The other day, my husband came home from walking our family dog, which he does three times a day.
He said he’d come across an older lady in the woods with her dogs, one of her dogs – a big, old one – had grumbled or snapped and they’d had the dog equivalent of handbags at dawn. My husband dragged them apart, put our dog back on his lead, apologised and checked that there were no injuries, which of course there weren’t…
And then the woman took his photo.
Yesterday, a friend confirmed his suspicions and told us the news that he had the dubious honour of having his face plastered all over Facebook, being ‘named and shamed’ for having an out of control dangerous dog and being a general n’er-do-well.
|I’ve hidden his face, not because of anonymity issues, obviously, but because it’s a bloody awful photo and he’d kill me.|
The post had been shared over 600 times, all over the local area, by friends of friends and into local Facebook groups, and it had received some alarmingly vile comments.
He looks like a thug. Pig. You can tell that dog is horrible and violent, it should be put down. Why don’t you take pepper spray with you? Disgusting man, should be arrested. Looks simple.
I was astounded.
The vigilante mindset of some people; middle aged people at that, aiming such vitriol at a lovely, gentle, non-confrontational (and most definitely not simple) man was truly disturbing. Needless to say it’s extremely upsetting that so many people can be so thoroughly horrible sitting behind their keyboards, deciding the facts for themselves based on what someone has written on Facebook.
It made me so angry; I did nothing all day but read the comments and get increasingly frustrated, receiving spontaneous messages of support from friends who’d seen the post wondering what the fuck was going on, knowing my husband and my dog and obviously not believing a word of it.
Now I’ll say here that our dog might be a jerk, he might bark at the door and get in the way, but the only injury you’d ever get from him would be one from falling over him in the dark. He’s a lover not a fighter.
But hey; I guess I would say that wouldn’t I?
It’s here I veer dangerously into he-said-she-said territory. I’ve obviously known my husband for over ten years and know him to be one of the least confrontational, calmest people I have ever met. He doesn’t lie. I’ve also known our dog for almost five years, from the day we rescued him and I know all the hard work that mu husband has put into socialising him with other dogs, and it all leads me to believe that it’s unsubstantiated bollocks. I could point out that her own picture of the aggressive attacker, in which you can quite clearly see he is surrounded by other dogs and on a lead…
But even if it were true (and lord knows there would have been pictures of the injuries if it had been); the whole thing is needless. What was she hoping to achieve? And what happened to dealing with issues like a human being? Reporting to the appropriate channels and let them decide what the correct course of action is? Don’t run to Facebook, stir up a frenzy and ask your baying mob to do your work, without thinking of the consequences for the poor man and his family that you are humiliating and upsetting in the process.
If she reads this, and I doubt she will because I can’t imagine 600+ angry idiots sharing this post, my message to her is this:
Naming and shaming and spreading hateful bullshit on the internet makes you a stupid twat.
You might not have written the comments yourself, but you are responsible for encouraging every single one of them and you should be ashamed of yourself, you hateful, bitter old woman.
Now, I guess it could be fairly easy for me to screencap this lady’s profile from which this post was publicly available, and offer it round to my followers asking them to like and share for any number of made up reasons, but of course although mildly entertaining this would make me no better than her and her mob of trial-by-facebook guilty-til-proven-innocent halfwits.
Shame on you, all of you.
After publishing a similar plea on my Facebook page for people not to share such vindictive tripe without thought and reporting the post numerous times, the post has since been deleted or made private but no apology has been received. The post may be gone, but the screencaps and the hurt still remain.
Fortunately for my husband, he doesn’t bother much with Facebook. Fortunately for the lady, he is the peaceful kind and a thoroughly decent human being; the antithesis of the thug she attempted to paint him as.
Still, it’s not cool.
Social media can be a fantastic place; I love Facebook (as you may have guessed) but this really shows a different side to it.