The Right to Be Forgotten: Sixty-Seven
“My son, Jacob Lancaster, lost his father mere weeks before he lost his life to the vicious online tyranny of viral video hate mongering. You’ve seen the video, or if you haven’t be certain the news will cover it now. What most people didn’t understand when they first watched Jacob on video was that he had just learned of his father’s death.
“He responded in a reasonable or understandable manner. He was distraught. He forgot his music practice was live streamed.
“Someone then took Jacob’s video and chopped away all the good, all the beauty of his music, and the devastating news my son received. That person then sent the video into the world with a message they considered funny. I assure it was anything but.
“Within hours, the video became a viral sensation with millions of views. Maybe yours numbered among those views, America. You could not have known the reason behind Jacob’s outburst, but you had to know there was some cause. I cannot judge you, for in judging I must include myself.
“How many memes have I laughed at and shared? How many lives have I had a part in destroying? None of us is innocent, except perhaps the children and the vulnerable. Those are the ones I’m here to talk about today.
“My child was old enough to have shared in mean memes, but I want to introduce you to Helen Stoops, whose daughter Virginia is vulnerable and has been victimized.”
She didn’t. She couldn’t have. Yet there stands Helen Stoops, her sagging face yellowed under the glare. She speaks and I can no longer deny that E invaded Helen’s life and brought her streaming from obscurity once again. A victim, again. How could she?
“I am happy as a lark that Mrs. Lancaster here fount me,” Helen said. “My girl, Virginia, she’s faced many a problem in her life. After what happened on the line, I don’t think I’ll ever get her back. She’s a grown woman but her mind’s not right. When her story got shot ‘round the world, she went into a dark hole. She’s still not come out.” Helen stepped behind Evelyn again, a look of absolute relaxation coming over her.
“In cases of vulnerable persons like Virginia, a bad moment can be broadcast to the world and visit upon her time and again the torture of that bad moment. It is unknown whether Virginia will ever be able to return to her home.
“My situation with Jacob and Helen’s situation with Virginia are but two examples of the destruction sown by viral videos. Senator X has now introduced legislation that would, I think, enable viral victims and their families to better control the retraction of these things so that they may not exist in perpetuity. But there is another set of victims, and the legislation may extend to these persons.”
My ulcers gnaw at my stomach, leaving nothing but putrid acid. What was she going to say? Anyone’s guess.