There's a Denton Twitter account that posts pictures of all the people being arrested in town. I won't link to it because it's pretty easy to find, but this shit can be highly entertaining. People often retweet particularly hideous mugshots with mean comments. It's all in good fun.
Over a beer the other day, a lovely friend reminded me that these are people on their worst day, and I am laughing at them. This made me feel like a complete mean girl piece of shit. He was right; I'm getting pleasure out of someone else's misery. He also added that this could easily be any one of us if caught on the wrong day; let a speeding ticket lapse, look sideways at a cop, or be suspicious looking and your ass is in the pokey. And a thing that he didn't remind me, but needs reiterating is that these people HAVE NOT BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME. They have just been arrested.
Most recently, one of my friends on Facebook posted that when she is having a bad day, she feels better knowing that she is not *insert name of notoriously always in the hoosegow for a variety of reasons lady.* I almost called her out, but I know that Facebook isn't the place for that. I know that, like me, she probably didn't think of this as mean, but in good fun.
It's weird, because I have to balance my belief as a librarian that information should be open, with my equally held belief that people have a right to privacy and this one is a tough one. I know that from now on, I am going to act with more empathy and not ridicule those that are in one of the worst moments of their life.
I do want to thank my friend for calling me out on this behavior. It wasn't good to hear, but I know that it will make me a better person in the long run. I encourage any one of my other friends who sees my shitty behavior to call me out as well.
It's not cute, it's not funny and it doesn't make you a better person.