Meghan McCain, daughter of former presidential candidate John McCain, got involved in a Twitter controversy today, when a man sent her a note that suggested he was suicidal. McCain then tried to find help for the man. The whole situation was then mocked on Wonkette.com, a blog dedicated to political gossip.
The situation unfolded via Twitter while McCain was on a roadtrip in her home state of Arizona. When someone sent her a tweet with the message “please pray for me. SeriousLy please I want death. End it for. Me please. I hate http://myloc.me/enq5,” McCain became alarmed. The website link in the tweet was to a map indicating that the person was in Seattle, WA. McCain then posted a note to her own twitter account asking for help: “Twitter I need your help, I don’t know if this is real or not but this person @rolson141 just implied they want to kill themselves, I just read this just now. Who can I alert, what should I do? Like I said, I just read this just now, I am freaked out by this twitter message”
She and her publicist ended up contacting the police in Seattle and continued to talk to the man over Twitter. The whole situation was disturbing to McCain, as she continued to share over Twitter: “please pray for him everyone, I am shaking. I don’t know the situation but when someone tweets me “they want death”, I am going to do something about it.”
Perhaps the most upsetting thing about the story is how Wonkette chose to cover it. Instead of noting that she was trying to help someone who was depressed and in danger, they made fun of her. “Behold her nervous illiterate twitters,” wrote Ken Layne, a Wonkette writer, “about somebody she doesn’t know who may or may not exist, on the Internet, and perhaps at minimum exists on the other side of the country, typing some sadsack stuff about wanting to die. Teen-agers are hyper-emotional, Meghan, sort of like you…” Certainly, McCain had no idea if the person on the other end of the tweet was really depressed or just seeking attention, but she was legitimately trying to help someone. That deserves respect, not taunting. Yet Layne continued to make fun of her, accusing her of being a second-rate “Bat Man” and of going “progressively more nuts while reading the random twitters of other people.”
You know, I once saw a blogger threaten suicide, in comments to a post of his. Some of you will remember the situation I’m talking about. Some of his commenters mocked him and encouraged him to do it. The next post on his blog was from a relative saying he was dead.
The family deleted the ugly comments, but I saved them somewhere, as a reminder of how subhuman people can be on the Internet.
Regardless of what you think of Meghan McCain, mocking her for trying to help a possibly suicidal person is bottom-feeding, scumbag behavior. From what I know of Ken Layne, however, it’s typical.