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Virtual Reality But Real Consequences

The old folks are sort of right

More than usual, these past few weeks in the United States have been a time of sheer idiocy. A woman tried to throw a shoe at former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Some moron placed a fake bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Bubba Watson ate at a Waffle House. But the pièce-de-résistance of this festival of stupidity must have been Twitter user @QueenDemetriax_’s contribution. On Sunday morning she tweeted the following to the American Airlines corporate account:

American Airlines Threat Hoax

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Within minutes, the company responded:

American Airlines Tweet

Despite her frantic claims that she was “kidding,” Dutch officials showed up at the Rotterdam native’s house and arrested her on the spot, drawing to a close a news story that would have been completely fruitless had it not provided me a topic to write about. For that, you and I both have @QueenDemetriax_’s unreliable frontal lobe to thank.

What this narrative seems to highlight however is not merely one girl’s lapse in judgment (especially considering dozens of teenagers followed her lead), but a larger phenomenon in which Internet users fail to associate their online actions with real-world consequences. Senseless and shortsighted uses of the Internet have led to unemployment, pedophilia, robberies, political scandals, and arrests.

Vacation Instagram

Back when my family didn’t take trips without me, I always used to tease my dad for telling my siblings and I not to post pictures on vacation because “you don’t know who’s going to see that we aren’t at home.” You were right, and I’m sorry (this realization has become a trend now that I’m in college). But how else was I going to score my remarkable nine Instagram likes?

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