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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

That social media over reaction


This week I became Alice in Twitterland. I got sucked down the social media rabbit hole and ended
up in the nonsensical world of Twitter-rants.

I am not proud of it.

I try hard to keep my social media feeds full of funny thoughts and memes. I pry my hands from the keyboard when things become too political because I know you can’t solve or help the world’s problems in 140 characters. But this week I chased that White Rabbit down the hole and gulped from the bottle labeled “Drink Me” until I became as small as the rest.

I told a Monk off. I told you I am not proud of my behaviour.

I made the mistake of thinking Twitter was like Facebook. Then I realized to late that it wasn’t. Twitter is the Wild West with outlaws and gunslingers and makes Facebook look like Downton Abby.

My crime? I Tweeted “For those who convict Police officers without seeing or hearing facts from the investigation, Lord we pray @UnvirtuousAbbey”

It began an avalanche of hate Tweeted back at me. I had no idea what I did wrong. I really didn’t get it. I also posted it to Facebook and received nothing but love.

Apparently you can support cops on Facebook but not on Twitter.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a mean spirited person. I don’t take joy in anyone’s pain. I am active in my church, all about family and spend a lot of time helping charities. I try to be a nice person.

I am also the wife of a retired Police officer and I am a retired Civilian Member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During my career 14 of our members were murdered across this country. I lost track of how many died due to accidents or other means. Three people I worked with committed suicide.

I know what it is like to get out of your car in the morning and look up to see the flag at half-mast then wonder “What happened overnight? Who’s dead? Do I know them? Was it here?” I know what it’s like to sit through the funerals and memorial services and hear the muffled crying of those around you. I know what it’s like to see a tear roll down the face of a man you though was bullet proof and feel the chill going up my spine when you know everyone in the room is thinking “There but for the grace of God go I.”

I know what it’s like to get a call from the Communication Centre at 2:00 AM telling me my husband is in the Emergency Unit again. I know what it’s like to watch your husband leave for work then have your heart jump out of your body every time the phone rings or someone knocks on the door because you know you have to be ready for the worst at all times. I know what it’s like to tell kids “You can open the big gifts as soon as Daddy gets home” or “I am sorry I missed your concert I just couldn’t leave work.”

I get passionate when it comes to standing up for Police.

I made a simple statement that those in policing would understand… wait until the investigation is complete and then decide who is right and wrong. I was called “racist”, accused of “praising murders” and interfering with the grieving process.

I did not know any of these people but they felt entitled to spew their hate and anger towards me. I felt like deleting my Twitter account and felt deflated and attacked for days. It really affected me.

These people felt they had a right to say whatever they wanted on Twitter but I didn’t. I think it is indicative of the world we live in. Where people feel they have a right to walk up to a Police officer trying to do his/ her job, hurl insults at them and then record it on their phone so they can post it to social media to gain sympathy.

What if I went to their work place and hurled insults at them and recorded it and posted it to my social media accounts. That would be called harassment, wouldn’t it?

The Police are held to a higher standard. I know. But maybe the public should be held to a higher standard too.

When it comes to issues and problems, there’s a right way and a wrong way to solve and deal with them. Then there is that social media over reaction where ever armchair critic in the world can hide behind their keyboards and belittle celebrities for being overweight, athletes who drop a ball, parents who look away for a second and cops who are trying to do their job.

We all take a slug of that “Drink me” potion every now and again, making us too small.

Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

I am not deleting my Twitter account. I am also not going to get caught up in the social media over reaction anymore. It is a nonsensical world and not a world I want to be part of.