THERE are undoubtedly a large number of angry people out there who used to keep their feelings in check.
I’m afraid this may be down to social media and the anonymity involved, where you can post almost anything it seems. Once, you might have thought someone was an idiot for doing something or holding a view. Now, apparently, it’s perfectly fine to let them know their idiotic status and even offer a helpful punch in the face to reinforce it.
Because, very unfortunately, the side-effect of this anger is also a release of pent-up violence. People have become quite imaginative in their suggestions for inflicting pain and distress. In fact, they’ve become vile and nasty.
Take the furore surrounding the tragic case of baby Charlie Gard and his parents’ fight for experimental treatment. While they have been understandably determined in trying to get the best for their little boy, they’ve been dignified in what they have generally stated.
Staff at Great Ormond Street, where Charlie is being cared for, however, have had to endure abuse and death threats from members of the public with no conceivable link to the family.
They are looking for someone to blame about the situation because the Hospital argues that the experimental treatment won’t work and Charlie’s life support should be switched off. This is a medical decision, not a personal one, yet all the abuse and threatened violence is very personal indeed.
People shout racist abuse in the street in almost commonplace events and, of course, children copy their elders and definitely not betters and continue this legacy of hate. School exclusion rates are rising, largely fuelled by disruptive behaviour in the classroom, and teachers suffer abuse and threats on a regular basis in some schools.
What happened to open these angry floodgates among so many? I’m afraid we’re suffering from an over-indulged sense of entitlement here. Just because we think something does not mean we have the right to shout it out, post it or even embellish our opinion with a promise of violence.
Surely, we, as a nation, are better than that?