If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Saturday, 25 May 2013


An off-duty soldier is hacked to death in a London street.  In a sign of the urgency of the police response, the forces of law and order have been quick to spring into action:
A number of people have been charged after allegedly offensive comments were made on social media websites.
Now, I have been following the reactions on Facebook, and some of them have not made pleasant reading.  In fact some of them have made me despair of the low standard of logic and reason of my fellow countrymen.  Some have been spiteful, nasty, ignorant, violent and - of course - utterly counterproductive.

But it will not have escaped anybody's attention that in the aftermath of what must be one of the most horrific murders any of us have heard of, it is the people making the 'incorrect' response who are the first to be punished.


  1. Well, one of them at least is (presumably) a Muslim, going by the name.

    1. I don't think there is any doubt of that.

  2. I agree that some of the reactions on Facebook have not made pleasant reading. Similarly, some of the placards wielded by some followers of the 'Religion of Peace':-


    Rhetorical questions:

    1. Offensive to whom?

    2. Just where is it enshrined that someone has a "right" to be not offended?

  3. Easy to go after the low-hanging fruit(cakes)

  4. I don't know... they got around to arresting possible collaborators/co-conspirators quickly enough. While I agree freedom of speech is more important than any offence caused, did any of these Fb/Twitter comments incite violence? Because that is a crime and any nutter comparable to those who carried out the attack in Woolwich might feel immortalised by following through on a suggestion.

    Also, police have made a rod for their own backs by arresting commentators in the past. They would be hard pushed to justify ignoring any incendiary posts following this incident. It's a horrendous idea, but would not twitter/fb suspending comments for a certain period on the subject of a recent event be a better idea? It would actually protect those who put themselves "ar risk". The DT did. Mainly because they know their many of their readership writes from the edge of sanity at the best of times.

  5. Hi Windsock, long time and all that.

    I was stretching my point a bit, I will admit. The police have got a hell of a job, first to arrest and investigate all those involved in the murder, and then in parallel to deal with those who post 'inappropriately' - which, whether we like it or not, is also contrary to the laws of the land. An unenviable task in both cases. I'm not sure I would support the suspension of Twitter and FB for a period, though. That's the thin end of a nasty wedge. My point was a very simple and not very clever one: there's hacking someone to death, and there is making offensive comments, and the police seemed to be (according to media reports) acting with more alacrity on the latter than the former.

    Some of the things that have come by my FB feed have been frighteningly stupid, though. The whole point of a terrorist act is to engender violent confrontation and to provoke a reaction, and the 'patriotic' muppets are playing right into their hands. We should keep calm, keep the ordinary Muslims onside, and deal with the perpetrators with deadly force as necessary.

  6. Thanks for the welcome. Thanks for your reply.

    One other point - I guess some (most? all?) of the police forces who have carried out twitter/fb related arrests are not actually involved in investigating this event. They are trying to calm things down Also, it's easier to trace a tweet/comment once it's been posted but finding conspirators to a violent and vicious attack could well take much longer.

    To be honest, as one of those goddamned liberals (definitely small l) I'd err on the side of free speech and let those who break the law (inciting violence for example) face the consequences. Timing of arrest is irrelevant.

  7. A small 'l' liberal can mean a lot of things :). I would agree with your last paragraph 100%. Free speech is important, and possibly more important than justice.


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