The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Sexually Explicit Text Messages’

Posted on | October 1, 2019 | 3 Comments

Six years ago, when former Rep. Anthony Weiner was caught for the second time in a “sexting” scandal, I read my teenage son the Riot Act. “Never put anything in a text message you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times!” I shouted at my son, then only 14.

As parents, we have a responsibility to warn our children about the dangers of communication technology, and I’m happy to say that so far — knock on wood — none of my kids have been implicated in any such scandals. You simply can’t be too careful about these things, when people are losing their jobs over social-media posts from years ago.

“Cancel culture” isn’t the only danger, however. A tragic story from Tennessee highlights the potential danger of text-messaging:

A Tennessee teenager took his own life after being outed as bisexual by classmates who bullied him, according to his family.
Channing Smith, a 16-year-old student at Coffee County Central High School in Manchester, Tennessee, died by suicide last week, leaving his family looking for answers. The family said it reached out to the teen’s friends, classmates and social media connections and found out the shocking truth.
The teen had sent sexually explicit text messages to another boy shortly before his death. The recipient shared screenshots of the private messages with a female classmate, who released them on social media, according to his family.
Smith was not out at the time and the exposed messages led to incessant cyberbullying, the family said. He allegedly told a classmate about his plans to end his life due to the bullying, but she did not report the threats.

The kid’s family has turned this into a story about “hate” (“Being gay shouldn’t be a death sentence”) but if you don’t want to be “outed,” maybe don’t be sending “sexually explicit text messages”?

Really, would it have been any better if the kid had been sending heterosexual explicit messages? That could have led to accusations of “harassment” that might have been just as damaging. There is simply nothing good that can result from talking dirty on text messages. Before cell phones, before social media, before the Internet, there was a lot of stuff people got away with because of plausible deniability.

“So-and-so said you did this.” Yeah? Well, good luck proving it, officer. I have the right to have my attorney present during questioning, and otherwise, I have nothing to say to you. Simply by exercising your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, a clever hoodlum could beat the rap on a lot of stuff, but nowadays? These stupid kids are always texting everything or blasting it out on social media, and they don’t seem to realize they’re creating evidence against themselves.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about grand larceny or sex — if it’s not something you want the whole world to know, you really shouldn’t be putting it in a text message, or an email, or any other form of communication that creates a permanent digital record.

By the way, the son I warned so strongly during the Anthony Weiner scandal? He deleted his Facebook account and has never been on Twitter.

Smart kids should consider emulating my son’s example.



3 Responses to “‘Sexually Explicit Text Messages’”

  1. The criminalization of speech – The First Street Journal.
    October 1st, 2019 @ 6:59 pm

    […] their speech. _________________________________ Related article: Robert Stacey Stacy McCain: “Sexually Explicit Text Messages” _________________________________ Cross-posted on […]

  2. ‘Sexually Explicit Text Messages’ « Bacon Time !!!!!!
    October 2nd, 2019 @ 9:31 am

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  3. Friday hawt chicks & links – The pollution edition. – Adam Piggott
    October 4th, 2019 @ 2:14 pm

    […] Teenager kills himself after coming out as bisexual via text message and being bullied about it. […]