Local man, Martin Shuttlecock, today launched an astonishing broadside directed at internet trolls - trolls being people who cause malevolent mischief and deliberately set out to provoke and upset others online - by saying that in extremis, such trollish activity could feasibly result in extreme consequences for the unfortunate recipient.
In a week which has featured a particularly tragic apparent suicide by a high profile sports figure, internet trolls who have actively encouraged some pretty desperate people to go over the edge, have been highlighted in many circles, in this case, by pathetic satirist, Martin Shuttlecock - who according to rumour is usually "so drunk that he couldn't burn his own buttocks with a loaded pair of blowtorches."
"In my online community," Shuttlecock stated. "Trolls are usually regarded as a minor irritation at best, but some trolls do, inevitably take things to extremes. An American chap named William Melchert-Dinkel actually encouraged vulnerable people to commit suicide by way of internet chatrooms. The point is that we all have a responsibility towards other internet users, but for certain individuals, there don't seem to be any boundaries. Some people think that there are lines which it is perfectly acceptable to cross, without consideration of consequence."
For once, Shuttlecock appears to have a point. In recent months, in just one example, hoteliers have reported receiving demands for cash incentives from 'customers' who threaten to make their business look bad online, unless the hoteliers pay 'protection' money. It is all just an extension of the con-trick. Sometimes it plays on the victim's greed, other times it plays on the victim's vanity, but in the most insidious cases, it plays - or preys - on the victim's vulnerability.
Trollism can take the form of financial, emotional, or life-threatening exploitation.
Online incitement or victimisation is recognised and acted upon by most law enforcement agencies across the Western world as a criminal offence, and is punishable by law. (Ref: William Melchert-Dinkel.)
Law enforcement agencies around the world tend to take a very dim view of the activity, and in extreme cases, tend to co-operate in order to bring the troll concerned to justice. A simple fact which makes Shuttlecock feel a whole lot better, but not necessarily some of the more vulnerable members of society.
"What it is, right," Shuttlecock told reporters. "I'm a bit of a brainless bugger meself. And that. But I read on the net that some bloke had topped himself because the papers had threatened to out him as being gay. Apparently, he was quite high profile. But that's of no consequence. The point here, is that, suicide is never a good option. I've had a pretty traumatic time of things recently, and to be perfectly honest with you, the thought of throwing myself off a high building, or falling under a train, has been tempting, but it really isn't the answer.
"I'd just like to send a message to anybody contemplating a similar course of action - don't do it. It's as simple as that. No matter how bad things seem, there's always a way. There's always tomorrow. You can't possibly have tomorrow if you cut yourself down today. Suicide is final. There's no chance of ever setting things right once that step is taken. And you certainly will not be hovering in a cloud above your funeral watching everybody dear to you grieve and tearfully lay flowers - death isn't fucking Patrick Swayzee in 'Ghost.' Death is invariably unpleasant. And sometimes messy. And not at all romantic.
"I'd tell people : Don't worry about what anybody ever says about you. It's irrelevant. None of it matters a shite. But if you do feel that way, pick up the phone. Talk to somebody - sometimes a stranger can be better. Outsiders can be very good at putting things in their true perspective. But don't try to deal with your problem alone. No matter how desperate things may appear, there's usually a way around it.
"Sometimes it takes an older, wiser, head to advise, but there are solutions available. Seek help. It's out there. In my experience, people who commit suicide genuinely believe that the world will be a better place without them. It's because they care, and they're essentially decent individuals, and the world remains a better place WITH them. Don't feed the fucking trolls."
Martin Shuttlecock will be attending the writers and readers jolly-up in The Coal Hole in The Strand, Londinium, on Saturday December 3rd 2011, to discuss 'must have' stocking filler, 'The Dorking Review'...and probably end up splashing about in the Thames for a bit.
Or something equally pathetic.
But think on: Don't feed the trolls.
More as we get it.