Alicia Ann Lynch did something really fucking dumb. On Halloween, the 22-year-old from Michigan tweeted and instagrammed a photo of herself in costume as a Boston Marathon bombing victim. Ouch.
She made a mistake; a damn big mistake. Then, she posted that mistake on the Internet, making it into the biggest mistake of her short life*. Angry Internet people made short work of tracking her down and emailing, calling, and threatening her and her family.
Since then, Lynch has experienced the very worst of what the Internet has to offer:
“I’ve had voicemails where they want to slit my throat and they want to hang me and tear off my face,” she said. “I’m just like, I don’t even know how to respond to this right now.”
The 22-year-old added that strangers also reached out to her parents and told her best friend “they’re going to blow up her house and hang her child.”
“I’m like, how is that even right? She didn’t know what I was doing. My family didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t live with them. And they’re all getting dragged into this for something I did.”
Though Lynch seems able to let most of the threats slide down her back, some in particular affect her — namely, the ones having to do with rape, an experience she tearily described undergoing last Thanksgiving.
“When people bring up the rape stuff it kind of hits a spot, but I don’t show it. I’m over it, but it’s something that I would never, ever wish upon someone no matter what they had done. They can dress however they want.”
As dumb, immature, and hurtful as Lynch's costume was, the threats are even more repugnant. Responding to something awful with something even more awful is a shit way to honor the people who lost their lives in Boston. This woman no longer has a job and is having her dirty laundry aired publicly (both fair, IMO), but randoms on the Internet coming at her with such vitriol is reflective of the problem, not the solution.
Lynch has half-heartedly apologized, and here's hoping she be able to one day fully understand why it was so fucked up. My guess is that only time, life experience, and copious amounts of real talk from people she respects will get her to that place.
On the other hand, threatening to murder and rape a young woman for fucking up is not bringing her any closer to realizing the fault of her ways. But, really, that's not what most of these people want. Lynch's (admittedly weak) apology was never going to appease them.
Proposing punishment by rape and murder couldn't be more antithetical to the light and love flooding Boston after the marathon. Those venomous cries for vigilante "justice" come from a dark, ugly place. And yeah, threatening to rape someone for wearing a costume is just really really shitty — and it's doubly ironic because the person wearing the costume was not sensitive enough to violence.
*Hell, I'm terrified to think of what might be found if the Internet found footage of me making terrible choices at 22*.
**Actually, I was mainly eating snacks and watching ANTM. Come at me, Internet.