What do Tiger Woods, lying lawyers, sleazy debt collectors, corrupt judges, unethical university administrators, and possibly murderers have in common?
All of them seem to have a hard time grasping this simple truth: If you are going to cheat and violate society's norms, modern technology greatly enhances the likelihood that you will get caught.
Consider the latest news from Tiger's tawdry tale. Joslyn James, a porn star who claims to be one of Woods' numerous mistresses, says she has more than 1,000 text messages that the world's most famous golfer sent her. Some of the messages show a desire for rough sex, indicating that Woods wants to "spank," "slap," and "choke" James.
A Web site called sextingjoslynjames.com reportedly includes roughly 100 of the text messages from Woods. James promises that more will be released soon. We can't wait.
All of which raises this question: How can a guy be smart enough to win 14 major golf titles and be stupid enough to: (a) Have an affair with a porn star; and (b) Send her hundreds of text messages, leaving a digital footprint of exactly what he has been up to?
Did this thought ever occur to our guy Tiger: "Hmmm, I wonder if women who make their living in porn are discreet about their activities?" Or how about this one: "I wonder if one of my mistresses might keep my texts or voice messages, blowing out of the water any excuse I might come up with should this story start to become public?"
Woods was smart enough to get into Stanford University. But he wasn't smart enough to see this train wreck coming.
Tiger, however, is hardly alone in failing to realize that technology poses major hazards for those who can't keep themselves from cheating others.
Consider our little Legal Schnauzer story. We posted last week about a local lawyer who had filed a motion claiming he had not received a copy of an audiotape that is key evidence in a lawsuit my wife and I have filed against debt collectors. Because he didn't have a copy of the audio file, the lawyer argued, it had to be excluded as evidence. Did it ever occur to the lawyer that I could obtain e-mail evidence that proves he did, in fact, receive the audio file? Did it ever occur to the lawyer that I could use a magical new Web site called Scribd to run the lawyer's motion and the e-mail refuting it, in their entirety, on my blog? Did it ever occur to the lawyer that I could prove, for anyone who cares to read it, that he has been intentionally filing fraudulent documents in federal court, violating numerous tenets of the legal profession and perhaps federal law?
The answer to all of these questions apparently is no. And how did the lawyer in question, Wayne Morse of Waldrep Stewart & Kendrick, react upon realizing that he had been unmasked as a fraud? He left a message with one of my attorneys, threatening a defamation lawsuit. For what, telling the unvarnished truth about him and his client?
What about the debt-collection outfits themselves, Pennsylvania-based NCO and Birmingham-based Ingram & Associates? Did they ever dream that I would tape record my conversations with their representatives, gathering indisputable evidence that they violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) on multiple occasions? Did they think I could convert those tapes to digital files and run those on my blog? Did they think I could run a word-for-word transcript on my blog? Well, they should of thought of that because that's exactly what I'm going to do.
Consider the myriad corrupt judges we've introduced here at Legal Schnauzer.
Did any of them ever think that a party before them might realize he was being cheated, and with the help of modern technology, conduct the research necessary to prove it? Did any of these judges think that said party might start a blog and reveal that they are essentially criminals in black robes?
As for university administrators, consider University of Alabama Trustee Paul Bryant Jr. and UAB President Carol Garrison. Did Bryant ever consider that a citizen journalist could use technology to uncover information about massive insurance fraud involving one of Bryant's companies, Alabama Reassurance? Did Garrison ever consider that, after cheating yours truly out of his job, that I could use the Interwebs to uncover evidence of large-scale research fraud that has happened on her watch? And that's not to mention an upcoming series of posts about her profligate spending of taxpayer dollars while jetting about the Southeast with her boyfriend, the former president of the University of Tennessee?
What about murderers? Consider the mysterious death of Alabama attorney Major Bashinsky, whose body was found floating in a golf-course water hazard last week in Birmingham. The cause of death still has not been released, but it is looking more and more like a homicide.
If that proves to be the case, I suspect the perpetrators never dreamed that Bashinsky's older brother, Sloan Y. Bashinsky Jr., would be writing about the case on his blog, revealing information long before it has been released by law enforcement.
Some readers might say, "Schnauzer, big shots don't care what little people write on blogs or Web sites." And they might have a point.
But I suspect Tiger Woods and his sponsors care quite a bit about what Joslyn James is sharing with the world.
I know for a fact--let's just say that I have "spies"--that a number of the villains in our Legal Schnauzer story are concerned with what we write on this blog.
And if Major Bashinsky indeed was murdered, I would bet enough to make Bob Riley blush that the perpetrators are a bit nervous about Sloan Bashinsky and his quirky blog.
Early in life, most of us learn the old saw, "Honesty is the best policy." Thankfully, that simple phrase has a way of sticking--and most of us go through life trying pretty hard to behave in honest and honorable ways.
For some people, though, simple phrases don't seem to stick. They have a penchant for cheating others, perhaps because they think they can get away with it.
But here's a lesson for Tiger Woods and his ilk: Honesty always has been the best policy, but it's even more so now. That's because of a new simple phrase that many of us are learning: "Technology is the best sunlight--and the best disinfectant."
Thanks to technology, everybody has eyes and ears--and ways to communicate what they see and hear. Cheaters should proceed with caution.