Power must be with the sober
Power without responsibility has often been said to be the preserve of the harlot. It speaks to the use of power in situations somewhat similar to that well known in the Barbadian vernacular as “monkey handling gun”.
The advent of the Internet has brought with it similar circumstances.
Many people have access to a computer and at the drop of a hat can communicate, informing or misinforming millions of people at a key stroke. It is a newfound power, which if exercised irresponsibly conjures up the harlot’s claim to fame.
Earlier this year riots broke out in parts of Britain, and two young men, aged 21 and 22, in two completely different cases, and in pristine stupidity, seized the opportunity to exercise what ever power they had to incite and encourage others to gather for a riotous assembly.
They did not succeed in bringing out the crowds because of the vigilance of the police who got wind of the postings and closed down the sites. But before then, these young men had posted messages on Facebook inviting people to meet at designated spots to engage in rioting.
Fortunately, no one attended and no rioting took place as a result of their activities, even though rioting was going on elsewhere, with which these young men were not connected.
The method they used to incite and invite was the World Wide Web, and the Crown Court sentenced them to four years’ imprisonment. Their appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. The judges spoke firmly and frankly.
We are unimpressed with the suggestion that in each case the appellant did no more than make the appropriate entry in his Facebook. Neither went from door to door looking for friends or like-minded people to join up with him in the riot.
All that is true. But modern technology has done away with the need for such direct personal communication. It can all be done through Facebook or other social media.
In other words, the abuse of modern technology for criminal purposes extends to and includes incitement of many people by a single step.
There can be few who will disagree with this robust approach. The Internet is a powerful tool. It can be used as a power for much good, but it can be misused by some people who prefer to use it to wreak havoc of one kind or other.
The message is now clear. Those who would exercise great power must equally recognize their duty to be responsible.