Friday, March 25, 2005
Online Activities Lead to Offline Hostilities
The recent, tragic high-school shooting in Minnesota was allegedly perpetrated by a teenager who whilst quiet in school, "became an extrovert in cyberspace" according to this CBS article which claims:
He may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Hitler and calling himself "Todesengel," German for the "Angel of Death."It is prudent to note the "Libertarian National Socialist Green Party" website is www.nazi.org. I'll let you guess what their logo is...
Several notes signed by a Jeff Weise, who identified himself as "a Native American from the Red Lake 'Indian' Reservation," were posted beginning last year on a Web site operated by the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.
In one posting, he criticized interracial mixing on the reservation and slammed fellow Indian teens for listening to rap music. "We have kids my age killing each other over things as simple as a fight, and it's because of the rap influence," he wrote.Frequent online hate material, "sloppy and full of typos". Sound familiar?
While the writing of his postings on the neo-Nazi Web site may have been sloppy and full of typos, Weise was also able to write more polished prose for stories published on the Internet about zombies.
I fully accept that the child may have had other issues besides online misadventure, his father had committed suicide about four years ago, and his mother is in a nursing home after a motor vehicle accident, according to news reports.
Nevertheless, the link between online hate and real-world violence cannot be ignored. One of the Sydney Indymedia moderators however wants to do just that...
I truly believe that providing the opportunity for people to vent their frustrations anonymously prevents them from venting them physically, and reduces the amount of violence in the community. I would rather tolerate over-the-top statements on the newswire than have to read about a rabbi being bashed or a temple defaced.The 'venting of frustrations' and 'over-the-top' statements she referred to, was the previously reported "INFANT RAPEING (sic) RABBI INFECTS VICTIMS WITH DEADLY VIRUS" and the above comment was in response to fair criticism of the ongoing anti-Semitic content of Sydney Indymedia and the impunity with which it was treated by Sydney IMC staff.
I've said it before. When free speech encourages hate-speech, something is seriously wrong. It isfoolishly naive to assume that active and prolific online encouragement of hate, be it religious, ethnic or political in nature, may not lead to acts of violence any more than rallies in 1939 or KKK rallies later in the century did.