Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

A case for no comments

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Want to lose all hope for humanity? Don’t waste your time watching The Bachelor or listening to Justin Bieber. No need to travel to Darfur or the Burmese police state. Just read the comments section of every major news website, including ours.

With only the occasional exception, it is a moral wasteland of racism, small-mindedness, ignorance and slander.

The comments on this morning’s story about the 42-year-old man shot by police prove my point with twisted eloquence. They were shameful. Commenters openly celebrated the death of man in a back alley on Mother’s Day and convicted him of some vague crime based on a complete paucity of evidence. Here’s a sample of the comments, appalling grammar and spelling intact:

well if he was committing a crime and ended up getting killed i dont care. The citizens of winnipeg are tired of always the innocent getting hurt,its about time a criminal got what he deserved.

Excellent work WPS!!

one less criminal on the streets......good job WPS!!

Good to see the Winnipeg Police doing their job.

Dawn, give us a break. This "person" got what he deserved! You keep your nose out of trouble, you don't get shot by police. Why didn't HE think about the consequences of his actions for his own family? More oxygen for the rest of us!

One down, too many to go....

Good job, WPS? Got what he deserved? Do these people vote and sit on juries and coach hockey and teach school and serve communion? Are these really the views of the silent majority of our citizenry, and I am just too cloistered to know it? Is this Beaumont, Texas in 1958?

Before you say I am a bleeding heart who is soft on crime, you should know the shooting happened three doors down from my house, in the alley where good friends of mine walk with their babies almost daily. There were cop cars on my curb, police tape blocking my back lane and a parade of reporter friends cutting through my yard all day Sunday.

Those comments, like so many on every news site, are little more than bloodlust. Anyone who believes the comments section fosters any kind of reasonable discourse is delusional. It is a failed experiment. It’s the worst kind of mob mentality, where people can vomit out venom under the cover of anonymity. It’s the online version of guys in white hoods.

If you are a decent, thinking person, combat those comments by posting your own, or report them as offensive. I beg you.

And, if you really think Lance Trevor Muir deserved to die, put your name on it so his mother knows who you are. I dare you. 

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