On Twitter: @JamesFirth and @s_r_o_c (post feed)

Got a tip? tip@sroc.eu

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The free speech thorn is there to stop us living in our cosy little bubbles

Uncomfortable views, distressing or offensive posts can still play a positive role in a civilised society

You simply can't defend someone setting up a fake Facebook account praising a double murderer; I won't even try.

But should that person face jail themselves?

A post that is shocking, offensive and highly distressing to all those affected by the murders can't really be justified on any level.  It's not satire; if it's opinion, it's barely legitimate.

But news of the offensive Facebook page(s) reminded me of one fact that is easy to forget living in a quiet low crime suburb rarely affected by petty theft, never mind open warfare between organised drug gangs and the slaying of those who work to protect our communities.

It reminded me that there are people in the underworld who think along these lines.  People conditioned over a lifetime of crime to hate police.  People with respect only for violence and raw sadistic power over others.

It reminded me of a book I once read - I forget which - that chronicled the arrest and interview of a cop killer in a rough US neighbourhood.  Suffering mistreatment at the hands of local cops the killer couldn't wait to get to jail, where he knew he'd be afforded huge respect from other inmates for his crime.

Whatever the motives of the people causing distress and offence through social media posts it did one thing.  It helped burst my cosy bubble; and that, I think, is ultimately healthy.  Healthier than pretending vile individuals with such warped outlooks don't exist.

Banning offensive speech doesn't make offensive people go away, it merely allows the offended to pretend they don't exist.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be accepted so long as they're on-topic, do not include gratuitous language and do not include personal attacks or libellous assertions.

Comments are the views of the commentator and not necessarily the view of the blog owner.

Comments on newer posts are not normally pre-moderated and the blog owner cannot be held responsible for comments made by 3rd parties.

Requests for comment removal will be considered via the Contact section (above) or email to editorial@slightlyrightofcentre.com.