With Friends Like These

This week I started a secondary blog to post some of my papers and things to try and keep my formal writing sharp. I don’t think that sort of thing would really fit here since it’s been more personal and all over the place and I just don’t dig that kind of chaos.

But one of the first papers I dusted off and pulled out of my files was some old speech on the dangers of the internet, which I thought was kind of cute.

Only it’s kind of not. It’s still, in its way, one of those things that’s relevant and that I think people probably need reminding of. To be careful online. To be aware.

I’d like to sit here and pretend we’re all very much aware of how to protect ourselves from creeps online, but I think it’s just as easy to get swept up in a fun conversation or someone who seems sympathetic.

It happened to my father recently.

I’m not supposed to know – he’s ashamed. As I think a lot of us would be.

But my father lives alone, in a different state, with no family nearby. I’ve asked him to let me move him, but he won’t, and he won’t get involved with veteran’s groups or something to keep him busy. He’s 100% disabled, but the VA doesn’t do much either. So, he’s just…floating.

And someone found him online, and feigned interest, acted as if they wanted to be his girlfriend until he started giving them money. Now he’s broke. And still lonely. And embarrassed.

He doesn’t want me to know because he’s afraid it makes him look weak. That it makes him look old. That I’ll “lock him up” (I just want him to live in a 55+ community near a VA hospital, but he thinks that’s the same as an asylum).

So, I guess I’ll figure all that out later, and for right now I’ll say this: We’re all here online, taking part in a community. We enjoy it. We benefit from it. Just be aware, because there are lowlifes everywhere.


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