FENNO: Josh Morgan’s ill-timed play opens floodgate on threats

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The author’s biography indicated they’re pursuing a career in the ministry and appreciate the message in John 13:34: “Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.”

One tweet expressed the hope Morgan will be sexually assaulted. Another suggested Morgan jump off St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. Another fantasized about a future daughter of Morgan’s being forced to become a child sex worker. Another threatened to come to Morgan’s home and kill his dog. Another, endorsed by 80 gleeful retweets, compared Morgan to Washington’s past “crack epidemic.”

“I hope you lose your job, your house, your car, your jewelry, everything,” yet another person tweeted.

Do you think any of these ‘fans’ would have the courage to express similar sentiments to Morgan’s face?

The sleaze turns into a game of follow-the-leader. You know you can’t run faster or jump higher than Morgan. But someone sitting on their couch can convince themselves that they wouldn’t lose their cool as Morgan did, stoking indignation and, ironically, leading to the mass vitriol.

“It’s our identity as fans, experiencing the ‘we-ness,’” said Christian End, an associate psychology professor at Xavier University. “A lot of those initial responses were pretty hostile. When you see other people respond in that hostile way, it models to you aggression and models to you the way the group is feeling. So, you need to hop on board.”

None of that, of course, justifies what happened.

“[That’s] how the Internet talks,” one person wrote me.

Really? Like the repeated encouragement for Morgan to end his life?

‘GO KILL YOURSELF!’ ‘hang your self’ … ‘Kill yourself.’

If you’re so invested in a game that your knee-jerk reaction to a split-second mistake is to threaten someone’s life, to wish harm on their family between expletives, you’re the one with the problem. The one who really lost their cool. The one who needs help. Badly.

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