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A Discussion On Internet Shaming

The following video has gone viral. It records two women attempting to steal a pavilion tent from the beach on July 4th and when caught by the owner, defend it as belonging to them, including all chairs, beach toys, etc. The interesting aspect of this situation is that the owner is willing to drop it and move on but the woman in the red bathing suit ignores the offer and instead goes on the offensive, literally.

The owner, who goes only by his first name of “Rich”, choose to not press charges but did publish the video online. The question I’m proposing for discussion is whether Internet shaming has become more effective of a deterrent than threats of arrest for grand larceny and simple assault. What role should Internet shaming, if any, play in molding behavior of others?

{ 142 comments }

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  • Nikki July 9, 2014, 7:22 am

    He should have pressed charges.

    • Raven July 9, 2014, 7:42 am

      I suppose, given the video evidence, he still could.

    • Skittle July 9, 2014, 4:40 pm

      Pressing charges sounds like a good idea, but unless he lives local to the area where this happened, it could turn into a complete nightmare for him. He would have to show up to any hearings that were scheduled, and if he missed one for any reason, the charges would be thrown out completely. If he was able to make it to all the hearings, chances are still good that it would only result in these women getting a small fine and a sealed record unless it wasn’t a first offense, and even if either of them does have a prior record, they’d still not get much more then a minor slap on the wrist.

  • PM July 9, 2014, 7:27 am

    I don’t know if it’s more effective, but it certainly broadcasts the criminals’ actions to a wider audience.

  • Raven July 9, 2014, 7:42 am

    I found the last bit hard to make out, but it sounded like the woman in red threatened to stick the man’s phone … somewhere? I’m guessing somewhere uncomfortable. I’m also guessing, depending on where this took place, that might be considered a threat/verbal assault. He probably could have filed a complaint against her.

    These women have some serious nerve. It looked like the woman in orange tried to pass it off like confusion. “Oh, is this your stuff? Are you sure? We thought it was our stuff…” but obviously, no dice.

    The only thing they should have done (besides not decided to be thieving scumbags in the first place) was apologise and leave, thanking him profusely for not calling the police.

    As for the concept of “internet shaming” – I think it’s kind of stupid. I seriously doubt either of these women even have the concept of “shame,” so I don’t think it will work. However, I suppose it might serve as a warning to other people…there are cameras in everyone’s pockets now, so mind yourself.

    I think we air our dirty laundry too easily and too far. Stop posting on facebook about how bad your kids are or how much you hate your in-laws or what a giant jerk your boss is. Sooner or later, that kind of over-sharing is going to get you in trouble anyway.

    • admin July 9, 2014, 8:09 am

      Maybe not shame per se but don’t you think having your face plastered all over the internet, seen on a major news network and people going into hyper sleuth mode and outing your real name cause your anxiety/stress to ratchet up a few notches? I think it’s human nature to not want be the butt of everyone’s scorn and derision.

      • admin July 9, 2014, 8:10 am

        In other words, it might be easier to have been arrested and go through the legal system than to be the Internet poster child for thievery.

        • Eva July 9, 2014, 9:29 am

          Does that not imply, that people would even realize, that they have been “shamed”? Honestly, you could put me on Youtube after filming me picking my nose in public (or stealing a tent) and I would never notice, because I would not think of looking for videos about me.

          Likewise I doubt that any family members or friends are regularly searching the web for information about “Eva”.

          And anyway: considering the possibilities of editing a video: How far would I trust someone claiming my sister (or father or aquaintance) stole a tent? About as far as I could toss one of them single handedly, I suppose.

          People are far too willing to believe everything in the internet and far too willing to make assumptions while we are at ist, for me to be unwilling to give those filmed the benefit of doubt.

          • cashie July 9, 2014, 2:26 pm

            Eva, they may not notice personally that they have been put on YouTube, but I read through the comments there. Both women’s names and Facebook pages have been outted, leaving them vulnerable to being contacted by the media and strangers, and their personal information, including family members is vulnerable. That part is the very reason you don’t want public shaming or pics posted of you Anywhere.

          • Orinoco July 12, 2014, 8:56 am

            Thats right Cashie, the comments on YouTube included links to Facebook pages. I checked one and it has personal information and pictures of what look like family all publicly available.

            I don’t think those two ladies understand how the internet works.

        • Raven July 9, 2014, 9:36 am

          You’re probably right, but I admit I don’t feel sorry for them. Even if they didn’t get arrested, it will still likely cause problems for them in their personal lives (lost job, personal relationship problems, etc). I find it hard to think “that’s too bad,” because when you make the choice to steal from someone, you’re opening yourself up to the consequences. If they had been stealing food for their hungry families, I would have a lot more sympathy. While I’m sure it is embarrassing for them, and probably also their loved ones, this is probably not the first time they have done something like this – maybe it will be the last.

          These days, everyone has a phone that can take video and/or pictures. Maybe it’s not ethical to post every little thing, but people should be aware that plastered on the internet is a potential outcome of something like this.

        • kingsrings July 9, 2014, 10:23 am

          I agree for the most part. This concept can work sometimes. However, not everyone can be shamed, hence it might not be the right punishment for all. Some people simply aren’t wired to feel shame or guilt. Clearly these women weren’t feeling too much of either when they decided to steal these items. And some people might take going viral as an opportunity to capitalize on their moment of fame and actually enjoy it. I’m also concerned with the possibility of mistaken identity where members of the public start mistakenly vilifying someone, thinking they’re the guilty party.

        • girl_with_all_the_yarn July 9, 2014, 11:45 am

          Then there’s a very simple solution: Don’t do illegal things. Don’t steal things, don’t assault people, don’t threaten them, don’t brag about how you can get away with it (thinking of a very specific example here), don’t deface property… just don’t. If you don’t want to have someone potentially post your face on the internet doing things it is very obvious you shouldn’t be doing, don’t do them.

      • Jenny R July 9, 2014, 8:55 am

        If a person doesn’t behave in ways that deserve and earn them scorn and derision they won’t be posted to the internet to receive those things. Not really that different from when they used to circulate photos of people to see if anyone could identify them. This was limited only by budget constraints and those no longer apply.

    • Brit July 9, 2014, 8:43 am

      “As for the concept of “internet shaming” – I think it’s kind of stupid. I seriously doubt either of these women even have the concept of “shame,” so I don’t think it will work.”

      You have clearly never been the subject of a negative article in a newspaper. People end up moving house, including people like this.

    • Lisa July 9, 2014, 10:42 am

      I second what Raven says.

