Sunday, May 18, 2014

#Grandstand: The Actual "Power of Hashtag"

A deft illustration of the feckless twittering of those who want to make a grand show, but only demonstrate how bereft they are of any real intention to follow through:

The cartoon, for those too young to remember, brings to mind the famous 1964 rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York.  The story that grew from it, telling of the reaction of the neighbors who heard her pleas for help, resulted in the cliché "I didn't want to get involved."

Kitty Genovese

The story continued to grow because of her murderer, Winston Moseley, who was apprehended soon thereafter.  He quickly admited to the murder in his interrogation ("I chose women to kill because they were easier and didn't fight back.")  Initially he received a sentence of death, the judge proclaiming that he was against the death penalty but would make a notable exception in Moseley's case, even to the point of "pulling the switch" himself.  (Such fuzzy principles often give way when confronted by reality.)  The sentence was later commuted to life with the possibility of parole due to an insufficient argument for "medical insanity".

Moseley escaped shortly afterward during a medical transport, overpowering a guard and taking his pistol.  He took a couple hostage, binding the husband and raping his wife, until an FBI agent broke into the apartment and confronted Moseley, guns drawn on each other for half an hour while the agent negotiated with Moseley, who finally surrendered.  Moseley went on to participate in the famous 1971 Attica Prison riot.

Moseley (center) after his re-capture (John Duprey, NY Daily News)

Moseley is still alive and has made a taxpayer-financed career of trying to secure his parole, still denied.  He has argued that he himself is a victim of his incarceration, arguing a classic argumentum ad misericordium: "For a victim outside, it's a one-time or one hour or one minute affair, but for the person who's caught, it's forever."

My heart bleeds ...

Considering the similarity of their circumstances, there is no word whether he has been in correspondence with celebrity cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.  If only his defenders would limit themselves to an equally useless hashtag campaign.


  1. Useless, indeed. Amusing, sometimes, but hardly worth the effort.


Comments are welcome and discussion is open and encouraged. I expect that there will be some occasional disagreement (heaven knows why) or welcome clarification and embellishment, and such are freely solicited.

Consider that all such comments are in the public domain and are expected to be polite, even while contentious. I will delete comments which are ad hominem, as well as those needlessly profane beyond the realm of sputtering incredulity in reaction to some inanity, unless attributed to a quote.

Links to other sources are fine so long as they further the argument or expand on the discussion. All such comments and links are the responsibility of the commenter, and the mere presence herein does not necessarily constitute my agreement.

I will also delete all comments that link to a commercial site.