The central claim in D'Ambrosio's post is not ultimately about murder or violence, but the announcement of a celebrity identity that he imagines will exist on a plane above the petty social policing and teen aggression of high school. It's a deliberate transferral of negative prejudice—"YOU people caused this fucking shit"—and a pathetic acknowledgement that the only credible hope for a life free of snooping mistrust comes through fame, the most accessible form of which is rapping.

The vilification of people based on the instability of their social standing is an old phenomenon, but it's one that turns Facebook into state's evidence, conferring an implicit fear of being judged in the ways people use media. This fear is diffuse but omnipresent, visible in how we expect to be greeted when we choose to behave one way or another, and how those expectations create a feedback loop that intensifies the behavioral choices we make.

In a way, you could take D'Ambrosio's defiant claims as a calling out of those social forces he was expecting to find, a way of carving out some free space for himself by rejecting those who'd begun a history of rejecting or antagonizing him for his behavioral impulses.

For that reason we cannot separate an inquiry into D'Ambrosio's behavior from the standards of those who turned him in, enforcers of a status quo designed to be exclusionary and fearful. Taboos become a litmus test for separating the enforcers from the enforced, and social media turns into a honeyed mouse trap. Once again, social media purports to offer a platform for free expression that is, and always was, another means of punishing the dispossessed.

Michael Thomsen is's tech columnist. He has written for Slate, The Atlantic, The New Inquiry, n+1, Billboard, and is author of Levitate the Primate: Handjobs, Internet Dating, and Other Issues for Men. He tweets often at @mike_thomsen.

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