  • JJ July 9, 2014, 7:51 am

    I say in this day and age if your going to act like a fool then you can’t be surprised if people film you with their phones as proof of your crimes or stupidity. She could have easily said oh my god my mistake and walked away like a smart thief but you got mouthy when he calmly, down to earth told you this is mine you musts be mistaken that is my kids stuff and our bags. I am not necessarily saying people should rush out to shame people because that is not always the wisest idea if the other person is very strong or threatening but there are times when technology does help your situation if someone is clearly taking advantage.
    I have no sympathies for people who get caught in the act of stealing or just being very rude or berating (example: yelling at employees in a store over something silly and really insulting them or assaulting them because of things beyond their control). People choose to behave in such a manner so others can choose to film such boorish behaviour as a method of shaming while defending themselves or the person being taken advantage of. It also makes great proof for the police if the situation escalates. I also think it’s hilarious when people like these ladies and others like them clearly commit crimes in front of the person filming but act like their rights are being infringed upon because they are being filmed. Really?! Your taking what doesn’t belong to you but the person filming you or taking a picture as proof of your identity is wrong, I don’t think so. If your going to do the crime then don’t get mad at people who film the evidence or perhaps consider not being a criminal.

  • Rubies July 9, 2014, 8:04 am

    I really don’t like Internet shaming because it serves no purpose other than petty revenge for often minor occurrences. If the man didn’t care enough to press charges, then why is he now broadcasting the incident to the world? Why was he recording it in the first place? This woman will probably lose her job and be the subject of ridicule to people who personally know her.

    Be careful, because if we condone this, any of us could end up on the World Wide Web, lives ruined. It doesn’t have to be for an incident like the one in this video. It could be anything-cutting someone off by accident (I’ve seen license plates and pictures posted on facebook for that!) or something minor.

    People need to grow up, put their phones down, and handle things without later involving the entire world in shaming.

    By the way, that woman is the splitting image of my aunt.

    • Brit July 9, 2014, 8:44 am

      “This woman will probably lose her job and be the subject of ridicule to people who personally know her.”

      Cry me a river.

      • DanaJ July 9, 2014, 1:42 pm

        The problem with anything on the internet, is ending it once it has begun. Internet shaming can be dangerous because some terrible “internet sleuth” might actually post identifying information FOR THE WRONG PEOPLE. Removing the erroneous information for innocent people becomes near impossible because you can’t undo its propogation.

        A couple years ago, a City employee, “Jane Doe”, sent a racist email to her boss about an applicant for an internship. The email was leaked. Then some internet idiot decided to out the racist employee and posted the LinkedIn page and photograph of the WRONG Jane Doe – who was then subject to all kinds of harassment. Not only was she subjected to public humiliation and harassment, but any potential employer who Google’s her name will now see her photo identifying her has the racist city employee, even though she was totally innocent.

        Basically, if someone makes a mistake in their zeal to publicly shame someone, it can have enormous unintended consequences for the wrong people.

        The women in this video are stupid thieves. But what happens next? What if some enthusiastic internet would-be reporter misidentifies them? What if one of the women has young children and it results in merciless bullying?

        I would not encourage mob mentality in any way, shape, or form. It can get too out of control too fast, and there is no way to stop it once it starts propogating.

        • Orinoco July 12, 2014, 9:00 am

          This.

          You’ve nailed it here I think. This is why internet shaming is such a horrible idea.

    • Meegs July 9, 2014, 8:55 am

      Ok, now about this: don’t steal and then you won’t be in danger of losing your job or being the subject of ridicule.

    • Wild Irish Rose July 9, 2014, 9:11 am

      “This woman will probably lose her job and be the subject of ridicule to people who personally know her.”

      So what? She’s a thief. She deserves whatever consequences come with being a dishonest person.

    • charliesmum July 9, 2014, 9:22 am

      I agree with you on general terms. Some of this ‘internet shaming’ are things I think would have been better left off the public radar, but in this specific case, they were stealing quite a lot of not inexpensive equipment, so I think any consequences they face because of that action is all on them. (That being said, I would worry about disproportionate response. The internet can be very weird.)

      I wonder if the thought process was something along the lines of ‘gosh, that stuff has been there with no one in it for an hour. Maybe they’re not coming back today?’ and then ‘oh, let’s take it! Serves them right for not watching their stuff.’

      Hearkens a bit back to the earlier post about the woman saving her seat at a pub. I don’t understand the mentality of people who seem to think their needs outweigh the rights and property of other people.

    • Raven July 9, 2014, 9:58 am

      If she loses her job because she was caught stealing from someone and also threatening them, then so be it. Actions have consequences.

      I agree that people sometimes take it too far. Someone cutting you off in traffic isn’t worth the internet shame. Not everything needs to be splashed around the internet. But how you behave in a public space is not private anyway.

      Maybe I sound kind of grumpy, but I feel like we are supposed to just expect people to behave badly and go with it. Maybe if more people were “shamed” a little more often, they wouldn’t do these types of things.

    • Markko July 9, 2014, 10:25 am

      I don’t think this is shaming AT ALL! If I told that story at a party, nobody would believe me, or at the very best claim severe exaggeration. What better way to have proof at anyone’s disposal? “Yes I did have an exciting time at rhe beach last weekend, Aunt Messy! Look under and see for yourself!” I may not have wanted to press charges either, but I would want a souvenir!

    • TeamBhakta July 9, 2014, 10:29 am

      I wouldn’t feel sorry for the thieves if they lose jobs over this. If they’re willing to boldly steal from a public beach and threaten their victims with bodily harm, I can only imagine what they’re willing to attempt when nobody’s watching. I wouldn’t want them for employees!

    • Puzzled July 9, 2014, 11:02 am

      Does no one understand the concept of consequences anymore? She should lose her job. She’s a thief! She should be the subject of ridicule and scorn. She is a thief. I would have pressed charges and posted the video.

    • girl_with_all_the_yarn July 9, 2014, 11:48 am

      Then don’t do things that could wind up on the internet! Don’t steal things. Don’t threaten people. Just act like a civil, decent human being and guess what… there will be nothing for the internet to shame! In fact, if someone tapes you doing things like helping strangers and being kind and posts it, you will be lauded as an everyday hero.

    • another Laura July 9, 2014, 12:21 pm

      It’s probably a good idea to record any instance where you are planning to accuse a stranger of stealing your property. You may need evidence in case of assault.
      As for the woman potentially losing her job, anyone who is bold enough to steal something that large on a public beach in broad daylight, chances are they are pilfering from their employer.

