marked the right box. Yes, this case has been filled with mistakes.
But do you want to know what the biggest and dumbest mistake probably was? It's something you can't blame on either Strickland or the sheriff's deputy who fired his weapon. Instead, the entire fault is squarely on the shoulders of the people who posed with guns for a picture. Why in the world did they plaster it on the internet for everyone to see? How stupid and deadly that was.
After authorities identified their suspects in the video game robbery, they had no problem finding the image on a social network website. It's one of the same websites your children probably visit: myspace, classmates.com, xanga, facebook and a myriad of others. After seeing the image, police decided the teens they were trying to arrest needed to be considered armed and dangerous.
Clearly it's not the only stupid picture on the internet. Go to one of those social network websites and you will see them in droves. This country promotes our freedom of expression but, sadly, the youth of America is expressing themselves in an idiotic way with images that depict binge drinking, sexual overtones and even violent and criminal acts.
In this tragic case it was the sheriff's department that found the photo. In your case, or the case of your children, it may be a potential employer. That college degree mom and dad just paid for is great, but a lot of good it will do when you apply for that first job. Remember, most companies have a policy: "fools need not apply."