The city/town of Snohomish is in the news again, and not in a positive way. This morning the Seattle PI published an article about the aftermath of the Snohomish High School cannon explosion in October. The article poked into the underbelly of small town life, emphasizing the small-town response of some Snohomians to their fears of losing the Cannon-firing tradition at the annual Homecoming football game by attacking a victim--the student who was seriously injured when a Cannon blew up when fired at this year's game.
The article that pointed out how cruel some people can be garnered 167 comments on the PI site--mostly being upset with the entire town of Snohomish, not just the few (maybe even many) idiots who tried to threaten and intimidate the injured student to lie low so they would be able to keep their Cannon.
Perhaps that wouldn't have been so bad in itself but the article went out on the UPI wire and got picked up by Internet sites such as Fark.com and Digg.com. The Digg site has 423 comments and almost 3,000 Diggs. A Google Blog Search as of this writing has 87 Blog References, with probably more coming. (And no, I haven't read them all in researching this post.)
A common theme running through the comments is that Snohomians are bad people and I will never visit your town again (or ever)! There is universal condemnation of the cruel idiots. . . but the commenters seem to forget that it is only the actions of a few that they need to condemn. But they are tarring the rest of us, innocents all with the same brush.
The fact is that we have a small business in Snohomish, and I'd really like to see people continue to visit the community, and patronize our business and the other businesses there.
I have a large amount of empathy for the injured student and his family who are getting the threats (I've been there) and those who are are making them should be strongly condemned, and perhaps even subjected to the same treatment they were threatening to dish out to the injured student.
But it appears that the people of Snohomish don't recognize the calibre of the disaster that has befallen them. The commenters at the Digg site (the 78th most popular site on the Internet per Alexa) have turned into tormenters, posting the email addresses of the entire staff of the High School (who are unlikely to have been the people making the threats), freeping a poll on the school football team website, and sending emails to everyone they can think of who might be associated with this thing.
The com/tormenters have turned the very thing they abhor (small-town peer pressure) against the entire town and not just the peers.
A cloud of Internet Activity now hangs over Snohomish.
It's probably hard to tell exactly who has read this stuff and now associates Snohomish with a bad place, but it's potentially millions of internet readers. Definitely not what Snohomish needs.
I guess we will have to fall back on the old adage:
I don't care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right. --- George Cohan