Spurned lovers are America's most prolific killers. They shoot, stab, poison. They hire contract killers. They stalk ex-lovers and ex-spouses. They make threatening calls in the night. They leave long scratches in the cars of the object of their anger. They can be relentless in their want for revenge.
So why wouldn't we suspect that ex lovers are taking advantage of a non-lethal but ruinous method of revenge. All it takes is a few key strokes on the home computer and there goes that cheating son-of-a-something's fine reputation.
It ought to give cause to employers, who have been quick to fire their professional workers for posting untoward photos and unseemly remarks on MySpace and FaceBook.
Last year, a middle school teacher in Warren, Ohio, was fired when his nude photo was posted on what was purported to be his MySpace page. He called the local police and complained that "his" webpage was a fraud. The teacher, at the time, happened to be in the midst of a bitter divorce. A few days after his unsavory MySpace page appeared, a woman appeared at a local Irish pub and stapled the same nude photo featured on the website on the tavern wall.
That would seem to lend credence to his claim. But the school board decided that he was still at fault. " . . .the graphic nature of the nude photographs and the fact that students have been significantly impacted by, have seen or are aware of the nude photographs has undermined the teacher's ability to return to the classroom and be an effective teacher."
The very next day, in Hermitage, Pa., high school principal Eric W. Trosch filed a lawsuit against three students he claimed had created a four fake Eric W. Trosch MySpace pages that included the principal bragging that he had smoked pot, drank beer at school and like to have violent sex with his students. Trosch claimed that the students had damaged his reputation and affected his earning capacity.
I suspect that principals must be the most frequent victims of fraudulent and damaging webpages. Though they're outnumbered by potential victims in the category of anyone who happens to have an angry ex-lover with a computer.