No offense, you guys, but let's face it: the Internet is a fickle audience. One day, you're all sharing a viral video of a cat squeezing itself into a flower pot, and before you know it, you've moved on to a cat saying "hey" without so much as a second thought as to how the first one got out of that pot. Well, that kitty starved to goddamn death in there, you guys.
OK, so that's almost certainly not true, but there are plenty of other viral sensations that took a screeching turn onto the Ohshitville Expressway shortly after we all shared them on Facebook and then promptly forgot about them. For example ...
5The Pepper Spray Cop Got a Better Settlement Than the Students He Sprayed
If you've never seen this image of University of California Davis officer John Pike nonchalantly dousing a line of peacefully protesting students with an enormous canister of pepper spray --
Which is only slightly more repulsive than spraying them with Axe.
-- then we'll assume you weren't alive in late 2011. And in that case, how are you reading Cracked when you're either a toddler or no longer paying your rent as a resident of the mortal plane? The incident exploded online thanks to public outrage, and resulted in the avalanche of memes we've come to expect by now. Wacky photoshops are how the Internet copes with the world's horrors.
Via Know Your Meme
They're lulzing on the outside, but crying on the inside.
Anyway, after the video of the incident went viral, Lieutenant Pike was suspended with pay from his $110,000-a-year job (that's not a typo) while the university conducted an investigation. While the officers claimed that they were trapped by the students and justified in their use of pepper spray (and totally not creaming their pants at the opportunity to finally try out their shiny new Judge Dredd gear, honest), an investigation found that the use of force was "objectively unreasonable" and that even the size of the pepper spray can was against regulations ("against regulations" being their fancy-pants way of saying "compensating for something").
In the end, Pike got the boot and we all gave peace a chance. Right?
The Tragic Aftermath:
Well, a couple months later, Pike filed for worker's comp because of the emotional trauma stemming from the death threats he and his family received after the incident (Which, to be fair, is right fucked up. Shame on you, Internet). Following a psychiatric evaluation, the university awarded him just over $38,000, which is approximately one dollar for each stinging tear shed by the 21 students.
Brian Nguyen/The Aggie
On the bright side, the theater department's production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory finally found its Oompa Loompas.
Meanwhile, said group of students filed suit with the university and were awarded a $1 million settlement. Now, before you get too excited, a huge chunk of that went to their lawyers, in addition to another chunk set aside for any other potential plaintiffs that might come forward, leaving them around $30,000 each. At least it's something, but when you compare that to the eight months of pay plus a larger settlement for the guy who taught those students that their freedom of assembly is null and void when weighed against the riot-gear-induced uber boner of a power-drunk campus cop, it seems more than a little ludicrous that they ended up with what basically amounted to a coupon for one free semester or one free chemistry textbook (offer not valid for both).
Quick, somebody arrange a protest.
4Kai the Homeless Hitchhiker Turned out to Be a Murderous Psychopath
There are certain things that, in retrospect, we really should have all seen coming. Case in point: in February of 2013, a good-natured hippie best known as Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker showed us all the power of human kindness (and a well-placed hatchet to the cranium) when he face-axed a man who was allegedly attacking a young woman.
Witnesses praised Kai as a hero, and the Internet fell in love with what seemed to be the hobo stoner's answer to Bruce Wayne. Hell, Kai was so charming that "SUH-MASH!" became an immediate Internet buzzword, despite the fact that it was an onomatopoeia coined by a quite possibly mentally unstable person to describe the sound a hatchet makes when it meets a human skull.
But every new detail that emerged about Kai's life helped to solidify his modern-day folk hero status. While still a teen, he escaped from the fundamentalist cult in which he was raised. He took the name Kai following a "spirit walk" on an Indian reservation. He's been known to take the form of a snowy owl and whisper guilt trips into the ears of Alaskan loggers. OK, we may have made that last one up, but you get the point -- Kai wasn't some murderous drifter. He was a beautiful hybrid of Johnny Appleseed and the Highlander, born to roam the earth and teach us about peace and nature in between bloody acts of righteous badassery.
Jimmy Kimmel Live/ABC
And conditioning his hair for late-night appearances.
The Tragic Aftermath:
Actually, it turns out Kai was probably some murderous drifter. A scant few months after gaining international fame for nearly murdering a guy, Kai was arrested for -- you guessed it -- straight-up murdering a different guy.
In May of 2013, Kai (aka Caleb Lawrence McGillvary) was arrested for killing Joseph Galfy, an elderly New Jersey attorney, in his home. Now, maybe Kai was defending the defenseless once again, but since most people go their entire lives without ending up at a single violent crime scene, it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt when he bloodied his hatchet twice within such a short time frame. Police quickly picked up McGillvary after a tip from a Starbucks employee who recognized his semi-famous face, thus demonstrating the importance of avoiding lengthy TV interviews and face tattoos that look like a third grader's geometry lesson on mescaline if you have a habit of beating people to death.
If that's a police repellent spell, it failed miserably.
When last we saw Kai, he had found himself an abundance of time for tattoo regret as he awaited trial in the Union County Jail. And in what is perhaps a telling measure of how many fucks the Internet truly gives about its viral heroes, at the time of this writing, an attempt to crowdfund his legal defense has raised less than nine percent of its goal in 16 months. Bummer, man.