A website’s account of Halloween mischief on Gerritsen Beach has caused a stir in the close-knit neighborhood — but some residents are angrier at the blogger than the egg-tossing hooligans he covered.
Stunned by the villainy exhibited by local teens on Sunday afternoon as they used eggs, potatoes, rocks, and shaving cream to attack a city bus, passing cars, and residents — even new moms and their babies — Gerritsenbeach.net creator Daniel Cavanagh took more than 100 photos of the teens and posted them on his site.
As a resident who actually knew some of the teens involved, he then posted information from their own Facebook pages to augment his coverage.
Not so shockingly, the teens had already documented their own destructive plans — and even bragged about their misdeeds.
“Bombing … hitting cop cars … broke 2 bus truck windows,” 15-year-old Michael Guiseppone wrote on his Facebook page that afternoon, which Cavanagh reposted on his blog.
Other posters on the social networking site appeared to be relatives of the hooligans checking in on them.
“Have fun but please be careful … there’s a lot of cops out!” Michelle Knobloch Guiseppone said in a comment to her son’s Facebook post, also reported Cavanagh.
Cavanagh’s posting sparked a firestorm of Internet chatter, with more than 300 comments coming to the neighborhood blog in a matter of hours.
Some commentators, however, said Cavanagh coverage crossed a line.
“I do not think it is right that these kids Facebook page status and such are being posted. THEY ARE ALL MINORS!,” wrote one. “Everyone in Gerritsen Beach knows what happens on Halloween. There is no need to embarrass the parents of these kids. The ‘editor’ of this ‘website’ really needs to get a life instead of making other peoples lives miserable by embarrassing them.”
Others weren’t so understanding.
“Stop concerning yourself with these kids being made to face consequences because they broke the law in public and now are being called on it,” wrote another, who identified herself as Gerritsen Girl. “We have raised a generation of disrespectful morons who have an intense sense of entitlement and feel they should be able to do whatever they want without consequences.”
Even the person claiming to be Guiseppone’s mother got in on the Internet chatter, chastising and supporting the teen at the same time.
“YES I did let him go bombing like every other kid in GB!” she wrote. “And YES I did tell him to have fun and watch out for cops! This has been going on for years in GB. I allowed eggs and shaving cream. This DID NOT include rocks or potatoes! I am disgusted with this behavior myself and as soon as I heard what was going on I went and picked him up myself.”
Despite the onslaught of comments, Cavanagh believes his decision is legally and morally justified. He took the pictures on a public street, he said, adding that Facebook pages are also part of the public domain, even though one has to “friend” the user to view the comments.
Each year, Cavanagh says he tries to promote both the good (kids trick-or-treating, colorful costumes) and the bad (egging or, as its known in the neighborhood, “bombing”). This year, there was far too much bombing and someone had to be held accountable, Cavanagh said, although he makes it clear in his post that none of the kids pictured have been implicated or charged in the mischief.
Cavanagh added that he, as well as some of his family, have been approached outside the blogsphere by outraged parents, demanding the pictures and Facebook pages are taken off the site.
“I’m standing by my decision,” Cavanagh said. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and I’m not incriminating any of them.”
But the cops may be incriminating these kids soon. According to police sources, investigators are tracking down the Facebook pages Cavanagh posted to see if there’s enough evidence to charge the teens with a crime.
“We have someone looking into it,” a police source said.
©2010 Community News Group
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