In September of 2003, Jeffrey Lee Parson, a high school senior from Hopkins, Minn., earned his 15 minutes of fame by generating a copycat version of the Blaster Internet worm, also known as LovSan, infecting over 500,000 computers around the world and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
The computer virus exploited a flaw in Window’s software, replicating Internet worms that launched a data attack from at least 7,000 “drone” computers via the Internet onto the Microsoft technical service website.
The FBI arrested Parson for “intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage to a computer” and confiscated his seven computers.
Later that same day, Parson made an initial court appearance with a punk hair style, wearing a faded T-shirt with “Big Daddy” spelled out in front, as well as cargo shorts and high-top sneakers.
The pesky teenager was then placed under house arrest, pending further court appearances, and not allowed to use a computer or to log onto the Internet.
His parents must be so proud.
At 6’ 4” and 320 pounds, the 18-year-old Parson was known locally as a hothead and a bully. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, some of Parson’s neighbors claimed that Parson used to beat up the other kids in the neighborhood and damaged property whenever he got upset, which was often.
One sympathetic neighbor stated that Parson had always been very self-conscious about his size and felt no one liked him. He was apparently always much taller than the other kids and had received intensive counseling as a boy to help him adjust.
The poor lad – being tall is such a heavy burden.
Speaking of juvenile jerks, 63-year-old Congressman Bill Janklow of South Dakota also earned his 15 minutes of fame in the same month by driving over 70 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, running a stop sign and killing a 55-year-old motorcyclist and volunteer fireman from Minnesota.
One of South Dakota’s most powerful politicians, Janklow had served four years as state attorney general and 16 years as governor before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002.
A self-proclaimed speeder, Janklow received 12 speeding tickets in 11 separate counties in 1990-1994.
In 1999, he complained to passengers in his sports utility vehicle that the computer limited his speed to 99 mph as he sped through the dense smoke of a forest fire in the Black Hills. As governor that year, he was quoted as saying: “if someone told me I was going to jail for two days for speeding, my driving habits would change. I can pay the ticket but don’t want to go to jail. It’s that simple.”
The poor fellow – forced to endanger innocent lives and pay a fine rather than being a responsible citizen simply because the penalty just wasn’t stiff enough to prevent him from doing the right thing.
Parson is an evil monster who gets a thrill out of hurting others.
Janklow is an infantile pinhead who gets a thrill out of driving fast -- killing another human being in the process.
Each faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Parson should be dressed in bright orange and confined to a cell at least two hours for every hour of distress he caused multitudes of computer users. With good behavior, he would be eligible for parole on April 17, 2085.
Janklow should be duct-taped to the hood of an Oldsmobile and driven on every road in South Dakota at 110 miles per hour by one of Richard Petty’s nephews. If he survives the thrill of being a hood ornament, he should serve two days in jail for speeding and be required to become a volunteer fireman for the rest of his natural life.
We live in a wicked world where the punishment sometimes exceeds the crime. You can get six months in jail for chewing gum in public in Indonesia or beheaded for adultery in Saudi Arabia (women only).
No matter the earthly consequences of our actions, we are all judged by an ultimate truth.
Quote for the Day -- "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." Benjamin Franklin
Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and an imaginary girlfriend named Trixie O'Toole.