Next Generation of Bullies

With all the school programs on bullying you would think we’ve learned how to deal with bullies, avoid them, correct them, or at least stifle them somewhat. Unfortunately, based on what I keep seeing online and in the news we seem to have failed dismally.
Or maybe it’s adults, not students, who haven’t learned that bullying in any form isn’t okay.

I refer to the current trend of cyber bullying where supposedly rational adults use Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media to intimidate, threaten, or coerce individuals to a singular way of thinking or belief under the guise of freedom of speech or political correctness. Some of this even  bleeds over into the comment section of legitimate news articles or petition campaigns which encourage readers/listeners to boycott, demonstrate, destroy, or threaten the “victim.”

An example is the recent story of the dentist who shot an African lion overseas.  I am not debating the moral or legal aspects of this issue. However, this case, like so many others in today’s headlines where an individual’s personal beliefs differ from a segment of society, highlights the current trend to verbally and physically belittle or destroy dissenters without benefit of a trial.

Several CEOs have been fired or dismissed like criminals and their lives ruined, yet these individuals were never accused or charged for breaking any laws.  John Public tried and convicted them on social media in a blatant display of “lynch mob” mentality in some of the worse forms of cyber bullying I have ever witnessed.

Journalists are partly to blame, since for decades they’ve “tried” legal cases in headlines, allowing the public to assume that such behavior is acceptable in society.  Should we then be surprised when said public takes matters into their own hands to denigrate, belittle and besmirch someone’s character, livelihood, or status?

As an avid reader of science fiction, I am disturbed where this current behavioral trend might lead us. Science fiction writers have spent decades exploring the “what if” of trends like this one, where a rabid society quickly decays into anarchy or chaos, or worse, a totalitarian regime where individuality and freedom of thought are severely punished.

I may not agree with you; I may think your ideas chauvinistic, puerile, or completely wrong; however, I will defend your right to hold those beliefs and act on those beliefs as long as they do not break any laws.

 

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Posted on 2015/08/22, in The Way Things Are and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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