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Reckless twitting is everywhere these days, but with the help of Spike Lee and Roseanne Barr, it went from just ‘reckless’ to out of control – to the point that lives are being endangered.
Just as Spike Lee was apologizing for giving out the wrong address of George Zimmerman, Roseanne Barr tweeted to her 110,000 followers the correct address of where Zimmerman resides.
George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old resident of Sanford, Florida on February 26. The story quickly received national attention after allegations that Zimmerman shot Martin based on racism arose. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin on the grounds of self-defense, based under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
Marcus Higgins, a Los Angeles man, who is a Twitter follower of Spike Lee, tweeted to celebrities Will Smith, Lebron James and Lee the address that he thought was Zimmerman’s. Lee was the only one who acted upon his follower’s tweet and then followed up with putting it on his own Twitter, where approximately 250,000 of Lee’s followers had access to.
However, the address put all over the internet was not in fact Zimmerman’s residence but instead the home of Elaine and David McClain, an elderly couple in their seventies. After receiving hate mail and death threats from people across the nation, the McClain’s were moved to a hotel in an undisclosed location for protection purposes. Lee has publicly apologized to the couple and in desperation to regain a positive image to his fans, Lee wants to reach a financial settlement with the couple.
But just when the hype surrounding Spike Lee was dying down, enter comedian Roseanne Barr. On March 29, Barr tweeted the correct address of George Zimmerman and his parents, Robert and Gladys. Barr quickly deleted her post but remarked that, “it was good to let people know that they can’t hide anymore.”
Still, several of Barr’s followers re-tweeted her original post giving out the Zimmerman’s phone number and address as well as divulging the contact information of Joseph Oliver, who has been making recent public appearances as close friend and supporter of Zimmerman. Barr might face charges for her actions after violating Twitter’s rules and regulations: Never give out someone else’s confidential or contact information.
While Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense, the 16-year-old girl who was the last to talk to Martin before his death, has a very different story. The young girl reported according to ABC News, that “Martin was on the phone with her when George Zimmerman began following him.
She recounted that she told Martin to run, then she heard some pushing, then the line went dead.” Police found no weapons on Martin and in his pockets were only a bag of skittles and an iced tea.
“Zimmerman violated major principles of the Neighborhood Watch manual, which states, ‘it should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers, and they shall not carry weapons.’”
As the Twitter frenzy continues to escalate, an online petition wanting Zimmerman arrested has been created. Thus far, over 90,000 people have signed it. According to change.org, “it is the fastest growing petition in internet history.”
Jason Whitlock, a FOX News Sports Writer, is calling Zimmerman, “the new O.J.,” and “a gun-toting vigilante with a sketchy background as the victim.”
Since the petition, media attention, the divulgence of personal information via Twitter, death threats against Zimmerman and the endangerment of innocent civilians’ lives, Zimmerman has decided to get a lawyer and will be represented by Craig Sonner. Attorney Benjamin Crump will be representing the Martin family as more of the case is exposed and if it goes to trial.
Yet, the biggest question still remains, how differently would this case have been handled if it weren’t for the reckless tweeting of Spike Lee, Roseanne Barr and all of their twitter followers? Unfortunately for the families and friends so deeply impacted, that question will forever go unanswered.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/calvinfleming/