When gun-rights advocate Kaitlin Bennett graduated from Kent State, she had photos taken of herself carrying an AR-10. (The AR-10 is a larger version of the popular AR-15 rifle.) She was deluged with hate mail and death threats. Facebook responded by protecting the people making death threats, rather than the victim of those threats. Facebook removed the screenshots of the death threats directed at Bennett.
If you use a public platform for illegal activity – death threats are illegal – then you should have no expectation of privacy for what you said. Facebook is protecting criminals who are threatening an innocent woman. They are punishing a crime victim for exposing the crimes committed against her. Does Facebook not understand this is exactly why conservatives are frustrated with the platform and looking at alternate means of getting their message out? Does Facebook not understand this is why they are under scrutiny from Congress?
Facebook has only been the big dog in social media for about a decade. Before that, MySpace was dominant. Does anyone remember MySpace any more? If Facebook annoys enough of its users, Facebook could well become what MySpace is today. Market dominance is never permanent.
No, Bennett was not a beneficiary of “white privilege.” This is not a case where a white woman gets to carry openly while a black person would be shot. Bennett called the police ahead of time, and made sure the authorities knew what she was going to do before she did it. It is silly to make this a racial issue.
Gun control is an emotionally volatile issue on both sides. But one can think Bennett was wrong – specifically that she was insensitive given the recent school shootings – without vomiting a long string of obscenities and disgusting personal attacks. One can disagree with a woman’s political position without threatening to rape and/or murder her. That so many immediately resorted to the worst kind of behavior demonstrates that they lack the emotional stability and intellectual capacity to handle opinions they may not like.
Ironically, the flood of death threats also proves Kaitlin Bennett’s point about why women should be armed to defend themselves. Men are larger and stronger than women, so a woman would have difficulty fighting off a male attacker. Bullets, however, are the ultimate equalizer.