Facebook, a networking site that was intended to be a way to connect with new friends and colleagues, stay close to distant friends or family and to creatively exchange ideas, has become a snapshot of the human condition — good and bad.
The Titusville Police Department has begun its investigation into one such segment of the bad end of the Facebook phenomenon. In a 2 minute and 12 second video posted on Saturday to Titusville Facebook pages, two teenage Titusville girls can be seen assaulting each other in a yard along the 300 block of East Main Street.
Punch after punch is exchanged between the two young girls. At times, they tackle each other to the ground and the blows continue to rain down on the one who happens, at that instant, to be on her back in the grass. All the while, a camera is rolling.
Then, the most disturbing piece of the video comes in from the left-hand side of the shot — an adult. The woman encourages the behavior, shouting, "Don't you stop! F— that b—- up!"
The fight continues for approximately another 30 seconds until both girls are apparently too exhausted to continue.
An officer at the Titusville Police Department said Monday that, "we are aware of that video and that incident. We are investigating it at this time."
The officer went on to say that, since the girls involved in the altercation are both juveniles, they are not releasing their names.
As for the adult encouraging the fight, she could not be reached for comment Monday. The Herald placed several calls to a number listed under the woman's name in the phone book.
Several unofficial sources have identified the adult in the video as Heidi Ruth. Ruth offered a response Sunday on her Facebook page. She wrote, "To all the people that saw me acting out, I was only caught up in the moment. I apologize to everyone. I should have stopped it, instead of doing what I did. I'm so embarrassed. It was a bad reaction, so, sorry to all parents. I do not encourage this kind of behavior. I was wrong."
The video not only made its way to the Titusville Police Department but it was also forwarded to the principal at the Titusville High School, at which point other district staff members were informed of the situation.
Karen Jez, superintendent of the Titusville Area School District said that the video "was brought to our attention. However, since that fight took place over the weekend, and (since) we couldn't find a nexus to the school setting, there's nothing we can do right now."
Jez also remarked that "it's very disturbing. And, in particular, that the adults in the video are encouraging this fight."
Jez said that the high school didn't report any disturbances stemming from the fight or from the video documentation.
These sorts of incidents are, by no means, new to the modern relationship between parents and their children.
In March 2011, in Atlanta, a mother stepped into her child's fight on a school bus that had developed over an issue with a cell phone. Other adults became involved in the fight and one of the parents was arrested.
In Palmetto, Fla., in September 2010, the mother of a teen daughter became involved in a fight and allegedly encouraged the altercation. In this video, one of the girls' parents can be seen in the background trying to lend her daughter support.
Manatee County Police said they were "basically in shock [that] a parent can sit there and watch their child and not intervene."
In the Palmetto case, the mother faced up to five years in prison and was freed on $15,000 bail.
In Titusville, the police are continuing their investigation into the incident.