This is not a post about the Mail's coverage regarding Akmal Shaikh's imminent execution, because their coverage is fair, detailed and very good, despite (a) one article having been written by the usually awful Sue Reid and (b) slightly contradictory headlines:
From reading the articles it seems there's quite a shadow of doubt over his conviction, his intent to commit the crime and his mental wellbeing at the time he did it, all of which should, perhaps, be taken into consideration when deciding whether he should be shot through the back of the head or not. Or not:
It's this kind of bludgeoning, roaring "NO, I'M RIGHT" that allows people to be sneery and snobby about what they read on the internet, lumping we poor bloggers in with the kind of folk who type in CAPITAL LETTERS underneath Daily Express stories or who patrol internet forums looking to upset others.
I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to say what they want, nor that only experts should be allowed to discuss things, nor that I know better than everyone else; it's just that comments like these are typical of a kind of compassionless, hate-fuelled contempt towards human beings that seems to be rather more prevalent in comments underneath Daily Mail stories, for example, than you might find elsewhere, or in real life.
It drags us all down - all of us 'on the internet' are tarred and feathered to be just the same as these jokers, those who would happily see a mentally ill man shot to death and couldn't care less about any of the doubts surrounding his conviction or the circumstances of the case. To answer the question that many will pose - 'well why don't you go on there and correct them?' - all dissenting voices are quickly crushed:
Some would say this just goes to show the classic equation - give people anonymity, and a forum to say what they want, and they'll be quite hatefully awful, in a sense that gives you a glimpse into why people used to be able to stand around smiling after lynchings or cheerily participate in genocide; it reveals the dark side of humanity. I'd like to hope we're better than that, but maybe we're not.
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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