The internet never forgets and it rarely forgives.

Meet Ashley Beaver, mother, alleged abuse survivor, and self proclaimed "hippy that just wants weed legal and to raise happy healthy kids."

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You may also recognize her from her slightly more famous photo:

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Ashley contacted The Daily Banter a little over a week ago, asking that we remove the picture of her at a neo-Nazi rally. 

Good morning.

I am scouring the internet getting my photo removed from site and blogs and the such.  

The photograph of the brunette woman is myself. My name is Ashley Beaver and i need the photo removed. It is damaging to my reputation and character as this is not who i am, i was only apart of this event to make an abusive ex happy. I was miserable. I am native American and of Jewish decent as well, by no means an Aryan and a mutt. I am facing a court battle to protect custody over my son from a different abusive ex. So i need the photo removed from any source I can find it on  

I wrote back to Ashley asking for proof that she is, in fact, Jewish or perhaps contemporary emails showing that she was coerced into cosplaying as a Nazi. I also asked if she could give me her social media handles so I could look over her profiles. People tend to be who they really are on social media; it's how so many racists keep finding themselves in hot water.

Unfortunately, Ashley was unwilling or unable to do any of that but she did send me a few screen caps of criminal complaints from 2003. They detail domestic abuse but with the names crossed out they're of dubious worth. She also sent a lengthy explanation of how she went from one abusive relationship to another before getting out and starting to repair her life.

Ben Cohen, the owner of The Daily Banter, is unconvinced. As a Jew, he justifiably takes an extremely dim view of people who dress up as Nazis and throw Nazi salutes. This particular rally took place several years ago according to Ashley so it predates the alt-right and the rise of Trump but that hardly matters. A Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi. Even if they don't really mean it, the damage is done by advancing the hate white nationalism represents.

As a Jew myself, I take an equally dim view but I'm inclined to believe Ashley's story of abuse. Two close friends of mine escaped long term abusive relationships, one physical and the other emotional. The stories they told me sounded very much like what Ashley says she went through. It's possible she's faking it but from her writing, frankly, she doesn't seem capable of that kind of subtlety. I believe she was abused and I believe she is in a nasty child custody battle and I believe that the picture of her dressed as a Nazi will hurt her case. 

I also believe that she will not be able to remove that picture from the internet. The internet never forgets. If the Catsouras family was not able to have illegally obtained images of their daughter Nikki's mangled corpse removed from websites, there is zero chance Ashley will be able to remove images of herself attending a public event.

And that brings us to the larger point of this article: Dressing up like a Nazi is forever, especially in the digital age. This is a point I keep coming back to in other articles -- there are simply no backsies once you come out of the white nationalism closet. That will haunt you for the rest of your life. Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was in the KKK. He spent decades apologizing and working to make amends for it. Yet, the right still uses it to attack his legacy. They are, of course, being extremely dishonest but it shows that the taint never washes away even if the person sincerely repents for what they've done.

We are living in a transitional period when it comes to things like sexting. While my generation (Gen X) and older will always be scandalized by a private nude photo or sex tape being leaked, Millennials are growing up with that kind of thing being fairly normal They're still being punished for it (or made into a reality TV star) but by the time the next generation (currently called Gen Z) is of age, no one will care. Not so much for openly declaring your allegiance to the Nazi Party. That's going to be an albatross around your neck one hundred years from now, much less next week. Everyone makes mistakes when they're young but some mistakes last a lifetime.

Personally, I hope Ashley gets her act together. I hope she sincerely regrets her decision to wear a swastika and join a cause dedicated to genocide. I hope someday she can explain to her son why she did it and he'll understand. I hope she wins her custody battle so she'll have that chance. But what I want doesn't matter. Ashley came out of the white nationalist closet and now she has to live with the consequences of that for the rest of her life regardless if she actually meant it or not.

Dressing up like a Nazi is forever. At the very least, let Ashley's story be a cautionary tale for would-be white nationalists caught up in the moment: Think before you go out in public and pledge your allegiance to a movement that America fought a World War against. It may feel awesome today but 10 years from now, when you grow up and you can't hold down a job because no one wants to work with a Nazi or a judge is threatening to take away your child, will it really have been worth it?

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