Thursday, July 18, 2013

“I’m killing 200 people minimum at school. I will be on CNN” said Carlos

In a small US town, students mourned the untimely death of two of their popular teenage schoolmates in a car crash. Condolences poured in on an online memorial page for the two girls.  
Within, twenty-four hours, a man named Carlos issued a dire warning on the RIP page.

“My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster.”

“Then I'm taking the motor and I'm going in fast. I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy, I'm on my way.”

Stop it responded an indignant Miss Phillips, a school teacher.

To which Carlos replied You have been chosen tomorrow at school to receive 1 of my bullets. The doctors will have to unscrew the bullet from your skull !@$#.”

He added: “I'm killing 200 people minimum at school. I will be on CNN.”

The little town had never experienced dire threats before. Cell phones rang noisily as worried parents called the school, police and other parents fearing for the safety of their children. Local authorities rushed in reinforcements and immediately locked down all the schools in the area. Half of the 6000 students stayed at home behind locked doors. Armed guards patrolled the corridors, and checked the school bags of every pupil. There was muted conversation in the hallway as children walked consciously to their classrooms. Nervous teachers taught to sparsely populated classes.  Everyone was on the edge. Two months ago in another school not far away 20 children and six adults were shot dead by another student.

Meanwhile, detectives contacted Facebook and tracked down the writer of the post, 4000 miles away in England. Carlos was the fictitious name of a 45 year old father of one, who trolled the net posting nasty remarks on sites and RIP pages. He was hauled up by the British police, tried and convicted for two years.

This true story is becoming more frequent each passing day. The only difference is in the extent of nastiness and the impact on communities.
RIP Trolls are a genuine nuisance on the Internet. Trolls are individuals who under the mistaken belief that the net ensures anonymity post offensive messages on social networks. Most derive sadistic pleasure from their actions and are fully aware that their comments are extremely worrying and distressing for the families or individuals involved and clearly cross the line to criminal behavior.

Trolls are encouraged by responses to their comments either from the victims or others.  Trolls spread nastiness wherever they see an opportunity. It is unwise to engage in counter exchanges with trolls as it only results in a flurry of nasty posts. While the victims emotionally suffer, the troll is entertained. Wisely, ignore or delete such posts. If they cross the line of criminal behavior report them to the authorities. New laws are committed to take action against those who cross the line from their right to free speech to committing criminal offences.

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photo credit: Tigresblanco via photopin cc

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