    • SamiHami July 9, 2014, 1:01 pm

      She should be the subject of ridicule. She’s a thief. I’m in favor of internet shaming criminals. Perhaps someone I know is a criminal and I don’t know it. You only get “internet shamed” if you do something shameful.

      • Steve July 9, 2014, 5:37 pm

        Well, this is certainly untrue. People get Internet shamed for all sorts of things. Including disliking movies, bands, books, or TV shows with a particularly rabid fan base.

    • lakey July 9, 2014, 2:02 pm

      Actions have consequences. Stealing someone’s stuff is a crime. Period. I just don’t feel sorry for people who get caught and perhaps suffer public shame. There are people out there who will do anything that they think they can get away with. I don’t think there is anything wrong with aiming a camera at people who are committing a crime. These women appear to not have much of a sense of right and wrong. Aiming a camera at them might make them think about the fact that other people see them as what they are, thieves.

    • Emmy July 9, 2014, 4:14 pm

      If they choose to steal somebody else’s property, then threaten to destroy his property and try to assault him, then they certainly don’t deserve to have it kept private. If they would be ashamed that this video would be posted, they shouldn’t act that way. The woman knew he was recording, yet threatened him and hit at him.

      I do agree that for very minor things, people should not be shamed on the internet, but this was blatant and deliberate thievery and threats. They will reap what they sow if they are ridiculed for the video. I don’t feel he was wrong for recording a video. If he chose to get the police involved, he would need proof other than he said/she said so I don’t get condemning recording the interaction (although I understand not approving of putting it on the net). I actually think it was wise to have proof of what happened when confronting a thief.

    • kit July 9, 2014, 4:47 pm

      Maybe this was his version of pressing charges. And maybe this was a way that worked more surely and faster than turning to a bored policeman.

  • AMC July 9, 2014, 8:12 am

    I don’t know how I feel about this. The camera certainly didn’t de-escalate the situation, and I know that I would feel very uncomfortable with someone filming me without my consent. (Granted, I would feel equally uncomfortable about someone trying to steal my stuff.) I can understand someone recording video evidence of what they believe to be a criminal act, but recording someone in order to embarrass or shame them is different. The guy who took the video used it to do the latter.
    With these sorts of viral videos/pictures, it’s always important to take them with a grain of salt. We don’t know what occurred before or after the video, and we haven’t heard from the women on the video. Maybe the guy is lying. Maybe the women were genuinely confused about whose property that was. Maybe the whole thing is a hoax.
    It’s tempting to laugh at these women and shame them for what appears to be appalling behavior, but there’s probably much more to the story than we know. That is usually the case with viral pictures and videos.

    • admin July 9, 2014, 8:21 am

      The rest of the story is that the police were called but the women left before the police arrived. I suspect the decision to not press charges may have been predicated upon the owner being on vacation and pressing charges would have meant coming back. And if I were to witness someone in the act of vandalizing or stealing my stuff, I’m sure I would whip out my camera phone as well to record the scene.

      • Wild Irish Rose July 9, 2014, 9:14 am

        Absolutely. Is there not enough lack of support for victims of crimes without actually LETTING criminals get away with it because we don’t want to take the time to make sure they get what’s coming to them? This is a situation in which we must take sides, and inactivity is not absolution. We don’t have to tolerate criminal behavior, but if we choose not to prosecute, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

      • Daisy July 9, 2014, 10:33 am

        I agree with Admin. Pressing charges against someone in a “he said – she said” situation isn’t easy. Unless he still has the receipt for the beach gazebo, how does he prove legal ownership? Unless he has a record, how would he prove what happened? What if the two women (I won’t use the term “ladies” because they obviously aren’t) claim that he assaulted them? How does he defend himself? Shaming someone publicly has always been a legitimate method for society to correct destructive behavior. The Internet simply increases the size of the audience. If you don’t want to be recorded doing something wrong, the solution is simple: don’t do it.

        • Ergala July 9, 2014, 5:25 pm

          There was another news story about something kind of similar. A young man was flying a drone up high over a beach, a young woman saw it and followed it back to him and began screaming at him calling him a pervert. She then called 911 as she tried to take his drone and demanded police be sent. He had his phone out and was recording the whole altercation. She then attacked him and started beating him up and he didn’t even defend himself but instead yelled for help. The police showed up and she claimed he assaulted her. He had the recording to prove he didn’t and she was arrested. She was a total whack job. In cases like this and that, absolutely record, that is the only thing that kept the young man from being arrested and charged.

    • Anna July 9, 2014, 8:43 am

      This is my response, too. There’s no “innocent until proven guilty” clause on the internet. How do we know the guy wasn’t the one trying to steal? Who is to prevent someone from walking up to you on the beach as you are setting up your things, and saying, “Hey, this is mine!” What would you do? And how would it look if that person were recording it? A lot can be changed about a situation by way of context and editing.

    • Jessica July 9, 2014, 9:07 am

      I completely agree with you. I am not a fan of social media shaming. I saw this video yesterday and started thinking about how I really don’t like how people are posting these videos for the world to see. We don’t know the whole story, and now these women are all over the internet where people who know them, friends, family, employers, are going to recognize them. I would hate for somebody’s life to be ruined over a misunderstanding. Take a video for evidence if you’re going to file a police report. Don’t post it on the internet.

      • WMK July 10, 2014, 10:58 am

        This is how I feel about the whole situation, too.

  • lkb July 9, 2014, 8:23 am

    The women were wrong to steal, but I’m a little surprised that all that stuff was left sitting around with no one watching it anyway, especially right near the boardwalk. Also, I would have been inclined to have a name or identifying mark on at least something out there (the boogie boards, the trailer thingee for instance) for just such occasions.

    • admin July 9, 2014, 1:07 pm

      One of the boogie boards had a name on it…Sydney, I believe.

  • Steve July 9, 2014, 8:30 am

    Well, it certainly would be more effective if he did press charges.

    However, I don’t think publishing a video of an actual crime is necessarily the best example of Internet shaming. Much of what goes up on YouTube is bad, but legal, behavior. The mob’s reaction is often far out of proportion to the original offense. People have received death threats and calls to their place of employment in response to writing articles mildly critical of popular authors. Thirty seconds of anger or exasperation can now make it into a major newspaper’s website and result in the publication of home addresses and phone numbers. Proportion, people.

