Saturday, January 7, 2012

Internet Investigating

I am back, and with a different concept to consider.

I got to thinking today, and I thought..when exactly is any typical citizen's investigating a crime, on an active investigation considered going too far?

Well, I imagine the best advice would come from LE themselves, however I'm not in the mood to ask any LE officer anything, so I suppose as my own perspective I will give it a go.

As a citizen, I hear of a crime that has been committed, and I hear pleas from both the family of the victim as well as LE come across the televsion saying things like, "we are asking for the publics assistance in locating (such and such) person, if you have anything to offer, no matter how insignificant it may seem, we ask that you call it into the tip line at 000-000-0000". Well that's a pretty generalized request. Very broad, and then you have well nearly instantly millions of people globally..automatically interested, automatically their concern kicks into gear, and within 24 hrs, about a quarter to pushing a half, are ready, geared up, and at a moments notice upon the next nightly news cast, propped at their pc's, looking into and looking up details to begin working on.
Do the Police even realize they had no need to work at compassion? Believe it or not, that is naturally built into most people.

So with the many clicks, happening in 24hrs time, from the get go, the chances of that criminal having a 24hr jump for each day since the case has begun, is not that far fetched. Especially if you consider the time it takes to get through distortions, nonsense and game play.

However, lets bring about another aspect.

When does internet investigations become too much of a negative impact on open investigations...
I mean...come on now, there's a itty-bitty police officer in all of us. There are alot of Nancy Drew's and Sherlock Holmes wanna-be's out there. Then of course you have your T.J. Hookers and even your break bad Steven Segall's out there as well. Everyone, has a little cop about them. The difference is, that's the movies...this is real life. This is someone's real family impacted, this is someone's real pride and joy, this is someone's daughter or son, or mother or father, or sister or brother. This is someone's real life tragedy.
They don't get to forget and move on, they don't get to turn the channel when the going gets tough, and they often don't get to wake up crying then go back to sleep as if it's a bad nightmare they just need to shake off.
They never get to stop crying at all!
Many of these families, one of their biggest resources can be the internet, they too must utilize what they can, to get the word out as fast as they can, even in this risky internet world. Taking on this task can be too much for someone who is not grieving and suffering, imagine what it must be like for someone who is.

Alot of the time, some of the most well intentioned folks, with some of the biggest hearts can find themselves, not knowing the torments and impacts their words may come baring down on a grieving family, but then there are some that come right out, say hateful dispicable things knowing good and well they are saying them to a grieving family.

The negative impact internet investigations can have on an open investigation, can be simply too many chiefs and not enough indians. When too many people decide, believe or attempt to be, know or do police work.
Innocently enough, yeah, I suppose I'd nearly crossed that line a couple of times myself. But so many do cross it. Best intentions or not it can leave devastating results to an already hurting family. So if you are gonna go digging around in someone's personal family tragedy, take into consideration of what the family requests. Take into consideration their pain, their suffering and their grieving process. It is never the point to be the one to solve the case, it is the point that the case does see its day in court, and justice is served the right way. Helping is not a bad thing, it certainly isn't, but there is a right way, and a wrong way to help.

Remember, the entire time it takes to form lynch mobs, cause distractions, spread rumors, create theories, and bicker amongst eachother, there is just one, just one person out there that has that one piece of information, that may want or need to get it to LE, but can't or won't because of all the unnecessary chaos.
Inevitably we've all done what we didn't want to see happen in the first place..a family suffer more than they needed too, and/or another case gone cold.

This state has a hard enough time solving its cases. And for the record, yes, I'm hoping I will have to eat those words one day, I would love to see Virginia solving Missing/Murdered cases. On that day we will know what it means to feel safe in Virginia.

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