No matter how much we’re told technology will revolutionize our lives, some things never change. Consequences are as certain as the dawn.
It’s astonishing that in the wake of the Steubenville rape scandal, someone in Perry Township thought it would be a good idea to throw a wild party over the weekend, resulting in the arrests of dozens of adults and several minors.
There are lessons we all should have gleaned from the Steubenville scandal, chief among them that no matter how much we’re told technology will revolutionize our lives, some things never change. Consequences, for instance, are as certain as the dawn.
But if this is so — and most people say they know and understand this equation — how then do you explain the Jackson Township man who recently was arrested on his ninth charge of driving under the influence?
THE STOVE IS HOT
Meanwhile, in Steubenville, two weeping teenage girls are learning this math the hard way as they face possible jail time if they’re convicted on charges of “cyber-threatening” a 16-year-old rape victim.
What made the case unique is that the rape came to light by way of — wait for it — social media. So you would think that seeing someone you know get an extra year in prison for posting the crime online would offer a lesson in what not to do online.
And you’d be wrong.
What is it about us as humans that we refuse to learn from others’ mistakes? Why must we constantly question gravity, or touch a stove even after we’ve been repeatedly and explicitly told by other burn victims that it’s hot?
Who drives drunk after being caught once, let alone a possible ninth time? Who sends threatening online messages that not only can be traced but also can never, ever be deleted?
Who eats what they shouldn’t and exercises less than they ought?
All of us, that’s who.
Perhaps the girls in Steubenville overheard an adult somewhere declare that freedom of speech is absolute. People love to use the First Amendment as an all-purpose excuse for their behavior, but the Constitution protects our freedom of speech only from government censorship — not from one another. And certainly not from the consequences.
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THE VISION THING: I’ve never hesitated to ding Canton City Council members when I think they’ve gotten it wrong. Going to war over food carts downtown and repeatedly attempting to install traffic cameras come to mind. So their willingness to take a chance on the multimillion-dollar Hercules redevelopment project demands that credit be given.
The “vision thing,” as one former U.S. president called it, marks the difference between those cities that move forward and those that slide further into poverty, despair and irrelevance.
Vision is what causes bright young professionals to flock to cities and stake their claim on the cities’ future. But you have to have a future to offer.