I’ve spoken out in the past against internet trolls and the treatment of Gerry and Kate McCann this week only serves to highlight just how low some people will stoop – under the cover of anonymity.
The release of e-fit images of new suspects and renewed interest in the case prompted a stack of offensive tweets and remarks online.
The McCann’s don’t deserve this vilification. My feeling, every time I hear or read about the story, is “there but for the grace of God go I”.
When I look back at how I raised my three (now fully grown) children, I can’t say I didn’t once or twice do a similar thing, and leave our children sleeping in a hotel room while we nipped down to the bar for a quick drink.
Now, given the profile of Madeleine’s disappearance and with the benefit of hindsight, we wouldn’t dream of doing it. But when our children were younger parents in general were far more relaxed about the state of the world.
Even when I think about things like letting children walk to school or go to the park alone, parents, back in the day, gave their children more freedom and independence.
Nowadays parents are far more cautious about letting their children go anywhere alone. I can understand the concern – but I also think it is a shame that we live in an era where anxiety is so pervading.
But back to the McCanns and the trolls. What sort of person slags off parents, who have quite clearly been through a horrendous ordeal, while cowering behind the anonymity of a stupid online name? The answer is a coward that’s who.
If I am going to say something – even if it is controversial or unpopular – I will do so under my own name. If you don’t like it, I am happy to have a debate about the issue in hand. But I won’t cop mindless abuse and I won’t take anyone seriously if they don’t have the guts to put their name to their comments. If you believe in something, stand up and be counted.
If you are only willing to say something anonymously, then simply don’t say it at all and let the people with real convictions do the talking.