    • AMC July 10, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Thank you! I agree. There are some very dark corners of the internet and some very sick people who get their kicks by making the lives of strangers hell for comparably minor offenses or even for no reason at all. When you post something like this online, you open a can of worms. I’ve heard many stories of death threats, rape threats, stalking, and harassment that began with someone’s image and information being posted online. The internet is an unregulated mess, and there’s very little law enforcement can or will do about it. I would have preferred the guy just press charges against these women instead of leaving it up to the internet to punish them.

  • DannysGirl July 9, 2014, 8:30 am

    I use an iPhone, and I am unable to view any videos posted to EHell. Why is this? Are the videos on YouTube? Thank you.

    • admin July 9, 2014, 1:06 pm

      Yes, they are on Youtube.com.

      • DannysGirl July 9, 2014, 8:18 pm

        Thank you. I found it!

  • vanessaga81 July 9, 2014, 8:34 am

    I don’t really care. If you do something like that, then you forfeit your right to be upset. Mugshots are public record too. What I AM concerned with are people automatically filming things so they can post them. Last week there was a man riding on the back of a woman’s car on a NC highway and he punched through her back window and started climing inside. The witness filmed it with her phone and then went on her way and said “I sure hope she was all right”. If she had maybe used her phone to call 911 rather than to get something interesting for her FB followers, she might know whether she was all right. At the very least she would have done some good.

  • PJ July 9, 2014, 8:45 am

    When you’re in a public place you obviously give up certain rights to privacy. When you commit a crime, you also give up certain rights. These women were simply realizing the consequences of their actions. They are criminals. Capturing their crimes on video– both theft and attempted assault– could have been valuable evidence for the victim (who was much more forgiving than I would have been!) and rightfully obtained.

    The property owner/assaulted chose not to press charges. His choice. It was just as much his choice to show that video online to anyone who takes an interest.

    Maybe it will reveal their actions to an employer or neighbor or relative who has also been victim to these womens’ crimes. That would be a positive public service. Maybe it will inspire other people to video criminals (hopefully not in unsafe situations) which could provide valuable evidence for prosecution. Maybe it will serve as a deterrent for others before choosing such stupid actions in the future. I can’t help but see this recording and sharing as a good thing.

    These women got off easy. They should have been arrested.

  • Jenny R July 9, 2014, 8:48 am

    There’s an old saying “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”. The equivalent now to “time” is having yourself splashed all over the internet when caught doing your crime. The premise is the same, if you don’t want videos like this on the internet then don’t steal people’s stuff. Simple really.

    After the woman had come at me like she did I definitely would press charges so she could enjoy a criminal record and others be warned about how she behaves when she thinks she can get away with something.

    There is nothing wrong with shame when you have been caught doing something of this nature.

  • Cat July 9, 2014, 8:48 am

    I have a hard time believing that they could be confused as to who owns this and who does not. Either you came with these items or you did not. I’d have followed the women and written down their car’s tag number. I lack patience with adult thieves. I’d ignore a two year old dipping into my cookie jar, but a forty year old making off with my car? I think not.
    I see no problem with public shaming or with having criminals arrested. I watched a store video being shown on TV of a large man abusing his girlfriend’s toddler. He tripped the child, hit him with the door of a refrigerated unit, knocked him down-all while the boy’s mother was waiting in the car.
    The police sais the public response was over-whelming. Everyone who had ever met the man: his family, his friends, people who had gone to school with him, his former teachers- were all calling to give his name, address and phone number. Some who knew him offered to take the police to him and point him out. He didn’t have a friend left in the world-including the judge.

    • DannysGirl July 9, 2014, 11:15 pm

      @Cat: I was thinking the same thing; those women ought to know what they brought down to the beach. If they continue to plead confusion, their families may want to consider a medical exam for Alzheimer’s or dementia. I bet their confusion clears up real quick!

  • Cady July 9, 2014, 8:50 am

    I fully support the public humiliation of people who are behaving badly. Don’t want to be embarrassed by everyone finding out what a jerk you are? Then don’t be a jerk. There’s a camcorder in every pocket these days. As the young’ns say: Check yourself lest you wreck yourself.

  • JWH July 9, 2014, 9:03 am

    A couple thoughts:

    1) When somebody starts stealing your things, I think we’ve moved out of the realm of etiquette and into the realm of law. Etiquette seems ill-suited to dealing with Grand Theft Beach Pavilion

    2) Internet shaming is … dangerous. Has anybody read the comments on the video? Lots of vitriol directed at the women over their weight, temperament, and so forth. It’s also not too hard for an enterprising ‘Netter to locate the women’s identities and addresses (called “doxing.”) This, in turn, will lead to lovely, hateful emails and (judging past manifestations of the Wrath of the Internet) threats of murder, assault, and sexual assault. Is it really right to put these women at risk for that?

    • Pikachu July 9, 2014, 5:52 pm

      I’ve already come across the name of the woman in the red tankini, without even looking for it.

  • Livvy17 July 9, 2014, 9:04 am

    The only misgivings I have about this is that there’s potential for abuse…Imagine a scenario where you’re packing up your own stuff, and someone wanders over with a camera, and starts saying it’s THEIR stuff, and you’re stealing it. (the opposite of the above situation) You, knowing it’s your stuff, vigorously defend yourself, finish packing, and go on your way. Some time later, you find out that your friends, family, employer, and everyone else in the world has seen you (in your swimsuit no less) apparently stealing someone else’s things. How do you defend yourself? You never talked to the police, you never approved being on video, nor have you done anything wrong. Apologies and corrections don’t “go viral” the way that postings from clever trolls and scammers do.

    • Ginger G July 10, 2014, 8:22 am

      Something like that did happen to me back in the pre-internet and video cameras everywhere days. My friend and I were at a high school football game (my brother was on the team). We left our seats to go to the bathroom, when we got back to the seat this guy was sitting by our cooler, rifling through it. We actually knew him somewhat – he was a bully who had tried to start trouble with us on a couple of other occasions. So we asked what he was doing with our stuff and he began loudly yelling it was his and to leave him alone. Everybody in the surrounding area starts looking at us like we were in the wrong. We didn’t even know what to do at this point. Well, suddenly my mother appeared out of nowhere and she put that bully in his place pretty quickly. I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t come along right then.

    • WMK July 10, 2014, 11:19 am

      If this happened to me, I would try to stay calm and call the cops while they were filming and would let them handle the situation when they got there.

