Man Does Not Live In The Present or The Future

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Internet trolls should be held accountable if wish to express ‘Freedom of Speech’.

I personally think it is abundantly clear that we should be held accountable if wish to express ‘Freedom of Speech’..

In fact, accountability and responsibility are fundamental to the existence of our modern society, otherwise there would be no incentive to follow the law. Everyone wants freedom of speech for the viewpoints they like. It’s when viewpoints they dislike rear their heads that people start to change their tune pretty quickly. It is an ideal few disagree with yet fewer are actually willing to defend it. But as much freedom as we feel ourselves entitled to, we must not forget that our actions have repercussions.

Maybe it is about time we collectively decided to grow up and accept that we should be responsible for what we say and do at all times. If you feel like the Internet is a place where you can vent your anger through abusive remarks, then perhaps you need a healthier way of dealing with anger instead of involving other people in it.

The Internet is the home of free speech in the modern world. It’s a place where physical force is useless and people from another side the world can connect in relative anonymity. A place where dissidents can express their viewpoints without the fear of retribution. It is the perfect opportunity, the perfect vessel, for free opinion. However, the Internet is not free – it’s at war. The internet may be free of physical violence, but the world is not. What we take as “politically incorrect”, can be truly offensive for some people.

Do people take advantage of this anonymity? Of course they do. Once the shackles of social norms and fear of punishment come away, the most ghoulish and uneducated of opinions seem to rear their heads, and cruellest and most insensitive sides of people get shown. But our freedom to speak is a freedom that we should be careful to give up. When we start censoring our voices on the basis of moral value we are greasing up a slippery slope towards tyranny. A clear line should be drawn between what is “trolling”, what is tasteless humour, and what is merely unpopular opinion badly phrased. We have to distinguish between what is hate speech and what is merely radical opinion.

The majority of these trolls are merely provocateurs, revelling in the freedom that the medium gives them, with children and the mentally ill heavily represented amongst them. The answer to internet trolling must be much simpler and mundane, coming from within publications, they can place stricter moderation on what you can and can’t say before the law has to get involved. Taking steps towards opening up the Internet as a forum for debate as opposed to cesspit of distasteful, intentionally hurtful nonsense.

If you can agree that we should be held accountable for our actions, the question that remains is whether 2 years in jail is fair for Internet hate speech.

Verbal hate speech has a variety of maximum jail sentences, but specifically threatening to kill will lead to up to 10 years in jail. The only difference between verbal abuse and online abuse is the form in which it’s expressed, so then why does a comparatively measly 2-year jail sentence attract so much attention? Ideally both forms of abuse should be treated equally.

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40th anniversary of pub bombings that led to ‘one of the worst miscarriages of British justice’

Today is the 40-year anniversary of two pub bombings in 1974, which killed 21 people and injured 182, that led to the charges and unjust life sentences of the Birmingham Six.

Bombs planted in the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs blew up ten minutes apart at 8.17pm and 8.27pm on 21 November and, although telephone warnings were sent to local newspapers six minutes before, the venues were not evacuated in time before detonation.

Six Irish men were jailed in 1975 for 16 years before their convictions were quashed in, what is considered to be, one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history. They had claimed that police forced them to sign confession documents through methods of physical and psychological torture.

Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Johnny Walker, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny and Billy Power walked away from the Old Bailey on 14 March 1991 having had their innocence proved with the help of journalist, MP and campaigner Chris Mullin.

Members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) were believed to have been the perpetrators as they had carried out bombings in England since 1973, however the group never claimed responsibility for the pub incidents and no others have admitted liability.

#RoadSafetyWeek official single #LookOutForEachOther

Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest road safety event, coordinated by the charity Brake, and involving thousands of schools, communities, emergency services and employers. It exists to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads.

We all use roads to get around and most of us use them in different ways: often a mix of walking, catching the bus or driving, and maybe cycling, running or skating too. Of course, however we use roads, we are all people underneath just trying to get about, but some road users are especially vulnerable and need protecting by those of us in charge of vehicles.

Yet sometimes it can feel like roads are angry places where different road users are in different tribes and competing for space and priority. A simple lack of consideration and care can have awful consequences. It can mean people feel less able to get out and about and less likely to choose walking and cycling: kids not being allowed to walk to school, commuters not feeling able to cycle, families being more inclined to always use the car. It can also lead to tragedy: people suffering horrific injuries or even being killed because of someone going too fast, too close or not looking out.

Wouldn’t it be better if, instead of being stressful and risky, streets were places where everyone looked out for and protected each other, particularly the most vulnerable?

Lessons of Karma

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Check on your neighbours this winter

Every winter Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) promotes its ‘Check on your neighbours’ campaign. The campaign asks residents to take ten minutes out of their day to check on an elderly neighbour or relative and carry out a few simple checks to help reduce risks of fire in their home, particularly in the winter when the risk of fire can increase.

Through insight work, HFRS established the profile of people who were most at risk from having a fire in their home. Those most at risk tended to be elderly people who lived alone, often smokers or on medication and with some type of physical or mental impairment.

Allen Cunningham, Community Safety Manager for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“Winter can be a difficult time for elderly residents as the cold weather sets in and keeping warm becomes a priority. Fire risk in the home can increase due to people smoking indoors to stay out of the cold and using open fires and electric or gas heaters become more frequent.

“There are quick checks people could carry out when visiting an elderly neighbour or relative that really could make a difference to someone’s safety this winter and I urge people to get involved.”

How you could help:

1. Offer to check that your neighbour’s smoke alarm is working – Push the button and make sure the alarm sounds.

2. If your neighbour smokes, remind them to never smoke in bed or when tired, to always ensure cigarettes are fully extinguished in a proper ashtray.

3. Remind your neighbour never to leave cooking unattended and ensure the cooker is turned off before leaving the house or going to bed. Having a timer is a good reminder to turn the cooker off once finished cooking.

4. If they use a portable heater, remind your neighbour not to sit too close as fabric can catch fire. Advise them to not to leave heaters turned on overnight. If they use an open fire, ensure they use a fire guard.

Allen continued:

“Obviously, it is important to remind people to remain vigilant and only open the door to people you know and trust. It doesn’t need to take long, but just a quick regular visit can help to ensure our elderly neighbours and relatives are safe this winter.”

If you have concerns about a neighbour or relative and to find out if they are eligible for a free home safety visit, please call 0300 303 8242 or visit http://www.humbersidefire.gov.uk

How to be naked

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