internet troll jailed - a bit ott?

(205 Posts)
netherlee Tue 13-Sep-11 23:30:42

Troll jailed

OK this man is depraved and he deserved to be punished, but AIBU to think prison is a bit far? Then again, MN trolls take note. There are consequences if you cross the line.

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 13-Sep-11 23:32:07

No, I don't think prison is a bit far. He needs to be punished for the anguish he caused.

CaptainMartinCrieff Tue 13-Sep-11 23:34:06

No I think prison is the best place for him, he will have time to think through his actions and realise how much hurt he has caused to these bereaved families.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 13-Sep-11 23:34:15

What Bibbity said. Although I would hope he is also getting somekind of mental health support too. You'd have to be ill to do something like that surely?

silverfrog Tue 13-Sep-11 23:40:49

CMC, he has Aspergers. it is highly unlikely he is going to suddenly understand empathy - something he appears to have struggled with so far (understatement)

what he did was not right. but it is entirely possible he did not fully understand what he was doing.

Maryz Tue 13-Sep-11 23:47:20

I'm not sure that jailing this particular troll is going to have any effect though - education/social stories/counselling might be more useful (and cheaper for society as a whole).

It is entirely possible that he thought he was being funny. Many people I know with AS have warped senses of humour, few are deliberately cruel - being told that what they are doing is wrong is usually enough to change their behaviour.

If I thought he was doing it on purpose to upset the families, then I would be more inclined to support a jail sentence.

duchesse Tue 13-Sep-11 23:48:43

Sounds like he was being deliberately unpleasant actually. At the very least a wind-up merchant, assuming he really does have AS. Prison is be a bit extreme imo.

(Incidentally I do wonder about the people who are currently claiming AS when caught doing something illegal (eg that hacker guy, who MUST have known that what he was doing was illegal). Having AS does not affect IQ (clearly, if he managed to break into the Pentagon mainframe) nor level of understanding of clearcut issues like legality.)

ScaredyDog Tue 13-Sep-11 23:51:35

He should have got longer.

I'm no bleeding heart liberal, but we knew one of the families concerned. They went through hell with the loss of their daughter and this scumbag made it even worse for them.

Kind words at such a time can be a comfort. Evil comments like his only made their terrible situation even worse.

silverfrog Tue 13-Sep-11 23:53:16

"currentyl claiming AS", duchesse? are you suggesting that people can magic up this dx out of thin air, and that courts would pay attention without proper medical backing?

Gary McKinnon does not "claim" to have AS. he has AS - a huge difference.

having a high intelligence and understanding of legality does not mean that compulsive obsessions can be contained.

I think it's absolutely right to punish people who do this. I know of a horrible case where a young girl and her boyfriend died in tragic circumstances and someone posted the most vile things on their memorial pages. The pain it must have caused their families is unimaginable, and that someone could mock their loss like that is abhorrent. In this case an Aspergers diagnosis complicates the matter and I don't know enough about the condition to say whether it's an appropriate punishment but in general terms of course this behaviour warrants jail.

festi Tue 13-Sep-11 23:54:53

he should have gone to jail. his aspergers may have not been significant in his ability to know what he did was wrong. I would only be concerned if his aspergers made him vulnerable in jail, then I would say I dont think he should be sent to jail, but should be within the care of his LA.

duchesse Tue 13-Sep-11 23:56:25

I don't think it should in any way be a reason for reducing or dropping a sentence, no. Don't really see why it even comes into play if someone is of normal intelligence and is doing something frankly illegal.

Maryz Tue 13-Sep-11 23:56:41

No, having AS doesn't affect IQ - in fact many people with AS have higher than average IQ. What they don't have (which is very frustrating for people dealing with them) is any sense of "what if" or any ability to see into the future, to see what consequences their actions will have.

My son has no idea of "what might happen". If it hasn't happened yet (car crash, getting run over, getting arrested, whatever), then he can't imagine it happening iyswim.

Looking at facebook and other sites, with all the "funny" videos makes most people cringe. My son just thinks it's funny - you know, all those "You've been framed" crashes and accidents, well he wouldn't even think that someone might have been hurt.

I do agree, though, about sudden diagnoses seemingly just appearing in time to defend court cases - but if he already had a diagnosis, or was already Aspergery, then the money that is going to be spent on his jail time would be much better spent teaching him not to do things.

Because the one thing I have discovered with ds1 is that if I tell him that he has hurt someone's feelings (unintentially usually), he doesn't do it again.

netherlee Tue 13-Sep-11 23:57:05

Hmmm having AS probably can affect understanding of legal issues. Obviously the judge did not think it was enough an excuse if any. Lads I know with AS cause low level upset on a regular/maybe daily basis but can't see them stooping this low. Hard to tell though.

worraliberty Wed 14-Sep-11 00:01:36

I think jail is the right place for someone like that. It's about time courts started taking internet bullying more seriously when it's this extreme.

It's also possible to have AS and be a completely vile individual though. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 00:03:56

it is not as clear cut as intellegance or IQ duchesse. most often with AS it is about a ckear idea of consequences or how action affect others. Also some times in my experience some people who have AS in particular aspergers may test such situations for what apperas self gratification, but quite often it is a social immaturity, if you would like, probbaly not the best descripion, but in an attemt to explore how non AS people maty react so to enforce a pattern of expected behaviour or bewilderment at expected behaviour and to continually test that out to un earth any deviance to expectations.

but on the other hand he may well have had a very clear understaning of what he was doing and was acting out of sheer malice prescenting no vulnerability.

I think a psych assesment is very important, however, I would find it very sad and have had experience of very vulnerable people serving jail terms that have been very dteremantal to thier long term health and development.

duchesse Wed 14-Sep-11 00:05:23

I do however think that the internet provides a whole new level of removal from Other People that probably makes it more likely for an AS person to get it wrong.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:06:07

agree, worra. it is possible.

on the whole I agree with Maryz: time (and money) would be better spent on educating him as to why he shoudl not have been doing this.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 00:07:18

absolutly agree with that duchesse.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 00:13:11

I suspect the problem is that someone with AS, living on their own, probably removed from family and any social interaction, stops being aware of how their actions affect other people.

This "commenting on people who have died" quite possibly started slowly, with a couple of comments on pages, and then escallated when there was either no response or lots of attention - either could encourage someone on another screen to just up the ante, and start posting more and more shocking comments, just to get a response.

It is quite possible that he never thought of these people as real people, with feelings and families who could be hurt.

A few years ago a couple of teenagers near us were playing dare on the railway and got hit by a train sad. ds told us some horrible jokes about it (he must have heard them somewhere hmm, but the kids who said them to him probably had more sense than to tell their parents). I had to explain to him very clearly why they weren't appropriate, and why he shouldn't repeat them - he genuinely thought they were funny, which they would have been if there hadn't been real people involved iyswim.

I worry what will happen to ds when I'm no longer around to explain to him when he goes too far with jokes. People will think he is nasty, which he isn't, he just doesn't get the "line that shouldn't be crossed" that other kids just instinctively understand.

I'm not excusing this guys behaviour, by the way. I wonder had he got a warning and continued, or whether it was all found out at once? Because if he continued despite a warning then he has to be punished. But if this was a first offense (or a first "catch" iyswim), then explanation and counselling might be more of an effective deterrant.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 00:13:44

Yeouch, sorry, that was long blush.

ScaredyDog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:14:00

Whatever his diagnosis, he knew that creating a video of a girl who died by throwing herself under a train with a picture of her face on a train and calling it Tasha the tank engine would cause distress.

Otherwise why would he have done it? Why would he have posted such vile things about her and others who had died?

I'm sorry, he knew it was wrong, he said deliberately hurtful and devastating things that upset loved ones of those who died.

That's why he was found guilty.

ScaredyDog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:14:50

I should say he pleaded guilty.

DooinMeCleanin Wed 14-Sep-11 00:16:43

I commented before I read the article. I'd only seen a brief clip on the news while at work. I missed the AS bit. It does put a different spin on it, but I do think a message needs to be sent to others and the grief caused to the families needs to be acknowledged.

I'm not sure prison is appropriate if the AS dx is true. Either way I hope he gets the support he needs now, he is clearly a very unhappy individual.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:17:00

sorry, scaredydog, but it is entirely possible that he did not know that it was wrong.

I agree completely with Maryz's last post. my brother is HFA/AS and I can see exactly how he might do this sort of thing. he cannot see how things affect others, and he cannot see beyond the immediate.

he knows the technical definitions of right and wrong, and can recite the laws on various issues, but is unable to see how these laws, and his knowledge re: right/wrong actually apply to him and the situation he is in.

there is a big gulf between knowing soemthign and understanding it.

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