Separation does not equal immunity

It is not often that I am truely let down by society. I try to be understanding and accept that some humour is just not my cuppa tea. However, I do not believe that practical jokes that scare and evoke terror in an audience can ever be laughed at.

Recently, I fell victim to this type of sick joke. I was sitting at work, carefully repacking 2000 hotel slippers for an upcoming event. Although many may have preferred to have needles stuck in their eyes, I found this job strangely therapeutic. I was very calm when I heard the distinctive vibrate of my mobile phone lying across the table. Taking a break from the synthetic slippers, I opened the message from an old friend.

It seemed to be a warning from Nine MSN Melbourne. They were reporting that road closures would be occuring on the 5th March 2015, due to an Islamic State bomb threat. There was a link to the potentially closed routes. Naively, I clicked this link. Up popped a large, African-American man, undressed and in a very offensive position.

I nearly threw my phone across the room. People have been forced to flee their homes, families have been ripped apart, journalists have been decapitated and the French are in an uproar after the ‘Je suis Charlie’ crisis, and this idiot has found a way to use that fear to trick people. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I simply cannot see the humour in that.

This is not an instance where humour can soften the blow. This issue should not be used to gain cheap laughs. Imagine if that message had ended up in the hands of a parent of one involved in the Sydney Seige. I cannot see them finding that at all funny.

Living in Australia, and being isolated from the world by sea, is not a barrier to wars fuelled by religeon. It’s time those who have been blinded by the misperception that we are untouchable snap to reality. While freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, the consequences of our words and actions cannot be ignored. Think before you post.

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