Hearne: Anatomy of a Mugging, a Father’s Tale

The anonymous comments crowd can be harsh…

And not just here, pretty much everywhere. Because for some reason or other, people feel compelled to weigh in, have their voices heard. Their uncaring voices too.

Take the young man who was beaten outside of the Granada theater in downtown Lawrence early Thursday morning. Police were called just before 2 a.m. and found a man who’d been knocked to the ground then kicked by two "suspects."

No one was arrested and the man was taken to the hospital with injuries to his face and head.

Enter Lawrence Journal World comments section stalwarts bearing their feeble two-cents worths…

"Was there a hip-hop performance there Wednesday night?" asked the first.

"Actually, it was a bluegrass concert," came the answer. "What is it they say about people who assume things?"

"The fight was a group of WHITE college students, that were being drunk and ignorant," added a third.

"Ignorant and racist," said a fourth.

And it was downhill from there…

"I will say that the Granasty charges 10 bucks for a double capt and coke, that could anger a few peeps" was one.

"Any drink that requires coke is lame," came another.

And on they went.

"Boy, beautiful downtown lawrence, thanks commissioners for making it an entertainment district instead of the unique downtown of the past."

"Looks like we need to do away with the granada the way things are going with it. maybe put downtown the way it use be."

"Why? Because they (like every bar in Lawrence) has fights that break out? A fight outside Jazzhaus earlier this week sent a man to the hospital… should we close down that bar too? Anytime you throw alcohol and crowds together you’re going to get people who are belligerent and irresponsible. Maybe we should start blaming the alcohol and the individuals who abuse it before we blame the venue. And lets not forget that just because a fight breaks out in front of ONE crowded street front, that doesnt mean that those people were in attendance at that specific event or even that they were customers of that particular establishment. Drunks wander Mass Street all night and some of them are hungry for these kind of arguments."

Somebody even blamed the fight on Topeka. Another on Obama. Were Secret Service aents involved, queried another.

Sound familiar?

Typical comments section style devolution – a few interesting details here and there followed by a parade of numbnuts. A long parade of numbnuts.


"This is my son and I dont care what kind of concert it was the sorry SOB that did this is a coward and will be held accountable by any means necessary," said an apparently sincere bdye.

"Not a single one of you commenting on this said a thing about hoping the young man was ok the lack of compassion in this town is underwhelming like almost everything else in Lawrence. Right now I dont give a rats ass about the music, the venue or the amount of idiots Lawrence has. I just want my boy to be alright and the douche that did this arrested and held responsible for his stupidity. My son has always been very well liked in this town is a musician and goes out of his way to be kind to people. You could all take a lesson from him."

Then – almost miraculoulsy – a funny thing happened. The morons came to their senses and a civil exchange took place.

  "I hope your son is alright, and the idiots are brought to justice, apologies for peoples stupidity," one of the early commenters offered.

"I hope he’s okay and they get whoever did this.Sometimes it’s best to stay away from here even when the story hits close to home.Not much compassion here, just a lot of wise-acres," said another.

A third asked the "father" what his son might have done to get beaten up.

"He was defending the girl that got hit too," came the answer. "They say he is gonna be ok just alot of stitches. Apparently my son is one of the last gentlemen on earth who will always go to bat for the underdog male or female. It’s a shame this coward is still running around the streets but his day will come and soon."

And lastly, this morning early came the voice of Merrill.

Hey, wait a minute.

Not the Merrill who just escaped the gravitational pull of KMBZ radio? The dude who’s a refugee of Lawrence himself – the photoshopped one.

"Granada should implement a drink limit such that Applebee’s does. I believe it to be a limit of 2 or three. Very smart. This way those ruffians that cannot handle alcohol might be contained so they do not ruin the fun and enjoyment for others"

It was an interesting case study in the failures and successes of a healthy comments section.

While there’s no escaping the knuckleheads, some of the early, dumb and dumber stereotypes and notions were dispelled, more information regarding the news story was brought to light and readers were prompted to step outside of their comfort zones and consider the humanity of the situation.

And all in all, I think that’s a good thing.

