#JustStop #OnlyLove

I started many times this week to write my own #MeToo confession, but after seeing all of the hate that Travis got from his, I just wasn’t up for that this week. You see, last week my brother killed himself, so I’m a little more emotional than usual. I’m not telling you this to get sympathy or pity. I’m telling you this to prove a point. Unless you follow me on Instagram, you wouldn’t have even known until now. You know nothing about me that I don’t post, or that you don’t take the time to read. Just like some people who weren’t the ones involved in this whole mess with the alleged stalker/harasser storyline from the beginning , don’t know the whole story, yet they continue to chime in and condemn Travis based on what others have posted. Social media is a lot like watching the news now. You see the stories, or even parts of stories, that will get the most attention.

For the last two years, you have seen screenshots of DMs, conversations, Snapchats, etc, of what people want you to see. What you aren’t seeing is the full story. There are many apps or websites out there where you can make your own conversations up between two people on any format, take a screenshot, and it looks real. You can take any DM, text, whatever, straight from social media or your phone, and delete any part of the conversation. Suddenly it changes the whole context of the conversation. Same with videos of conversations. Unless it’s being recorded on video as it is actually happening, complete with face of person who is actually typing it while typing it, it means nothing. We have the full transcripts of each of those conversations and they have been handed over to the proper authorities by our legal team. The point I’m trying to make is that you see what people want you to see, and you draw your own conclusions from that. What you read makes you so mad that you have a knee-jerk reaction, and you pass your conclusion on to someone else, and they do the same, and they do the same, and along the way someone else adds their spin to it and so on and so on. By the time everything is said and done, Elvis is sipping rum runners on a beach in Hawaii with Michael Jackson and Kennedy’s shooter from the grassy knoll.

Last month the horrific shooting happened in Vegas and people started calling for stricter gun control laws, saying people are hiding behind their 2nd amendment rights. Ironically some of the people saying this (not all), are the same ones who hide behind their first amendment rights online. They post hateful or damaging misinformation on people without verifying, or rip people to shreds who disagree with them, all while hiding behind their keyboard.

What it all comes down to in the end, is freedom of speech, and how people choose to use it. I am a big proponent of free speech. We are an Air Force family.  My husband was active duty for 20 years.  He spent countless hours deployed overseas during that time, fighting for people like us to have that right. What I AM against, is people sharing the information they read on the internet, without verifying facts first.  Case in point….a few weeks ago the brilliant Tom Petty died. CBS News tweeted it at noon that day that he had died, when in fact he was only on life support. He didn’t actually die until almost midnight later the same day. People were posting and tweeting their condolences all day and he was still alive. I can’t imagine what that was like for the family on an already emotional day. Yesterday I received a DM on Instagram from “Instagram User,” which basically means they deactivated after they sent it, like a coward. It said “Go f&ck yourself. Go kill yourself. Your brother probably OD’d to get away from you.” Did it hurt me? I’m not going to lie, it hurt a little bit. But what hurt me the most is that someone would have that much hate in their heart to say that to anyone. I’m a 48 yr. old mom of 3 girls.  I have a strict military background, and have been social media manager through a huge hate fest the past 2-1/2 years. I’ve put up with all kinds of hate and multiple death threats over this.  As sad as it is to say, I’m actually used to this. But what about teenagers or people who aren’t as strong? How do they put up with this? Well, I checked. You know what? They don’t. According to Cyberbullyhotline.com, “3 million kids per month are absent from school due to bullying. 20% of kids cyberbullied think about suicide, and 1 in 10 attempt it. 4500 kids commit suicide each year. Suicide is the No. 3 killer of teens in the US..” This has got to stop!!!  What if one of these kids taking their own life is the child meant to cure cancer later in life or bring world peace?

Since everyone has decided to throw common courtesy out the window and chalk it up to freedom of speech, I feel we need more strict rules in place for social media; not just for kids, but for all ages. We should have to verify who we are to get an account, so we can get only one account.  We should not be able to have multiple accounts to pretend to be other people, or to use as backup if we get banned or blocked  from another one. Improve security on what we have already . Follow up on complaints of bullying.  Hire more people to accomplish it. Really ban people for doing anything bad.  Just do…..something.  Surely if we can put men in space, we can do something about this?  It can’t be that difficult.

Until this does happen though, we just need to stop creating drama where there isn’t any; stop focusing on and spreading so much negativity and hate in the world; and start spreading the good that is out there. Future generations are depending on it.

I’d like to propose a challenge. For every post/tweet you make (even about yourself), or any hateful comment you see, let’s also make a  positive one. There’s just too much hate everywhere already.  Let’s balance it out. #JustStop #OnlyLove – VMB