I was eriously pissed off last night. IN the middle of the #transsummer twitter thread, up popped this, from a guy calling himself Jonny Weatherly:
“@Jonny_Weatherly: #TransSummer I’d lock then all in a room with no windows, a bottles of petrol and a match.”
Charming – and seriously triggering, given that just a week back i was chatting to a trans woman who had no carpet by her front and back doors for fear of being firebombed.
However, it did pose something of a dilemma. On the one hand, i’m not shy of reporting stuff to the police where i feel that a real threat is involved. I have done – and in one instance that resulted in serious consequences for the individual involved.
On t’other, i am not a great fan of retricting speech BY LAW: by all means encourage politeness, lack of prejudice and the rest through social pressure and convention. But i don’t like laws around generic “incitement”.
Which is not the same as supporting measures against “speech as action”. I also fully buy the view that shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre is reckless, dangerous, and deserving of punishment. Likewise, sugesting that a group of lads go and kick the shit out of some trannies, where the audience might just go for it.
And this? Its in-between. I don’t think i believe that much other than stupidity was intended. Still: if i thought that the police would be happy to just “have a word”, i’d report it. The real difficulty is the recent four-year jail sentences for Facebook comments.
No. Those are ludicrous. Far, far too much and far, far too chilling of speech in general.
If the police could be guaranteed to apply proportioniate pressure to this individual (which means graduate their response according to the gittichness of Mr Weatherly) i’d go for it. As is, I’m reluctant to.
Also reluctant because of a lengthy exchange that went on after with @MMDecadence – and the fact that Mr W did delete his account and send out apologies later on. To me he wrote:
@JaneFae I apologise for what I said and Take it all back. I’m disappointed in what I said and will delete everything.
And he apologised again this morning. Lesson learnt – I hope. Though if there is any hint that this last is just wriggling and he’s off elsewhere laughin up his sleeve at us, i suspect i will change my mind…