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9 Responses to Hearne: Anatomy of a Mugging, a Father’s Tale

  1. Smartman says:

    One more vote for conceal carry
    Start shooting these bastards and the game changes….quickly. You have a right to protect and defend yourself. You can’t call 911 when you’re getting your ass stomped. You can pull out your Taurus Judge and administer your own form of rectal justice, and if performed properly, it’s legal.

  2. paulwilsonkc says:

    Oh man, its tempting to pick the low hanging fruit here,
    but I’ll resist the urge. I’ll let someone else do it.

  3. paulwilsonkc says:

    OK, I’ll do it, Smartman made me!
    I’d like to personally take a stand against who ever levied anonymous and specific threats against Harley, Asshat, JoJo, Facts, PB and “his attorney”. He’s in his panic room now living off of MRE’s until he feels it

  4. dreamwriter326 says:

    Oh, the humanity of it all…
    It’s interesting how the conversation changes when reality raises its ugly head and reminds us that real people can be hurt by insensitive rants of the opinionated, often semi-literate masses. Thanks Hearne for bringing this topic up, and using a very fitting example of how things can change when real people who are involved in a story step into the dialogue.

    Another fine example would be this one, where commenters are brutally (and hilariously) bagging on a guy in Oklahoma who had a meth lab blow up in his pants. Unbeknownst to them, the dude’s daughter was reading along and became agitated that pops was being disrespected.


    Sometimes its funny seeing the bravado displayed in these comments forums. But other times it’s just sad because every vile epithet pulled out of some dickhead’s imagination shows again how much of our humanity we’ve abandoned for the sake of self-aggrandizement — which is completely asinine because of the anonymity element.

    That said, too much salt is bad for your health but I wouldn’t want to eat half of the stuff I put into my body without it. Same goes for blogs … without the comments section, and the witty, occasionally tense exchanges between the main players (you know who you are, boys) there wouldn’t be much of a reason to come back several times a day to catch up.

    A meth lab blew up in the guy’s pants. The comments are priceless.

    Where’s the salt, where’s the goddamn salt?

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    Dreamwriter – here’s the salt, here’s the wound…

    A meth lab in his pants? There has to be 100 good lines there, put a minute on the clock and lets GO!
    Is that what they mean by “a pant load”???
    Is that a meth lab in your pants… or are you…….

    Overall, I agree with what you said and it can go overboard. It has here of late, but now it seems to be back to some fun, intellectual banter, which I’ll take any day over the 1%, I’ve got more crap than you, toilet bowl tongue licking stuff of the more recent past. It’s finding a happy medium.

  6. balbonis moleskine says:

    One thing that angers people
    Is when the KC star and other media fights decide to report on a fight but fail to give descriptions of suspects still at large.

    If you read the story they failed to identify the at large suspects of both crimes they described.

    In Killa City when reading the KC Star that means they were black, as they never have any problem ID’ing the white and hispanic suspects in the newspaper.

    It is not simply poor reporting, it is an editorial decision made at the top.

    People don’t like that and they ask questions that are related to that assumption.

    I won’t disparage someone who got beaten up but in my experience people that go out of their way to claim they are “gentlemen who respect women” oh wait…the “one true gentleman” usually are neither.

  7. paulwilsonkc says:

    Balogonis hits it on the head again
    I really detest when they do that. The recent KU suspects in the cop-a-feel events going on over there, the alledged feeler-upper was described as 6’3″, period. No other details. When the composit came out later, he was shown to be black.

    And I dont understand this new term, “white hispanic”. Whats up with that? I understand some hispanics are so light skinned they look like fake gueros, but on balance, there isnt a lot of similarity. But now we enjoy this new term…. white hispanic. I wonder if this is an attempt to further blur the lines and make them “one of us” and lessen the illegal immigrant talk? Lump us all in one big pi

  8. the dude says:

    Yes, ’tis true,
    when it is a young scholar they wuss out and leave out the part of their race in the description.

    Meth lab in his pants, aw gahd, too much.

  9. Hot Carl says:

    When can we go back to calling Glazer an overblown, self-aggrandizing douche?

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