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April 03, 2018

Click-bait journalist falls into a real sticky spot.

Internet Justice?

Internet justice is served! Bethman Middle School 8th-grader Matt Reynard took to the web this week to EPICALLY shut down his classmate’s online bigotry. YASSS Matt! Matt served up a heaping serving of truth sauce when he ripped his classmate, Randall Reeves, on his racist jokes and retrogressive ideas on Black Lives Matter and DACA. Stay woke Matt! Our internet bad-ass of the week methodically mocked and ridiculed his peer in excruciating detail on every form of social media over the course of several weeks with truly time-consuming regularity. Hats off to you Matt… but that seems a little extreme.

Nonetheless, Matt has kept fighting the good fight, reaching Randall on every form of social media. Winning! Matt picked apart every little thing about his classmates ideas and personality.Never letting up for so much as a day or skipping a pre-breakfast blast of digital vitriol, Matt meticulously picked apart Randall on the Internet, harassing him day and night with demeaning messages tailored to Randall’s biggest insecurities.

Okay. That definitely seems like a bit much. But can we at least say that Randall hasn’t spoken up about his antiquated views on racial equality since?

In fact, Randall hasn’t spoken to anyone at all as far as we can tell. He seems to be avoiding any web-connected device since, night after night, Matt message-blasts his nemesis right around bedtime in hope that Randall’s phone would light up with another demoralizing text. In fact, we’re a little concerned about the whole thing. No single remark quite constitutes a legal threat, but it’s hard not to see it a personal attack. Collectively Matt’s unrelenting and viciously specific attack on his classmate’s looks,intelligence, family, and romantic prospects can only be described as a digital scorched-earth campaign.

Is Matt the next up-and-coming social justice hero? We’re actually not sure. That’s supposed to be the grabby headline, but some of these Facebook comments really seem to cross a line now that we’re looking at them. At least one thing’s for sure, Randall’s going to think twice before he speaks after being called a “backwards inbred Putin-fondling son a­­­­–”. Oh boy.

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One of countless similar text threads Matt shared publicly.

Okay, we really aren’t sure how to spin this. Sure, Matt completely shut down Randall’s tasteless comments (Yasss?). But the ruthless bullying has Randall in a really dark place. Just yesterday he asked his mother about moving school districts. I mean, this is really a no-doubts-about-it textbook case of cyber bullying.

No really, how do we even present this to our boss? I guess you could frame it by saying the ends justify the means, and Randall needed to be taught a lesson to stop his hurtful opinions. But these are basically kids we are talking about. And I’m no psychologist but I think Randall has been traumatized by this whole experience.

Or maybe we could sort of compartmentalize the whole thing into separate pieces. On the one hand, Matt scores for a good cause. Yay! And on the other, the whole episode is a warning about the dangers of cyber bullying. That sounds okay at first, but really it’s impossible to even bring up Matt’s digital bazooka-fire without thinking that somebody has to put an end to this.

Honestly, this was supposed to be a rush template-piece our editor wanted out by tomorrow to razz up some feel-good clicks, but we’re legitimately concerned for Randall, who now showers four times a day and has stopped eating all his favorite foods. But our boss has been barking for an upbeat piece about online justice. And my lease renewal is right around the corner, and my girlfriend’s parents already think I’m a loser. This is really a bind. How about this, I leave an anonymous tip with the school principal and send in the draft for someone else to figure out?