  • flora July 9, 2014, 9:05 am

    I do think that internet shaming is slowly becoming a deterrant. If it’s not it should be, at least. How different is it from the old world gossip? Fifty years ago, especially if living in a small town, these women would have left Rich’s stuff well enough alone because they would have gotten caught, either by Rich himself or someone else would have recongized his stuff, the story would spread through the town and the women would have been shamed.
    The other question, is whether or not that’s morally right? I have mixed feelings myself. I’d love it if the everyone would learn to mind thier manners and behave themselves, lest a public shaming. But where does it end? We already have cyber bullying being an issue. And there’s a lot of things that might be embarrassing to be publically recorded and plastered on the net but is really harmless. (wearing a less then flattering outfit for example. Or singing in public to the store’s music.)

  • Devil's Advocate July 9, 2014, 9:22 am

    I have to agree with the previous post by the admin here. Pressing charges while on vacation is just a pain in the rear for the person who was victimized. However, posting the video publically where someone is certain to recognize the ladies in it, I’m all for it. The likelihood that that victim (Rich) seriously impacted the lives of the thieves is much greater then if he had simply pressed charges.

  • Princess Buttercup July 9, 2014, 9:24 am

    On the one hand it’s a good reminder that there are cameras everywhere. Seriously, if you are in public, you very well could be on camera. I’m amazed that stores still have to post the “smile you’re on camera” sign. Obviously some people still manage to forget this fact because I know posting a sign like that at our charity organization has cut down on random hoodlums a _lot_.

    On the other side, these video’s can create a ton of trouble for everyone. The man who posted it could (sadly) get sued for defemation of character. Anyone who shares it could be named as a co-conspirater. And while it looks like the one lady is just brazen and stupid enough to go on the attack when he offers to let her off the hook, you don’t know her. She could suffer from a brain injury/issue that causes her to get confused and therefore defensive. She really could have thought it was hers and got angry that he was trying to trick her so he could steal it from her. That’s more likely in older people but brain injuries happen to all ages so not impossible.

    Most of the time it would be better to simply post; “on x date, two women (both on the short side, middle aged, etc) attempted to steal everything my family left on x beach. So if you are in the area in the near future, be warned that you should keep a better eye on your stuff than we did.” And leave it at that.

    • Anonymouse July 9, 2014, 5:25 pm

      As far as I know, I don’t think the poster is in too much danger of getting sued, as he has video evidence of them committing the crime. He may be sued, but the case would be easily won if not thrown out of court. If he took a picture of someone setting up their stuff, then claimed they were stealing he could be sued, but if they were actually stealing he is pretty safe. Defamation only applies when someone is spreading lies.

      Of course, I am not a lawyer, so if I’m mistaken, someone please let me know.

    • Elizabeth Scott July 9, 2014, 7:08 pm

      This is the dumbest comment I have ever read. Do both women have brain injuries? Seriously? That makes no sense. What does make sense is that two middle-aged women got caught trying to steal a lot of equipment and got caught, so they got nasty.

      The man can NOT get sued for “defemation” (sic) of character, nor can anyone who shares it be named a “co-conspirater” (sic). Reporting the facts, it turns out, is fully legal.

      Princess Buttercup, Wesley deserves better.

      • Princess Buttercup July 10, 2014, 9:34 am

        I did not say they both had brain injuries. I said that it looks like they were just being thieves but we don’t know them, the woman in orange could be confused.

        Also, check out Mike Rowe on Facebook and look at a picture he posted not that long ago from a screen shoot from a convience store. And read the discussion he had with a lawyer about the posted picture.
        To break it down, the store owner is often robbed and he rotates pictures from his survelience system of the thieves which has cut down on the thievery (example where public shaming can be useful). But a lawyer there discussed that technically the guy in the picture, while there was proof he stole, could sue for defamation of character and undo stress caused by being publicly outted. The lawyer stated he could take the thief on as a client and sue the store owner. We’d like to think it would be thrown out but look at the thief that broke into someones house, cut themselves while robbing them and sued and won against the home owner for not having a safe house. When Mike Rowe posted the picture to his facebook he blocked the person’s face. He pointed out that this ruined the point of posting the picture but since the lawyer said that posting the picture could get him sued, that was the point our society had gotten to.

        You might want to do a little research before trying to pretend you are high and mighty and can insult others online. Not only are you wrong but you put yourself in the possition to be sued for harassment online. Another instance that seems stupid but there are lawyers who would take the case just from how rude you were in your comment for absolutely no reason.

  • saucygirl July 9, 2014, 9:26 am

    I think if they are going to be so brazen as to try to steal someones stuff, they deserve the consequences. And for a case like this, this is probably the only possible consequence. Even with the cops called, realistically, what can they be charged with? They didn’t actually get away with anything and it would be hard to make attempted robbery stick if they keep saying they had been mistaken. Even if it gets into court it will be a case of he said/she said and I doubt anything will happen to the “ladies”.

    We just had an empty town home we own broken into. The robbers looked at what appliances we had, posted the appliances on craigslist, and that met someone there to sell our washer/dryer. Luckily the buyer felt the whole thing was off and did some research, found us and called us pretty quickly. Due to the awesomeness of the buyer and the cops, the people were caught the very next day. But I am still out over $700 for fixing the damage they did and reimbursing the buyer for the money she spent. The people went to court and we are asking for our money back but have been told to expect only around $10 a month, for 70 months (almost 6 years!). And thats only if they are out of prison and actually working to give us the money. Which means I can kiss the money goodbye and they aren’t expected to do jail time. So if I could choose, then I think I would rather blast them all over the internet. Maybe a little shame will get them to stop, cause I don’t see how no jail time and no expectation of paying us back is going to stop them.

  • Redneck Gravy July 9, 2014, 9:31 am

    I agree in whipping out my camera and taping someone attempting to steal my stuff too!

    I keep hoping that in this day and age of technology some crime rates will drop. Well I do keep hoping.

    To blatantly walk up and start to steal someone’s stuff on a public beach, then when caught in the act threaten the cameraman, well you just can’t fix stupid.

    And I’m all for public shaming, behave yourself and this won’t be a problem for you.

  • Mary Sue July 9, 2014, 9:33 am

    You act like a brazen thief stealing in broad daylight, you’re going to be treated like a brazen thief stealing in broad daylight. Those two women get zero sympathy from me.

  • Denise July 9, 2014, 9:35 am

    When it is very cut and dry, I think that “sharing” the photo/video/story is more effective than going through the judicial system. Our courts are flooded with cases they do not need to deal with and our jails are burdened beyond their capacity. Sometimes, being “outed” I’m public for your bad behavior is worse than many formal sentences can do.

