John Ostrowski

The latest trend in society is to lay all blame on inanimate and objectively neutral things. For instance, Morgan Spurlock’s propaganda fest Super-Size Me and the lawsuits against fast-food companies are indicative of the national trend shirking the traditional concept of personal responsibility for the easier and less responsible notion that personal problems are undoubtedly society’s problem and therefore the burden for solving them should fall on society. Another example of this epidemic of stupidity would be lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

Much of the time, the objects at the center of the question are morally neutral, as many inanimate objects are–a cheeseburger, a gun, a cigarette. Calls for banning these things are illogical at best, as they all have legitimate uses and their use only results in morally evil actions when the actor himself poses morally evil intentions (and acts on such). Yet the idiocy continues, this time with the popular social networking Web Site

This time, a 14-year-old Texas girl and her mother are suing MySpace and 19-year-old Pete Solis because the girl was sexually assaulted by Solis after the two interacted on MySpace. The lawsuit is asking for $30 million from the News Corp.-owned company and cites the Web site’s seemingly unenforceable policy that strangers older than 16 may not contact users under 14 and that users must be 14 years old to create a profile.

The 14-year-old was first contacted by Solis in April. Then, after the two exchanged e-mails and phone calls throughout May, Solis picked the girl up at her school and proceeded to sexually assault her at an apartment later that day.

The case is a sad one to hear and, unfortunately, is similar to other occurrences on MySpace. In both Connecticut and Wisconsin, men in their 20s have been charged with sexually assaulting young teenagers. Less than a month ago a 16-year-old was intercepted by U.S. authorities in Jordan en route to rendezvousing with a 20-year-old in Israel.

Sadly, these are only a few of the many cases involving MySpace or sexual predators. However, the fact that MySpace and other social networking sites have proven ideal hunting grounds for sexual predators does not mean that individual members of society can shirk responsibility for unfortunate situations they find themselves in.

The fact remains that MySpace itself is not intrinsically evil. Yes, there is the potential for evil in the site, but there is also the potential for good. So a lawsuit alleging that MySpace did not adequately protect users misplaces blame, just like lawsuit against gun-manufacturers and fast-food companies misplace blame.

John Ostrowski

John Ostrowski is a former intern. He is currently a senior at University of Illinois.

Be the first to read John Ostrowski's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox. Sign up today!