Lake Wylie, South Carolina Social Networking was a different concept when I was a young man. It consisted of cruising around in cars between two or three different parking lots, and hanging out with the groups assembled there. From McDonald’s, to the Square, to the park, and back again in a big circle. The goal was to find out what was happening tonight, and hear all the gossip about what happened last night. Kid’s stuff. We didn’t realize how good we had it. We could chat about events, come and go, and never leave a lasting trail.
My, how things have changed. My dumbass perpetrator of the day is a young man who uses the current digital equivalent of cruising – Facebook. And although my wild-oats exploits may not have been available to as vast an audience as I might have wished, they weren’t available for the cops either.
Jason Isbell is not a one time fuck up. His current troubles are related to an episode he had a couple of years ago. Jason was allegedly driving drunk. He wrecked his Jeep. He killed his friend. Sound like anyone else we know? He was charged at the time with felony DUI causing death and reckless homicide, for the death of Travis Pettus. He was released on bond.
Now these bond thingies come with some restrictions. There are conditions you have to follow to be given the privilege to walk around among society, instead of waiting for your court date in the county clink. It works out for both sides. You get to masturbate in the privacy of your own bedroom, and the jailers don’t have to put up with your spoiled ass. One of the restrictions is that you don’t leave the state without written consent from the courts. It’s a basic restraint – they don’t want you running off to say, Florida, and then have to spend air-fare and overtime wages for the cops that drag your skanky self back for trial.
Now this doesn’t mean the rule isn’t bent from time to time. If you run over to the neighboring state to hook up with an old friend for the week-end, who is the wiser? Right? Well, no one, unless you go posting your exploits all over the internet.
Travis Pettus’ parents kept Travis’ Facebook account open after his passing. It was a place that Travis’ friends could leave messages of condolence, and give memorial to the young life that was taken. They went there to mourn their son, and to help ease their sense of loss. But along with the posts for Travis, they could also see the posts made by his friends. Including those made by Isbell. And when they saw he had traveled to the state of Tennessee for Spring break, well you just know they went ballistic. They took this information to the law.
“Spring break pictures of the defendant in Tennessee and photographs of the defendant at a bar where he appeared to be drinking,” said 16th District Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson. “Those violations of the bond amount to something that was necessary for us to then bring it to the court’s attention and ask for more strict control of what he’s doing now,” Thompson said.
And the court did just that. He had been out on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond, due in part to injuries he also suffered in the crash. The judge modified that to a $100,000 cash/surety that includes house arrest with electronic GPS monitoring, and an order not to drink or leave the state. Life for this incorrigible party-guy just incurred another bummer. How is he going to be a bangin’ party beast while chillin’ with an ankle bracelet? This little stunt might also be held against him when his trial begins in just a few weeks.
I guess the lesson here kids is to have some common fucking sense about what you throw up into the internet cloud. If you have slipped out of state on a clandestine mission to party till the sun comes up, and you are out on bond, on probation, or are otherwise involved with the authorities, keep that shit to yourself. Contrary to the prevailing belief, it is not necessary to post pics of yourself doing beer bongs. Believe me – no one really cares anyway.
As DDS Thompson pointed out when interviewed, cops are looking at Facebook all the time. Especially accounts for perps they have busted. “”They’ve done raps about a crime they’ve committed. Some have even placed video of what they’ve done on Facebook and got caught. So there’s any number of ways that people mess up by throwing their lives on Facebook,” Thompson said.