In today’s news, Daily Mail are celebrating the fact that ‘teenage lout’ Linford ‘Linney’ House has apologised to Army veterans for burning a poppy and then posting a photo of it on Facebook, allegedly with the caption ‘How about that you squadey [sic] ****s.’
I can’t help but feel a bit miffed looking at the image of Linney grovelling to an ex-serviceman and a widow, as if, by being a bit stupid back in November, he is personally responsible for their pain and suffering.
Linney is clearly an idiot. Idiots do stupid things and don’t think about the consequences. Thanks to technology, idiots can even advertise the fact they’ve done stupid things. And that is what happened in this case.
Unfortunately for the practical environmental building studies student, this act lead to his arrest under the ‘Malicious Communications Act’, as well as a disturbing smear campaign by the English Defence League, who posted naked pictures of the, then, 19-year-old from his social media pages as well as his personal contact details. Now that really is a type of malicious communication.
Rowan Atkinson has began a campaign to stop the ‘creeping culture of censoriousness’ in the country and the public’s intolerance of ‘insulting words and behaviour’. Whilst I agree that we do need to ease off hatin’ the haters, it’s difficult to establish rules around what we deem an acceptable and unacceptable extension of freedom of speech.
One of the best things we could do with people who abuse social media is ignore them. We need to make the distinction between who is just stupid and who is a real threat. I do not believe, in Linney’s case, he posed any real danger to the public. He was let off trial because his post was no more than offensive. Why did we give him the time of day? I can’t help feeling that, especially in the current economy, everyone’s stressed and angry, and idiots like Linney put themselves out like sacrificial lamb for everyone to take it their frustrations out on.
I do hope now he has apologised that will be the end of it.