Yesterday, Mark posted a disturbing video of a middle-aged woman petting a cat and then throwing it—alive—into a trash bin. Mark today posted an update that she's now under police protection. What hasn't been talked about yet on Boing Boing is what happened between those two posts. 4chan happened.
Often dismissed as little more than a gang of anonymous bullies, there is some truth to the notion that the site is simultaneously the best and worst of the internet, and that when they put their collective minds together, there is no stopping them. Sometimes they dun goof up, other times they emerge as victorious white knights on a quest from Ceiling Cat.
Almost immediately after the video started making the internet rounds yesterday, the 4chan legion set out to find this woman and destroy her life.
I don't know exactly how long it took, but within a few hours she was identified as Mary Bale, 50, of Coventry (England).
But there's more: they also found out where she worked. They posted the phone number and name of her boss. They found out where she lived, and posted a Google map of that address. They found her Facebook profile.
And because of what some suggested should be done with this info, the local police stepped in and helped her hide.
Probably not a bad idea.
This isn't the first time 4chan has come to the defense of a cat seen being tortured in a web video.
Early last year they tracked down 15 year old Kenny Glenn who posted a video in which he called himself "The Animal Abuser," then beat the crap out of the family cat Dusty.
The authorities stepped in then, too, but only to rescue Dusty the cat. They left Kenny for his parents to deal with.
All this from one video!
One lesson here is that people can pretty much find out anything they want to about anyone these days.
But the greater lesson is that Anonymous loves cats, and if you mess with cats in their neighborhood (that would be the whole wide web, duh) they will find you.
And as for this incident with Lola the trashed cat?
For those who don't know, this is reference to my last post -