SOAP BOX: Can't say anything nice? Then don't say anything

WHATEVER happened to the old saying 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'?

It seems as if that went out the window whenever people started thinking they have some fundamental right to say whatever they want to others without taking any responsibility for the consequences.

The online world can be a vicious place.

Keyboard warriors get up on their soap box but often instead of debating an idea, opinions turn to nasty personal attacks.

In the past week I've seen Facebook users casually suggesting commenters should be run over, beaten up, or even shoot themselves for crimes as simple as politely speaking their minds, or riding a bicycle.

Maybe these comments were meant as a joke. Maybe not.

Either way, no one should be made to feel threatened - in the virtual world or the physical world - because of who they are, how they live, or thoughts they express in a public forum.

Maybe it's easier to have a crack at people online because you don't know them, or because you can't see what effect these brutal attacks have. Maybe the perpetrators have no capacity for empathy. Or maybe they're bitter and miserable, and want to take that out on others.

I was disgusted to read about a group in London who have brought the kind of viciousness you'd expect to find online into the physical world. The BBC reported the group, who claimed to "hate and resent fat people", handed out cards to commuters on the Tube telling them they were a "fat, ugly human".

The world would be a better, happier place if people could just be nice to each other.

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