    However. Things are rarely cut and dry and often are not as they seem. We’ve just about eliminated the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” in our society and public “shaming” is partially responsible. We’ve all seen photos go viral ok Facebook with thousands of comments. If you read the comments you will often find there are many versions of the story, or sometimes the photo has nothing to do with the story being shared.

    Any public shaming should be done with extreme caution. Pictures and videos do not go away quickly or easily. Not nearly as quick or easy as they upload in a moment of passion.

  • Daquiri40 July 9, 2014, 9:49 am

    These women were taking someone else’s property. When it was brought to their attention that maybe they were mistaken and this is my property, not yours, questions from the women should have started. My feeling is that the canopy and other items were sitting there for a while and the women thought they had been abandoned and decided finders, keepers.

    For the woman in red to get so combative, she was caught redhanded and embarassed. I see nothing wrong with shaming these women. What they did was wrong.

    My sister-in-law and her husband went camping many years ago. They set up their tent and then went to dinner. By the time they got back, all of their stuff was gone. They had no video of what happened but obviously, someone took the stuff. Would it have been wrong to post a video, if there had been one, of what happened?

  • Coralreef July 9, 2014, 10:05 am

    Cameras and phones are present in more and more places, everyone has to realize they can be filmed at any moment. It’s your choice to be filmed saving that puppy or drowning it.

    All actions have consequences, now instead of a few people knowing about it, the whole world can. If those consequences are more like a ton of bricks than a slap on the wrist, maybe they would learn not to take what doesn’t belong to them.

  • Christina July 9, 2014, 10:06 am

    It is a fine line. I think I would have filmed like he did AND pressed charges. Her continuing to argue and threaten him for filming like HE is the bad guy is why. And as for someone mentioning she could lose her job…She SHOULD. I wouldn’t want someone caught on camera stealing working for me. She mad her bed when she decided to steal. I have no sympathy for them.

    But look at all of these ‘receipts’ that keep going viral with no tips or derogatory names on them. So many ate turning out to be fake because people are looking at it like a way to get a handout from people who feel bad. It is very hard to know who you can trust these days.

  • Nannerdoman July 9, 2014, 10:17 am

    Public shaming is as old as time. The Puritans used a pillory. Our parents used to tell us, “Never do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper”. Today it’s cell phones, YouTube, and Facebook. I think that some people would rather be prosecuted than publicly shamed.

  • INeedANap July 9, 2014, 10:17 am

    I think folks are being too kind to these thieves. At the point where you start stealing someone’s property, and then dare go on the defensive, you must understand that any kindness or consideration you get from the victim is absolute mercy. I see no problem with posting this video. Frankly, I consider it a PSA. Beware these women, for they have no compunction stealing someone’s property.

    I also don’t buy that they were confused — I can see confusing someone’s plain coat for your own, or perhaps a towel or a hat. But all this stuff? The canopy and toys? No. At that point, you know it isn’t yours. I don’t think they’ll be shamed by this video, but perhaps it will put some serious fear and doubt into their thieving plots. For that alone, posting this was a good idea.

    By the by — posting information online is nothing new, it is only a new form of the gossip and scandals that have pervaded all of human history.

  • sio8bhan July 9, 2014, 10:21 am

    The best defense is a good offense! Or is it offence?

  • Dyan July 9, 2014, 10:21 am

    I think it is good in some ways, shows people who are the scum bags in life…

  • Jen July 9, 2014, 10:32 am

    I think proper use of internet shaming can be an efective deterant on two fronts. First, if the person acting badly is not compleatly a rude boar then it will be a way to show then both how that acted and how others precived them. Second, it lets others know these people are not to be trusted if it is a case of theft or vandalism, so society will be keeping an eye on them. When you think about it what is internet shaming but a modern version of putting a thief, in this case, in the stocks. That is what many of the old fashioned forms of ponishment were for, letting the comunity know this person is not acting as a good citizen you need to watch out for them. The real trick is for us is to not hold one bad action against the person if they change their ways.

  • MollyMonster July 9, 2014, 10:44 am

    While I am a pretty firm believer in public shaming to inhibit behavior not beneficial to society, it is too easy for it to all get out of hand. Someone posts something out of context and suddenly we have a witch hunt against an innocent. The KFC-threw-mah-baby-out thing recently was a good example. By making a claim against the chain, the family got money even though it was later proven that they were straight-up lying. Or the waiters/waitresses who post the tips with slurs that they themselves added. The internet witch hunt goes after the “offender” and then belatedly finds out that there was no actual offense. But by then, everything is well and truly stirred up and peoples’ lives may be affected.

    But, with video evidence like this, I am more okay with it because it isn’t a he said, she said situation. We can clearly see who is doing what and unless it was an act or setup, all players’ motivations are understood. Surveillance video of the neighbor who repeatedly dumped dog poo in his neighbor’s yard and got shamed as well as other similar video proof, is a-okay with me.

  • Anonymous July 9, 2014, 10:55 am

    That was horrible. I think I need something to wash off the rude aftertaste……can we have Feel Good Friday a little early this week?

  • padua July 9, 2014, 11:03 am

    i think it’s a shame that we need to resort to public shaming… but on the other hand, we’ve become somewhat of a litigious society where rather than stepping up and accepting responsibility for our behaviors, we pay someone a great deal of money to help us deny or avoid responsibility. if these women had accepted responsibility for what they did, that would have been one thing. i absolutely would not have supported ‘public shaming.’ but now at least the guy has proof that his stuff was stolen and maybe someone will identify them and charges can be pressed (if that’s what he wants to do).

    if someone hit my car then took off, i would definitely appreciate someone recording the incident. it’s a shame it has to come down to this but as someone else already posted, perhaps greater accountability and a possibility of shaming will decrease the chance of someone acting without responsibility.

  • Kimberly Herbert July 9, 2014, 11:05 am

    I don’t think this is a good example of shaming that is questionable. They are criminals caught stealing. This is the proof of what happened.

    I see this as the man protecting himself. He didn’t start recording to deescalate. He started recording to show his family what was happening. A man confronting 2 woman he is going to be seen as the aggressor unless he had proof otherwise. I think he did the right thing both recording and publishing because these women can’t come back and claim he did something to them. It is like that young man that was attacked by woman that objected to him playing with a quad-copter. She did call the cops. If he didn’t have that video showing her attacking him I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that he would have been charged for attacking her – and he didn’t even defend himself.

