Wednesday, 15 January 2020

A young man has died

reportedly by his own hand after being vilified on line.
If the story is correct he went into a library where "drag queens" were storytelling to a group of preschool children. Along with a group of other he denounced the fact that the drag queens were doing this. It was videoed - and the video "went viral".
Now it can of course be said that
(1) he was a troubled young man and might have taken his own life anyway and
(2) that he had no right to go along to the library and do what he did.
And those things have been said.
But there is also another issue here isn't there? It is the behaviour of those who vilified him. 
It is easy to recognise this but also easy to dismiss it as "it's what you have to expect" and "if you are going to make comments then you have to take the reaction". 
All too often people who are responsible for monitoring the comments on some websites allow this sort of behaviour to continue. 
    "You see Cat we can't really stop it. They will just do it somewhere else so it is better to let them do it here where we can keep an eye on it and filter out the worst."
Really? It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that some of those comments suit your own agenda? Why are you filtering out comments critical of those who criticise?
My own personal view is that we don't need people in drag to read stories to young children. I see no point in it. The reading should be about the story, not the person who is reading it. Even if the author is reading it the story should be the primary focus. 
I was invited to say this on one website - and I did. It was a mistake. I was almost instantly criticised for saying anything at all. I pulled the comment. It wasn't because I didn't want people to know what I thought but because I didn't want to give others the chance to do more damage. 
Comments on social media, indeed in the media itself, can do immense harm. There was the well publicised case of a very attractive young girl who took her own life following comments on social media. When that happened I was told of another case which received no publicity at all but the same thing had happened. The family will never recover from the loss of a very bright and apparently very happy daughter. The media knew about that case but nothing was said. It shows they can keep quiet when they want to or need to do so.
Ms W does not have any personal social media accounts. She doesn't use Facebook or Snapchat or anything like that. Her father suggested she get her own email address and she simply informed him that she rarely sends an email and had "nothing to hide". I don't know how long that will go on. She gets upset when she does learn about "nasty things people say about their friends". I hope she goes on caring about such things. 
If more people did and stopped to think about the possible consequences of what they were saying then perhaps a prince would not feel he had to betray his country for his partner and more than one young person would still be alive. 

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