Last week the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Department posted a developing story. A story which touched home.
About a week before the story “broke,” a friend called me. She has a pre-teen that she allows to have a Facebook. The girl has older siblings who live elsewhere. My friend monitors her daughter’s page closely and noticed a man she was unfamiliar with.
When she asked her daughter about the man, she got the standard answer. The answer we all give, “Well, I saw so-and-so was a friend of theirs, so I figured I must know him.” But upon further Facebook stalking this mom could only find that he had ONE male friend. All his other Facebook friends were young females who live in and around our area.
So, shortly after that conversation I called my daughter and asked if she knew a 22-year-old Oliver Campbell. The name didn’t ring a bell, but when she looked at her Facebook she said, “Well, so-and-so is friends with him, so I thought I must know him. I thought maybe we met at church camp.”
Well, it turns out they hadn’t met at church camp. Oliver Campbell isn’t 22. In fact, he is 40 years old and his name is Sam Oliver Campbell.
When my friend alerted the Sheriff he started looking into the matter, and it turns out, Mr. Campbell was a wanted fugitive with a felony warrant for theft out of Wichita County.
Now, let me say, this man has not been convicted of any crimes involving underage girls. In fact Sheriff David Soward stated, “As of this time, I want to reiterate that we have uncovered no criminal wrongdoing regarding Campbell’s Facebook page, we just want to make parents aware of these types of situations regarding social media. In this instance, Campbell’s Facebook profile had a false date of birth and his “friends list” consisted of numerous young girls who actually did not know him. We do not know what the intent of this was or if there was one. Part of what we do is to educate our citizens and of course provide overall public safety. We were responding to citizen complaints about the page.” Sheriff’s investigators will continue to look into the matter. Campbell has served prison time in Alabama. As of Tuesday morning, Campbell remains in the Atascosa County Jail awaiting extradition to Wichita County on the felony theft charge.
My daughter unfriended him, as did a few other girls that I know were alerted. But the fact is, this is the world wide web of Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram, while those little social hangouts are fun, they are also a world where creepy, crazies live. A world where people aren’t really your “friends.”
I wonder if some women are more susceptible to this type of situation? I must admit, I have been in the same situation. I probably have quite a few “friends” who I actually do not know.
Why you may ask? Well, mostly guilt if I am honest. I see the person and think, “Do I know him? Did I meet him at church in passing and just forgot? Was I his VBS teacher? Have I met this person at the office? Did they come in and bring their mother’s obituary in? Do they work somewhere that I have frequented? Do they read my column and feel they know me?”
And so, there you have it. I can’t judge the little pre-teen girl. I can’t judge my teenage daughter. I can relate. And I can try to cull out the strangers and insist my daughter do the same.
We would all do well to remember that waving as you pass someone on the street is a far cry from inviting them into your world to view your family album.