    I wish he had filed a complaint, because that would help protect the rest of the public from these two criminals. Criminals deserve to be outed. There was a big debate in the town I teach. The PD has a facebook page. They published pictures of a man who was wanted for a domestic violence attack. Some of his friends published a bunch of she deserved it – she attacked him posts. His daughter (under 13) posted back that they were awful people that she, her mother, sister, and brother did not deserve to be beaten. She was called into the counselors office because we were concerned that she might get hurt by these people. (The PD did delete the comments supporting him and her reply for her own safety) My school spent a week in modified lock down, with cops in a room off the reception area in case he showed up to carry out his threat to kill his three kids. The use of social media made things difficult for him. He surrendered. The police left our campus. They were back 2 hours later – same situation different family. That person surrendered as soon has he realized the same tactics were going to make his life difficult.

    The 1st “man” made bail, broke the restraining order and attacked his wife and son. He was arrested again and charged again. I kept his picture on my phone the rest of the year – because the son was in my class.

    I think a better example of public shaming that is debatable is something like people of Walmart. I hate it when people post shaming pictures/videos in public because the poster wants to bully people they don’t know. I also hate the videos of people falling, having some sort of accident that are published to make fun of them.

    More info on Rich http://goo.gl/ubB7tx

    Man flying quadicopter http://goo.gl/KAEMQl

    • Cecilia July 9, 2014, 4:06 pm

      Re: Man attacked for flying quadicopter- that woman was crazy. Ripping his clothing, clawing at him, hitting him, etc. Did she ever get any charges pressed against her?

      • Anonymouse July 10, 2014, 5:04 pm

        Yes, if I’m remembering correctly she was brought up on assault and disturbing the peace.She was due back in court yesterday.

  • Harley Granny July 9, 2014, 11:06 am

    Maybe it’s me but I have no problem with the public shaming…instead of wasting tax payers’ money by dragging it thru the courts maybe the shame from this incident will make them think 2x about doing this again.
    I kinda hope it makes people think again before taking things that don’t belong to them.

    Now it seems the ladies said that someone asked them to go pick up their stuff….true? Who knows…..

  • starstruck July 9, 2014, 11:13 am

    i just believe these women would attempt to steal something so big and expect no one to notice !! and to top if off, they didn’t even know how to pack it up . and then to be caught and still try to make off with it? wow.

    • starstruck July 9, 2014, 4:34 pm

      i meant “can’t believe” lol

  • Vermin8 July 9, 2014, 11:13 am

    I don’t have an issue to a certain extent. I think this type of filming is good – it makes it easier to bring these people to justice. If they don’t want people to witness them committing a crime, then don’t commit a crime. In this video, it’s not just the attempted theft but the threatening of the camera holder (he was not committing a crime by filming him).
    Where I stop though is manipulated filming that makes someone look guilty who isn’t. EG, what if the women had truly been mistaken (not the case – there was too much stuff for us to believe they really thought it was theirs plus the threatened assault)?

  • Vdrog July 9, 2014, 11:29 am

    I watched the video. I have doubts on who the guilty party really is. It has the feel of the person doing the filming trying to prank the women on purpose.

    • admin July 9, 2014, 12:56 pm

      How do you prank people in the midst of stealing your belongings?

      • Jaxsue July 9, 2014, 1:02 pm

        This. It sure doesn’t feel like a prank; it feels like they were caught in the act.

      • Anna July 9, 2014, 2:29 pm

        There isn’t any proof that he is the actual owner of the stuff. It would be a prank (not a very funny one) to walk up to someone who is setting up their stuff on the beach and tell them that their stuff belongs to you. From what is in the video, we don’t really know if that is what happened here.

        I can certainly see someone acting the way that these ladies reacted if that were the case. Confusion, followed by anger. Certainly, attacking someone is never called for, but just from seeing the video, we don’t know the true owner.

    • Siren July 9, 2014, 10:27 pm

      I TOTALLY agree with you, Vdrog. I had doubts too, when I saw this. They do NOT react guilty, at all. They start saying these are our things. They don’t act guilty at all. I was wondering if the guy filming was confused about which beach site was his, since it’d be easy to mix up a canopy, toys, etc. , I think it’d be easy to go to the wrong site thinking it was yours. Especially since there were no identifying items there, at least I hope he took his wallet, personal items, etc. The other items could have been all rental things, even the boogie boards. The woman reacting was really angry, and guilty people “caught in the act” don’t react that way. Something does not add up here.

      • admin July 10, 2014, 6:27 am

        I had a watch stolen at work many years ago. The female employee who stole it actually showed up at work wearing it and when confronted by the manager, had an elaborate story of how she received it as a birthday gift and she became quite angry that we were accusing her of theft of what she clearly stated belonged to her. There was just a little problem…..my initials and a date had been engraved on the back and either she had not noticed that or she had never looked there. Busted…and fired.

        So, I quite disagree that guilty people do not react in anger when caught in the act. It’s a way to escalate the drama in the hopes the other person backs down to avoid an altercation. It’s almost a con to dissuade someone from their objective.

        • Vdrog July 10, 2014, 10:07 am

          While I agree the “the best defense is a good offense” argument can apply here, you are assuming guilt without proof. In today’s social media frenzy, there are individuals who get their jollies by pranking innocent people. Accusing people of stealing something that might actually belong to them and recording the confrontation might be considered by amusing by some (my son laughed). It may have been to done to simply get the “hits” on you tube.

          Remember the show “Candid Camera”? This would be the modern (and meaner) version.

          We have no proof that the videographer owns the equipment, we have no proof that the women did NOT own it. We have no proof that the police were actually called. We are making assumptions with no facts to back any of the accusations.

          While it might be what actually happened, we can never be sure. Therefore Internet shaming should always be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Justine July 9, 2014, 11:36 am

    Don’t do shameful things. Period. Then no one will be able to do that to you.

    I agree with the poster who said in this day and age, you should expect to be filmed or have your picture taken. That woman was a FOOL to not apologize and walk away. She deserves it.

  • Angel July 9, 2014, 11:47 am

    This is an interesting question. I think that when you are so brazen as to attempt to steal a tent, prepare for the consequences whatever they may be–whether it is charges or uploading the video. Personally the only time I am against internet shaming is when it involves children–parents uploading a photo of their kid holding a sign that says I did such and such. To me that doesn’t do anything except make the kid resent the parent. But in this particular case–this is an adult and presumably an adult knows better. She came there with the intent of getting something for nothing. People like that SHOULD be called out on their behavior.

  • Ashley July 9, 2014, 11:50 am

    I’m kind of 50/50 on internet shaming. I think it helps in the sense that it might make some people stop and think “Hey wait, is this something someone might end up filming and putting on the internet? Maybe I shouldn’t do it….” It has also helped CATCH criminals so that’s a good thing. I can think of a number of cases where someone filmed someone doing something illegal then put it on the net and the net came in and stopped a very bad person from doing very bad things.

    But it does also have a dark side. Occasionally stuff will get filmed and while it is certainly stupid, it’s not actually illegal. For example, there was a woman who ranted in a coffee shop recently and made a right fool of herself. Video ended up on the internet, and she wound up suffering a ridiculous amount of backlash for it because someone took it upon themselves to publish her home address and a number of other details about her life.

    If internet shaming could exist without the dark side of it, I’d be all for it…

    • starstruck July 9, 2014, 4:36 pm

      i feel the same way. as long as there is a crime being committed, i’am all for it. like theft, assault , even bullying. i’am absolutely for shaming bullys

  • JesBelle July 9, 2014, 11:59 am

    I guess I don’t feel too sorry for people who should know better getting shamed for shameful behavior, but it’s just awful when they do it to their own kids. I get those on my FB feed pretty regularly, usually captioned with stuff like “Parenting Win!” and “This kid thought he was so smart, Ha ha!” It’s pretty sickening, really. These parents are basically violating their kids’ privacy to strangers. I’m sure each and every one of them did something stupid and impulsive that they are ashamed of when they were kids, too.

  • Brenda July 9, 2014, 12:01 pm

    CCTV is becoming as ubiquitous here as it is in the UK. If you think you can be out in public and not be filmed, you’re almost certainly wrong. Police departments have posted videos and photos of crimes and criminals. With the common ownership of smartphones, it’s best to assume that if you’re in public, you’re being filmed. I don’t want to get into issues of privacy in regard to this. I’m just stating that it’s best to assume that there are witnesses to whatever you do, and the odds are high that they can take photos or video you.

    In this case, these women got what they deserved. If they had said, as noted previously, “Oops, sorry, our mistake,” and walked away, this would probably never have been posted. Instead, red swimsuit woman decided that her best course was not only to try to brazen it out, but to actively threaten the owner of the property she was trying to steal. I think this video going viral is the minimum that could happen to her. In fact, I’m hoping her employer, her entire family, her church, and everyone she knows, sees this.

  • drjuliebug July 9, 2014, 12:02 pm

    I don’t necessarily object to internet shaming; recall “This Guy Has My MacBook”, the Tumblr site that helped catch a thief and return a stolen laptop to its owner. But I think it’s important to always remember that the same technique can be used to bully someone via false accusations. These things go viral very easily, but before sharing one, it’s best to find out if it’s real. If you can’t find any independent information supporting the story, best to err on the side of not sharing it.

  • Mary July 9, 2014, 12:25 pm

    I thought the reason he posted this was because they took off and he wanted them identified so he could press charges.

  • Kirst July 9, 2014, 2:11 pm

    If you’re the sort of person who is only honest because being dishonest might land you on the internet, then internet shaming is a valid tool to keep some people honest. It’s a pity that basic right and wrong won’t keep people honest though.

  • AnaMaria July 9, 2014, 2:21 pm

    Publicly shaming someone for an accident makes the shame-er a bully. Publicly shaming a child is not okay- children have not fully developed the ability to reason or think rationally, and shouldn’t be marked for life for a one-time stupid decision. Publicly shaming someone who is in a desperate situation (such as a person who is homeless stealing food) seems pretty heartless.

    However, I have no sympathy for these women- two grown women stealing recreational beach items, and trying to pick a fight when the owner offers them a chance to leave gracefully? My word, where do they get it in their heads that they can help themselves to someone else’s possessions and get away with it??

    Quite frankly, I wonder how far the man could have gotten with pressing charges. If he could have found a security worker or police officer on the beach, how would he prove the stuff was his? Unless he just purchased it, he won’t have a receipt. And the women would have just run- if he didn’t catch them on video, he wouldn’t have any proof to show law enforcement. This video could get to these women’s family members, employers, and any social groups they attend, and probably carry ramifications more serious than a fine and petty crime record. Maybe others will see it and think twice before they do something equally stupid!

  • Library Diva July 9, 2014, 2:35 pm

    It would be nice if it was an effective deterrent, but I think that most people who commit crimes expect to either get away with it (“I’ve been driving this road for years and have never seen a cop”), or feel that they are justified in whatever it is they’re doing (“There’s no reason for the limit to be 30 MPH through here. Besides, I’m going somewhere really important and I’m running late.”)

    I used to work a community newspaper. We would often run small stories on crimes, and occasionally include the name of the alleged perpetrator. Occasionally, the person would call to complain about that. One of the most memorable cases was a man angry that his teenaged son lost his job because of the story of his arrest. His son’s crime? He stabbed someone.

  • Magicdomino July 9, 2014, 2:38 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this. Internet shaming is a modern resurrection of the old public shaming. Before trains, planes and automobiles made travel fast, easy and safe, most people simply never left their home village or neighborhood. If you did leave, you stayed in the new place for many years. Plus, there simply weren’t as many people. I don’t have the statistics right now, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the population of the City of London in 1700 was the same as one of its suburbs now. So, your neighbors knew you, the haberdasher near the market place knew of you, and any one who didn’t know you knew someone who did. Some people didn’t care, and did what they wanted, and some things like domestic violence and animal abuse wouldn’t inspire more than a little disapproving gossip. For the most part, though, people had to think about their reputations. And like the Internet, those reputations would linger for years, long after the event that inspired them.

    In the last hundred years or so, people living in transient societies have become accustomed to privacy. Unless you messed up badly enough to make the national newpapers, you could easily move to another area, where no one knew you routinely yelled at cashiers, kicked puppies, and swiped anything that no one was watching. Heck, your own neighbors wouldn’t know unless you did it in front of them.

    Surprise! You are on Candid YouTube now. Links get passed around, just like the old-time gossip did. The bad side is that the innocent can be judged as guilty as the young lady who spent too many hours with an unrelated man without a chaparone because their carriage lost a wheel. (“Doesn’t that woman look like the lady who lives on the corner?” “Hair looks similar. Was she at the beach then?” “They went on vacation some time. It might have been the beach. I think it is her.” “I don’t know . . .” “No, I once hear her yelling at someone walking their dog. It must be her. “)