We think it was Mindy Cohn who once said, "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the Internet!" And boy oh boy, was she was right!
For every online bullying catastrophe, there are dozens of people using the Internet to call out total assholes. It's like some grand circle -- a circle of Internet! (God, we just did not feel like writing jokes this morning.) In any case ...
#4. Twitter Users Report a Hit-and-Run Posted on Twitter
Among the many pieces of advice no one should ever have to articulate aloud is "Don't hit people with your car." That helpful maxim is right up there with "If you hit a person with your car, don't tweet about it, you idiot jackwad." Hell, it's so common, you've probably seen that phrase on a framed cross stitch at your grandma's house.
What you and the rest of the universe accept as common sense didn't occur to a British woman hilariously named Emma Way. This living, breathing Garbage Pail Kid joke actually hit a cyclist, kept driving, then posted the following on her Twitter account:
"I foresee no way this will come back to haunt me."
Obviously, we don't know what Way was thinking when she announced her hit-and-run via social media, but it was probably something along the lines of "Look at this good joke I made" and "Hashtags are still funny, right?" Her handful of readers disagreed and reported her to the police.
Now, here's where things get interesting. The biker that Way hit never intended to report the incident, apparently because he didn't want to worry his girlfriend. So this dummy would have never been caught if she hadn't thought the whole episode was tweet-worthy.
#3. The Internet Catches the Texas Senate Changing the Timestamp on a Bill
One of the most exciting moments of the summer came when the country got on the Internet to watch Texas Democrat Wendy Davis filibuster an abortion bill that would shut down more women's reproductive clinics than you can shake a hanger at. Like a modern day Mr. Smith, Davis stood up for something she was so passionate about that she wore a back brace and goofy shoes to get the job done.
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images News/Getty Images
And a jacket apparently made from the finest of your grandma's couch cushions.
Now, the important thing to remember here is that the point of Davis' whole day was to keep the Senate from letting the bill get to vote. If she could keep the filibuster going until midnight, the special session would end and everyone would go home without shutting down most of the Lone Star State's abortion clinics. But as midnight approached, the capitol building erupted in mayhem: All 30 of Texas' liberals showed up to cheer Davis on, turning the entire floor of the Senate into a chaotic Crazy Town. In the midst of the hoopin' and hollerin', the Senate actually passed the bill after all. "Boo!" said everybody.
EXCEPT not really. Within a few hours of the bill's passage, insiders began publishing pictures of a timestamp change. At first, the official record reflected that the vote was taken on Wednesday, after the session should have ended. A few hours later, the official record said the vote was taken on Tuesday, so Davis' filibuster was useless. Either Texas got itself a time machine or someone was messing with the official record.
Texas State Senate
Thanks to the Internet's collective outrage, the bill was stricken and Texas legislators were shamed into oblivion. (Well, not really. The whole thing was passed less than a month later.)
#2. An Unknown Subway Mugger Is Identified by an Anonymous Commenter, People Start Spamming His Facebook
Back in April, Gawker posted a story of a man violently mugging an old lady, which you can see on video here if you enjoy human misery. The culprit got away with it, since the security camera failed to take an image of his face or anything recognizable, other than the fact that he was a semi-fat, semi-white guy in New York, which narrowed it down to about 70 percent of New York's population. Also, his big sweatshirt with fraternity lettering on it, which narrowed it down to 50 percent of the population.
However, in that same Gawker article, they received this comment in the comments section:
After rifling through the man's pictures -- all of which were global, which should be indication enough to change your fucking Facebook privacy settings -- in the same way he rifled through an old woman's purse, the Internet assured itself that the Facebook profile belonged to the mugger. Why? Because of the sweatshirt. The idiot was found wearing the same sweatshirt -- with the letters for Alpha Phi Delta and the word "Stugotz" at the back, which is Italian slang for "balls" -- at the club.
You'd think he would have used his stolen money to buy a new shirt.
Police then arrested the man. And because his comments were also global (change your Facebook settings, guys), the Internet proceeded to spam him with articles of the mugging, one of them helping him along the path to jail, linking a Prison Bitch Name Generator:
Soreass Mantits, we assume.
#1. 4chan Stops a Mass Murder Before the Act
Bragging about your crime on the Internet before committing said crime has become a thing, as some criminals are just misunderstood children (with firearms) pining for attention. For example, back in April, a student at a community college located in a Virginia mall posted about shooting the place up just minutes before actually committing the crime.
Granted, it was posted on the /b/ section of 4chan, so we can't entirely blame users for not taking the threat very seriously in between threads of naked women and newfags. (For those of you who don't know 4chan, just think of Reddit with less superiority complex and more tits.)
But 10 days later, it happened again on 4chan, with a poster from the Netherlands claiming that he would shoot his "Dutch teacher and as many students" as he could, "at a school in the Dutch city of Leiden." For more proof, the poster said he would "be using a 9mm Colt Defender." The poster also claimed that he was using a proxy, and therefore the police would not find him before tomorrow.
Rahman Roslan / Getty
A proxy is like a mask, but with Internet.
4chan users quickly reported the threat to the authorities. Schools in the area were shut down the next day, and police sought the hidden source of the threat. But because hiding your identity from the Internet is like hiding from water in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the would-be shooter was found and arrested. The unnamed man turned out to be a dropout who had previously been expelled from a certain school in Leiden for unruly behavior, meaning, yes, the anons on 4chan just saved a handful of lives.
Tired of cliche wizards and space opera? Check out XJ's $0.99 science-fiction/fantasy novella on Amazon here, with the sequel OUT NOW. His writing blog is also cool. Poke him on Twitter, too.