Sharing his story, himself online

John Brannen
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Scott Jones takes to Reddit’s Ask Me Anything to discuss the night of the attack that left him paralyzed

It’s a situation that few have experienced, let alone lived to talk about: being stabbed and left paralyzed from the waist down.


But it’s this reason that Scott Jones took to the popular social news and entertainment website Reddit to participate in an AMA – Ask me anything. That’s according to Victoria Taylor, Reddit’s director of communications in New York.

His event was titled ‘I was stabbed and left paralyzed due to my homosexuality. I’m Scott Jones, Don’t BE Afraid to AMA’.

“We were very happy that Jones decided to take his message to the masses and discuss his unique experiences with people all around the world,” Taylor said.

An AMA is an opportunity for registered users to post questions for people with unique or interesting jobs or experiences. According to Reddit, AMAs should be about two general fields: something uncommon that plays a central role in your life, such as a person’s job or a truly interesting and unique event such as climbing Mount Everest.

People can either submit a request for someone or something they’d like to hear from or people can submit requests themselves. In Jones’s case, he requested to do an AMA.

“It’s perfectly fine to do that and it’s not uncommon,” said Taylor. “For someone else to request what happened to Jones would be very unusual.”

She noted that AMAs are divided into two groups: casual for non-serious AMAs, such as ‘I lock myself out of my house’ and traditional for more serious events or unique experiences, such as ‘I was attacked by grizzly bear and survived.’

The latter has seen celebrities and politicians such as Premier Stephen McNeil and President Barack Obama.

During the AMA, Jones recounted the events from that fateful night last October. While the RCMP and New Glasgow Regional Police Service have not found any evidence that the stabbing in New Glasgow was a hate crime, it was discussed at length.

“I ran into Shane earlier that night at another bar, and he glared at me from his pool table after I had shouted my friend's name, and scoffed to his friends,” wrote Jones, referencing 19-year-old Shane Matheson, who was arrested for attempted murder in Jones’s stabbing. “Then later, he was clearly going for me, not my friend... all of this in the context of a small town, where I am one of the few openly gay men, leads me to believe it was a hate crime.”

Some agreed while others questioned the claim. One poster noted the lack of evidence in calling the stabbing a hate crime.

“The facts of the situation are way too vague to say with any certainty that the attack was motivated because he was gay,” posted a Reddit user. “A person can find any stupid reason to dislike another person, especially when alcohol is involved. A scoff and a dirty look is not enough in my opinion to determine motivation.”

Many posts delved deep, asking tough questions of Jones.

“I can't believe this happened to you. I can't believe it when these things happen at all, honestly,” posted a Reddit user. “I guess my question is: Having experienced this sort of twisted hatred so brutally, do you think less of mankind?”

Jones wishes to focus on the positive.

“Good question, and my answer depends on the day haha,” wrote Jones. “Today, I'd say I see more beauty than before.... I knew bad things happened before the attack, but I'd never experienced the love that pours in afterwards. People are awesome.”

Some of the discussion noted the Don’t BE Afraid campaign while other posts were lighter and touched on the mundane.

“What do you do for fun nowadays when you're not in Rehab,” posted a Reddit user.

Jones responded with a few things that occupy his time.

“Right now, friends, family, movies, eating, and laughing occupy my free time ahah any suggestions?”

According to Taylor, Jones’s AMA was a success.

“His AMA received 4,695 up votes, 2,861 down votes for a net positive of 1,834, or 62 per cent positive.”

As far as accomplishing Reddit’s AMA goals, Jones’s event was lively and informative.

“It’s about having a dialogue,” said Taylor. “In traditional media, there isn’t the kind of interaction that can and does take place on Reddit. I think the idea is to give perspective, and share his experiences. It was educating and encouraging to others facing difficult situations.”

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

 

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  • Michael
    January 13, 2014 - 13:42

    Scott Jones, you are an inspiration to gay people who live in small towns everywhere! I grew up in Pictou County but decided at the age of 24 to leave as I felt that as a gay man I had to leave in order to live a life in a place where I was accepted and had the opportunity to meet and socialize with other gay people. You had the courage to stay and build a life in your home town, something alot of people don't have the courage to do. The fact that you have taken something so horrible and turned it into something positive is truly inspiring. Thank you ! Michael Facey