A Philadelphia resident by the name of Jessie McPherson had his XBOX, Mac book Pro, and his TV stolen from his home last month from a thief who broke in through his window when he wasn’t there. After contacting the police, they took a report and predictably, he never heard from them again. However, after receiving a new XBOX from his coworkers, he finds out that he has a message on his Live account. Amazingly, it is the thief himself who had begun leaving him harassing messages about stealing his XBOX. The thief goes as far as leaving him messages on his home’s answering machine, telling him that if he wants his XBOX back, he would have to buy it off of him.
This is where the story gets interesting, and this is why CNN, Fox News, local magazines, Australian newspapers have featured this. Jessie McPherson posts the criminal’s XBOX Live username as well as the recording of the message on his answering machine to his blog. This story became the most popular story of the week on the news propagation website: Digg.com. Being an almost hourly reader of Digg, this story especially caught my eye. Within minutes, an IRC chartroom was established with the single goal of bringing justice to the thief. I joined the channel out of curiosity to find out that there were hundreds of other “Diggers” busily investigating the criminal. We all began finding a lot of information about the thief, so I established http://xboxmoron.wikidot.com/ to organize the information to a centralized source. Within four hours, we had found and posted the criminals: Picture, Full Name, Age, Home Address, Phone Number, Email Address, Parents Full Names, Property Information, Google Street View photo of his house, Girlfriends name (and all of her information, but we did not post this), AIM, Myspace, Facebook, Youtube Page, WonderHowTo, XBOX Live, XBOX Gamer Card, Grafitti Forum Postings, his High School, and his Bebo Account. The condition was that we would remove the information as soon as the punk returned the items.
Once all this information was posted, it also became a frontage hit on Digg, and the power of a global internet citizen’s watch group began. People from around the world posted thousands of messages on his YouTube page, telling him that he was going to jail. Hundreds of people called the phone number provided, and, of course, “kindly” informed him to return the merchandise. Within three days of constant phone calls, emails, and AIM conversations with strangers from around the globe, the 16 year old rapper punk “XBOX Moron” gave in and returned the XBOX and his MacBook Pro in a garbage bag, which he left on Jessie’s front porch. The TV has yet to have been recovered, but after such outcry of support, the local police have finally stepped in and have a warrant for an arrest of another possible suspect. Feeling this satisfied our demands, we removed his information from the wiki.
Without the support of court orders, search warrants, and apathetic policeman, a libertarian-style justice league was formed out of nothing from a fellow citizen’s outcry for help. Without government involvement, this situation was resolved fairly for both parties. Jessie was able to receive his merchandise in three days from strangers around the world who don’t even know him, and for the punk himself, since he will not have any sort of criminal record for breaking and entering because Jessie did not press charges.
Do Libertarians believe police should not exist as a formal part of government? Absolutely not! Instead, however, maybe what can be learned is to take personal responsibility of ourselves, to rely off of family, friends, and one another instead of government to solve all our problems. We must trust that there are more good people in the world than bad people, and that for protection and support, we look to our neighbors for help, and not to government. I feel honored to have played a part in such an amazing example of how one man can rally the support of thousands of fellow human beings to assist when government was far too lazy to participate.
A Quick Tribute to the XBOX Moron: