Sunday Sound Off: Grief Trolls

I’ve tweeted nearly 30,000 times so it’s easy to say that I’m a Twitter fan. I love the way I can interact with people I don’t know who read this blog, with friends abroad and with random strangers and I find I’m forever clicking links to read and look at things that never would have come in to my realm were it not for this odd little social networking site.

My friend compares it to writing on a bathroom wall because you’re putting something out there permanently and have no idea who is going to be reading it. I have nearly 1,000 people following my inane twittering of which I know a handful in real life, have interacted with a few more on the site and would consider them online friends and yet I have hundreds more that I’ve never spoken to who see these little snippets of my daily life. Snippets is all it can take to build up a connection to someone and in turn you feel you’re sharing their life, the good, the bad, the funny and the downright ugly.

This morning it was the downright disgusting that made its way into my Twitter consciousness when I saw that the Westboro Baptist church known for its extreme stances against homosexuality and its picketing of funerals of American servicemen and women had tweeted a grieving Mother to accuse her of money making from her terminally ill son.

Unfortunately there are those sick people in the world who feel it is appropriate to send vile messages to people going through hell. I can’t comprehend what sort of person would take time out of their day to do something so horrendous. It’s not even just those Baptist whack-jobs that do it either, there’s been an upsurge of it in the press recently with a 25 year old being sentenced to 18 weeks in prison because of grief trolling comments made on Facebook.

What’s the world coming to when grieving families can’t just be left in peace? Internet trolling is not a new phenomenon, it’s been around as long as the net itself. Mainly it’s just boring people trying to appear more exciting by pretending to be someone or something they’re not however this new spin on it is abhorrent and makes my blood run cold. It’s easy to say that perhaps grieving families shouldn’t be on Facebook or Twitter because they have something more to be worried about however these networking tools have become so integral to daily life and such a way of expressing emotion, sharing memories and comforting words that for some people it’s what they need. I’ve got no bones with you if you want to pretend to be Colin Firth’s stepdaughter (as one particularly memorable troll I came across did) or if you pretend you’ve got four Ferrari’s in the garage but when you start behaving in such a foul way as this, then I’ve got a serious problem with you.


  • Normally I’d link to any sites mentioned here however if you want to go and read their shite then you’ll need to do your own Google search.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Sound Off: Grief Trolls

  1. They don’t take time out of their day to do this. It IS their day. Spreading their hate is all they do. They call themselves a “Baptist” church, but they’ve been disavowed by every legitimate Baptist denomination. When they’re not protesting, they’re defending themselves in court; several of the Phelps family members are lawyers, and a few of them have even managed not to get disbarred.

    We take our free speech well-done with all the trimmings. Speech has to demonstrably cause harm before we’ll silence it with prior restraint. Sooner or later the verifiable mental anguish they inflict with malice aforethought will be their undoing. They just better not show up at anything I’m involved in.

    1. Margie Phelps tweeted from her iPhone to say that they were going to picket the funeral of Steve Jobs, the irony of that clearly passing her by however she later added to that saying that if it was a private funeral they’d leave it alone however if it was a public event they’d be all over it. It seems to have been an attempt at a tiny shred of decency amongst all the hatred although why it should make any difference as to whether it’s public or private is beyond me.

      The WBC make their living from hatred but it’s the kids that have quote unquote normal lives who do such horrid things that I can’t understand. The Phelps family are entrenched in hatred and it’s all they know but others appear to be quite sane individuals until they get behind a keyboard. I’m just glad I live in the UK who have banned the WBC from entering.

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