Jeff Atwood blogged yesterday about the emotional abuse people heap on others over the Internet:
I admired the way Stephanie Wittels Wachs actually engaged with the person who left that awful comment. This is a man who has two children of his own, and should be no stranger to the kind of pain involved in a child's death. And yet he felt the need to post the word "Junkie" in reply to a mother's anguish over losing her child to drug addiction.
Isn’t this what empathy is? Putting myself in someone else’s shoes with the knowledge and awareness that I, too, am human and, therefore, susceptible to this tragedy or any number of tragedies along the way?
Most would simply delete the comment, block the user, and walk away. Totally defensible. But she didn't. She takes the time and effort to attempt to understand this person who is abusing her mother, to reach them, to connect, to demonstrate the very empathy this man appears incapable of.
As one Twitter user said, "falling in love, breaking into a bank, bringing down the govt…they all look the same right now: they look like typing."