One area that never ceases to amaze is that of public opinion. As an active voice for people with convictions, I was dumbstruck earlier this week when a tweet appeared on my timeline from a person I have never engaged with previously. The tweet was “informing” me of the online presence of a certain individual. Now, I am not one to encroach on other people’s opinions, and like the proverbial rectum, we all have one and some are larger than others.
My ongoing research, digging into the CJS brings some unpleasant truths. There are crimes against children which are heinous, of this there is no doubt. I am a mother, I am a daughter and despite my fractured family circumstances, my emotional involvement with my family remains. A crime against a child can, and is never, condoned by me. As the modern gift of technology gives the public a voice, I enjoy the vehicles we have in order to voice our opinions, be those good, challenging or diametrically opposed. I am of the mind that being given the opportunity to re-think a matter is not a bad idea. It is a constant learning curve as I look into the dungeons of the CJS.
As the buzz of my phone told me there was a tweet to my account, I do look and I do read. The tweet, although inoffensive, was a polite tweet asking me if I knew who I was conversing with. I responded I was fully aware of whom I was conversing with. I added in the same question back to the person, in asking him if he knew he was conversing with a convicted fraudster. The account stated he didn’t. But that there was a huge difference between fraud and offences of a sexual nature against children. I am impartial on this one. I don’t condone any offence against a child sexual or otherwise. I also do not condone my own offences of fraud.
What then transpired was a clear attempt to rid Twitter of this individual. Every single follower of this account had the same tweet and those who defended their right to make their own choices were then accused of supporting child abuse, covering up child abuse and a string of profane tweets between a group of individuals who have posted the location of the account concerned and listed the individual on a website that screams “vigilantes”. I was told my position “incensed” other people in that they were confused over my stance on those with convictions. Coupled with the profane tweets from “supporters” I made use of the block button fairly quickly. I do not feel harassed nor do I feel victimised by this unsavoury event. But there are some people one just cannot reason with.
Looking back and a further discussion with a friend, who received a separate attack due to her opinions on those who are falsely accused (proven in court by the way) of sexual offences and not necessarily against children, I am amazed not at this vigilante attack but at the insulting manner in which many people’s chosen followers were questioned. Twitter is full of the human race, tweeting regularly on media matters, personal matters and a whole diverse range of subject matter from A-Z. Removing my opinion on vigilantism from the following, I felt one thing and only one thing. The moment a person questions who I follow is the moment a red flag appears and an attempt to control not only me, but many others who rightly so, follow and converse with whom they please. That is our right as human beings, it is not a right for others to question because that choice does not sit with their moral outrage at events.
Challenge my opinions by all means, challenge what I put out there, I am not adverse to discussion and debate about where I stand. But under no circumstances, attempt to clean up my choice over whom I follow and converse with. That smacks of control and an attempt to overrule people’s right of choice. It is unacceptable and punitive behaviour.
There is a world of difference between being vigilant with our online presence, the footprint we leave behind and vigilantism. I respect people’s choice to follow, unfollow or block whom they like and it is not my right to question their decision and nor would I ever want to insult their intelligence with such behaviour. Vigilantism is not an “ism” I am comfortable with and nor will I subscribe. I find the recent events of a cultish nature and we all know what a cult is. It is when there is not enough people to form a minority.