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The cyber-lynching of David Motari

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David Motari is a US Marine who allegedly appeared in a video that was posted on YouTube. The clip showed a US serviceman throw a puppy over a cliff or gulley. I am not going to go into the rights and wrongs of this incident or whether the video is a fake, but was facinated and disturbed by the public reaction online.

There was an online groundswell that condemned his actions. A quick Google search showed how many people then researched and published personal details about Motari, his spouse, his friends and family. They listed two telephone numbers with different area codes for him and provided an address in Monroe, Washington State.

Screen shots were taken of his Bebo profile that had a nice picture making him easy to identify. They researched his customised Honda Civic and listed the Hawaii registration number of his vehicle.

They posted his wife’s social network details and that of his sister, these also included pictures. The online mob had spoken and they wanted punishment meted out to Motari, before the military authorities had a chance to respond and investigate adequately.

My efforts to get on to the two domains ( and used by the US Marines to see how they were handling the online reputational aspect of this event was fruitless as the sites seemed to be overwhelmed with traffic (or taken down to prevent hacktivism).

Thinking about the incident and the response, gave me some questions to mull on:

  • What happens if its not a puppy in the future but, instead say someone is accused of killing a child? For instance, the IHT recently had a report about an investigation of a marine who had been accused of raping a 14 year old girl on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa – charges had since been withdrawn
  • How far will the online lynch mobs go?
  • Are the people publishing details like those of the Motari family inciting a third-party to commit an assault or worse?

I get the sense that we (online users in western society) entered moral territory that we don’t understand the full impact of yet.

We have yet to wrestle with the great individual and collective responsibility that comes with having access to the internet and all its services. At the moment too many people treat the web as a playground and it concerns me that stupid and senseless acts may happen before this lesson is widely learned.

Some links to provide a bit of background on this story:

  • A sample blog posting in praise of the cyber mob – “But let this be a lesson – if you piss off nerds on the Internet, they not only won’t care if the infractions were legitimate or not, but they’ll make your life a bitch and half. Vigilante justice for the win!” This is just one of many reactions.
  • The link on Digg with over 3,500 comments at the time of writing
  • The 300 news stories that Google News found on the incident

5 replies on “The cyber-lynching of David Motari”

The sonuvabytch needs to be lynched.

“Allegedly appeared in a video”, my ass.
The jackhole already apologized, blaming his psychopathy on combat stress.


A letter to everyone
Category: Life

When my mom found out about the MySpace, she encouraged me to write this letter so here it is.

I would like to begin by saying I am whole heartedly sorry for what I did to that animal. No creature big or small, smart or dumb deserves to feel the way it did in its last moments. I’ve spent the majority of the day in the company of my superiors. The next few days are going to be very difficult for me but I am not asking for your sympathy.

The hardest part about this is the numerous threats that my family has received and this is what I feel the most awful for. Never did I think the events of that day would result in such heartache. My wife Jessica was especially hurt when she saw the video. The reason for that being that she is not only an animal lover but a dog owner. All I can say is I’m sorry and I love you Babe.

In the field life loses it’s value when you see death every day. For those of you who are angry at me for laughing at the dog’s death, you have a right to. I enjoyed it. I didn’t think twice about it. Now I see the error in my ways.

I’d like to thank the numerous people who have understood what is going on and have offered their advice and their kind words in this difficult situation. And for the ones who are angry at me, you have a right to be. All I ask is that you leave my family out of this. What I did was my choice and my choice alone.

Finally, I want to state for the record, not blame the Corps for my actions. The Corps is a great organization and should not be held responsible for one individual.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to hear my side,
-David Andrew Motari

I don’t think throwing you off a cliff is good enough. I’d give my lifetime income to see someone push you out of an airplane flying as high as one can fly and without a parachute so you can feel that terror as he plummets to the ground. And, should you survive, you should be pushed and pushed again until you die of terror.

Yes, it is frightening about the internet lynch mob. I’m sorry to say I hate him and what he did and can’t imagine his thinking. A PUPPY! His letter is pathetic. Thanks, Mom, for guiding him to write it. Too late. Screwed up big time. I consider him damaged goods, not to be trusted with any helpless animal or child ever. Sick. Just sick and unintended consequences hurt everyone.

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