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It's still not a good idea to hire a hitman on Craigslist

Commentary: A woman is accused of using the site to hire a hitman and having a PowerPoint presentation to make her case.

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Craigslist Sued For Discriminatory Housing Ads

Craigslist can't solve all your problems. Nor should it.

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I know that Craigslist can be useful for many things. 

I have used it myself once or twice. 

I'm saddened, though, that people may still think it's a good place to hire a hitman. No part of the web is a good place to hire a hitman. It's not a good idea to hire a hitman. It's a crime. And, if you want to be entirely rational, the web may be the worst place on earth, because it's inhabited by strange people and leaves traces. 

In the latest example, KFOR-TV reports that 37-year-old Danielle Dana Layman of Ponca City, Oklahoma, allegedly headlined her Craigslist ad: "10 day gig overseas for amateur, competitive pay." She then allegedly presented an applicant for the job with a PowerPoint presentation entitled: "Operation Insecticide." 

I won't go into the poisonous details, save to say that the applicant reported the alleged incident to the FBI. Hence the arrest. 

I'm more interested, though, in the idea that people may really believe the web can solve all their problems. It's as if Amazon has shown that you can buy so many things with just a few clicks, so Craigslist must be the best place to buy the right person. Or, in some cases, the right wrong person.

Yes, you can find people who can perform certain sorts of jobs, just as you can use eBay to sell many things you own. But isn't it worth thinking twice before you decide that the internet is -- or, at least, has -- your answer to everything?

The web is older than it looks. 

This Craigslist hitman thing has been going on for some time. Here's a 2013 tale of an Iowa woman who allegedly used the site to hire someone to eliminate her father. Can you remember 2008? Well, here was a woman in Sacramento, California who allegedly went on Craigslist to find someone to dispose of the wife of a man she'd had an affair with.

The web is full of strangers. Strangers are only marginally less trustworthy than the people you know. You cannot just click your troubles away. You cannot hope that because you tried to hire someone on Craigslist, you can dazzle them with a PowerPoint and get them to do what shouldn't be done.

Technology doesn't (yet) wash away reality.

Perhaps those who try such a scheme believe that their idea is more foolproof than the last one that failed. Perhaps they think this is the easiest and quickest way to achieve their ends. Perhaps it's just that Craigslist is so cheap. 

But Google's even cheaper. You can use it to find out what happened to other people who tried such a thing. 

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