Tuesday, October 25, 2005

final thought on myspace

The Cape Gazette picked up the WGMD story on myspace.com --, I'd hoped to see some news outlet deliver the goods -- to lend credence to the fact that it is not just Gaffney and Crew making a big deal out of nothing. Personally, I hope to see some of these kids be made an example out of... After a little poking around, You can see that some of these kids, especially the Nazi guy, had criminal records. In fact, two Milton teens were just arrested on b & e charges, and the theft of firearms. Upon poking around on some of their sites -- a lot of them have been changed to reflect a cleaner lifestyle, virtually turning myspace into a house of lies. Well, the behavior hasn't stopped, and the damage has been done. Arrest these fools on Conspiracy and Terroristic Threats. That may sound a little harsh, but, I don't mind being unforgiving when it comes the stupidity of youth. Maybe it's because I was a particularly bright kid, never to be found smoking pot at the skate ramps. I applaud Mr. Gaffney in his actions and wish all the best to he and his family. And now you know.... The rest of the story.

WGMD radio host receives threats from students
By Jim Westhoff
Cape Gazette staff

After discussing student web pages on his morning radio show, a local radio host says he has received emailed threats from area high school students.

At least two emails to talk-show host Dan Gaffney show unidentified young people wearing bandannas and pointing guns.

Delaware State Police said its hi-tech crimes unit is investigating the alleged threats.
Gaffney, general manager and program manager at WGMD 92.7 FM, discussed myspace.com on his Oct. 20 morning show. On the air, he told listeners that Cape Henlopen High School students have posted personal web pages that he finds alarming.

“Off the air, I happened to be reading the site and was concerned about a couple of the kids,” Gaffney said.

“They were talking about being depressed, that their life sucked and they had a gun. I emailed the school and said ‘I’m not a professional here, but this is something you might want to take a look at it.’

“The school took it seriously and looked into it. Then the school approached us to make public comment about it. That’s how it became public Thursday on my show.”

On Oct. 22-23, following the show, Gaffney said he received several emails from students who were upset by his comments.

One student sent a photo of himself wearing sunglasses, a bandanna over his face, pointing gun at the camera, with a caption that reads, “Hey Gaffney, Screw You.”

Another photo has a student also wearing a bandanna and holding what appears to be a small submachine gun.

On their websites, the students have profiles identifying them as students at Cape Henlopen High School.

“Those are two of several,” Gaffney said.

Cpl. Jeff Oldham, state police spokesman, said the photos may result in felony charges. “[Gaffney] could classify as a victim of terroristic threatening and that is also being looked into,” he said. “Arrests could be made.”

Another student, a 17-year-old girl from Lewes, has an online journal that rails against Gaffney. “I dunno about you guys, but I think this is f***in nuts, and somebody needs to shut him up,” the journal reads.

School board Vice President Gary Wray said the school has taken swift action in response to the websites.

“Superintendent George Stone sent a letter to the parents asking parents to monitor the websites,” Wray said. “He listed the websites in his letter. It will go out to every high school and middle school parent.”

While the school is working to make sure the students are safe, this is a matter that should be addressed at home, Wray said. “The parents have to show some initiative here too,” he said. “These are their kids. At the school, there is only so much we can do.”

High School Principal Ed Waples said the web sites are a serious matter.

“We investigated the situation and looked into it to ensure that things were safe, and that the students are not in any danger, or that they are not a danger to anyone else.”

Because of student confidentiality concerns, Waples could not say what action, if any, was taken against the individual students. “I can say that we’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of students and staff at Cape Henlopen High School,” Waples said.

Superintendent George Stone said he is concerned for the safety of the kids on these websites. “After talking with law enforcement, we understand that a lot of convicted sex offenders frequent these sites,” he said.

“So the kids may be communicating with people they don’t even know. They can be putting themselves in dangerous situations. They might think they are just communicating with their friends on some kind of private network, but that is simply not the case with anything on the internet.”

Stone said the letter is meant to make parents more aware of what their children are doing online. “We just want parents to be involved, and be able to check for themselves and be sure they are aware of what their kids are doing,” Stone said.

“’Myspace’ is supposed to be like an online journal,” said Molly Lingo, the Student Government Association president. “People are saying it’s a way to meet people, but I don’t have one because I think it’s a little shady. I don’t think you should put your pictures and personal information all
over the internet.”

She said some students are angry at Gaffney because they feel he has intruded on their privacy.
“I guess they think that someone is trying to revoke their freedom. They’re just throwing a fit,” she said.

Lingo said some parents need to take drastic steps. “I think they should take away their internet privileges if they are going to abuse it by going on myspace.”

To view the student websites, go to www.myspace.com, click on the search icon and do a classmate search, listing Cape Henlopen High school and current students. At press time, there were about 183 student web pages on myspace.com.

The vast majority of the sites appear innocuous, listing hobbies as riding four wheelers, or going to football games.


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