When I first saw this mentioned in News of the Weird, I laughed. Now, when I read more, I still chuckle, but it’s less funny and more thought-provoking.
Let’s start off with the funny. Would you believe that 30 death row inmates have online profiles on dating sites? I didn’t at first either. They’re real cute on their profiles, saying things like “I think I’m a pretty funny guy. I have a wacked [sic] sense of humor. I can be a big kid at heart. I’m a hopeless (and I mean hopeless) romatic [sic].”
Well, ya got the hopeless part right, partner. What would your cheesy lines be? So…my place or mine? Or, I want to be with you until the end of my time. How about, I would give my last breath for your love. Oh wait. That’s not gonna work so well. That’ll move everything way too fast!
Then I thought, who the hell would date these guys? When I read more about their profiles, I found out that they don’t really disguise their death row status. Some of them even have pictures of themselves and blogs of their day to day lives, as it were. I think it’s twisted, but I can half understand someone getting to know a prisoner who’s going to get out and then falling in love with them. I still might think they’re a fool depending on what their hot prison lover did, but I can *maybe* understand it. But why would you date someone who’s never going to leave that cell? Your closest contact is going to be with the telephone receiver. I guess you can have phone sex then. Har har that was corny.
But this story gets more interesting. The discovery of profiles belonging to dead men walking has brought up an interesting point. These guys aren’t allowed to have internet! So someone else is posting the stuff for them. Plus, crime victim advocacy groups are mad and attacking MySpace, where these profiles were found, saying that they shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place.
Ok, so let me get this straight. These groups are saying that, on top of running a huge website, these people are going to have to do criminal background checks of everyone who signs up for a MySpace account? Would you submit to such a check? I don’t think so! So how do these people expect MySpace to screen out death row inmates? I agree that once you’ve found one and he’s doing illegal things on there, flag the account and nuke it! But I don’t see how these groups think MySpace is going to prevent them from getting on. I think that, if MYSpace had even thought about this possibility coming to light, they would have found the lack of internet privileges to be a pretty significant barrier. Who’s going to think that Uncle Joe is going to post stuff for a death row inmate? The thought would have never crossed my mind.
I love how they say that it’s horrible what these inmates are doing because MySpace is a place where young people gather to socialize and these people are making it unsafe. I think these groups have more to worry about when it comes to pedophiles who sign up than guys who have no hope of getting out. I agree that kids shouldn’t be going to meet guys on death row, but that’s where parents step in. It’s not MySpace’s job to supervise the nation’s kids! God, people forget that the point of MySpace is to be an unrestricted place where people sign up, and say whatever they want. When you creat that, some of the wrong people are going to come on board. So don’t blame MySpace, blame human nature.
Sure I understand the rage at the idea that some sicko is trying to get some kind of fan club going. But to that I say, direct your rage appropriately. Help to remove the accounts that need to be removed! Help MySpace wipe out illegal content! Don’t stand there and demand they do it all themselves. Help!