Here in my hometown of Lakeland, Florida, the headline taking over the front page of the paper concerns the vicious beating of Victoria Lindsay. Lindsay is a teenager with a MySpace page. Something that she put on her MySpace page, what exactly I haven’t managed to find out, triggered eight of her fellow students to take violent action. Six girls aged 14 to 17 and two boys of 16 and 18 years attacked Lindsay at the house of one of them, where Lindsay was staying after a falling-out with her parents. The six girls spent about thirty minutes beating Lindsay, while the two boys kept lookout against them being interrupted. They then put the wounded girl in a car and drove her around Lakeland while threatening her with more bodily harm if she tried to squeal on them. Lindsay had a concussion, eye injuries, and lacerations from the beating. The teenage attackers are all charged with kidnapping, and various are charged with battery and witness tampering. They are being tried as adults, so they can all collect life sentences for the kidnapping charge.
Oh, I forgot to mention… the girls videotaped the beating to release it on MySpace. I’m not sure how exactly they thought that they would escape consequences in this affair, or even whether they gave much consideration to consequences other then trying to threaten Lindsay some more.
William Golding had to place his youngsters descending into tribalism and violence in an artificial setting of a remote island to make his fictional account have that ability for the reader to suspend disbelief. (Though I have to admit that encountering that book at age ten myself I wasn’t all that discriminating on such issues.) It seems that the alienation Golding established by physical distance from other sources of civilization has been achieved with no physical distance required at all in real life.