Cruelty Online

Last week, I saw a very sad post on one of my Facebook friend’s page.

The Facebook friend in question is a young lady who regularly posts pictures of herself helping local cats, dressing up in cosplay for conventions, posting music videos from rock bands, and generally being a sweetheart.

But when I read her post last week, I was quite angry.

Being active on social media, and having lots of followers and friends, can draw a lot of attention, and some of it can be bad. Because of these bad people, and particularly one of them, she has decided to not do cosplay anymore. She posted only one thread of a conversation, and it was soul-crushing to see some horrible asshole mock her and degrade her.

The other year, Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the Ghostbuster reboot, received some serious, vile racist comments on her Twitter feed. If you watch Jimmy Kimmel, especially the Mean Tweets spots, you know that what these people deal with isn’t regular bullying. Sure they call it “cyber bullying”, but it hints at some more severe issues within society, especially since social media became so huge.

The people who spread hateful, racist, prejudiced, discriminatory bullshit online are the biggest fucking cowards.

If they truly believe what they say, if they stand by their cruelty, then why not show a video of themselves saying these words, so the whole world can see their conviction? It is the same reason KKK clowns wear hoods. The same reason why you never see one skinhead raging out in public. These small-minded cowards need the protection of anonymity and groups to protect their oh-so righteous values.

They are the total opposite of the proud gay man walking down the street, the goth kid standing in a grocery store in a small town surrounded by camo-wearing rednecks, or the girl who posts pics of herself dressing up in cosplay to show her friends. These people, and so many others who try to be true to who they are and what they like, face the potential for cruelty every day of their lives. From the cowardly comments made when they think they aren’t listening, to the suicides and death caused by the viciousness of others inhumanity.

I’ve been accused of being a “bleeding heart liberal” before, usually by people who consider things like compassion, open-mindedness, and acceptance of those who are different. But there is something those people should understand.

Sure, I have compassion and wouldn’t resort to, or condone, violence upon others… for the most part.

But there are some people who may never see beyond their own short-sighted ignorance. No matter how sincerely you try to tell them something, they will never, NEVER, listen. Those people will continue to do whatever it is they do because they can see no other way of doing it. They will continue to use racist or religious slurs. They will continue to mock and verbally violate people online just because they can. They will continue to hate because that is all they know.

To those people, I would wish upon them some old-school Biblical justice, an “eye-for-an-eye.” I would want to see them have their words, their actions, and fears enacted upon them, so they could understand the hatred, cruelty, and ugliness that they have spread.

I may be a liberal, but I was also bullied as a kid, so I know that anger and frustration from hearing those words and feeling like death would be preferable. If I was as wrathful now as I wanted to be back then, I might not be here.

But hoping those that abuse people, whether in the real world or online, get what is coming to them, get a taste of the cruelty they instilled in others, then to me that isn’t vengeance. It is justice.

 

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