Online intimidation can never be part of civil discourse

Bullies aren’t only in the schoolyard

A good deal of recent media attention has been directed to bullying in the schoolyard, but much less to the equally serious topic of adult bullying in the online community. While school children’s abuse rightfully occupies centre stage in our public concern, less well-documented are the long-term corrosive effects of subtler forms of public intimidation, wherein anonymity of the internet encourages covert bullies in the psychologically cruel exploitation of the solitary, weak, the defenceless and vulnerable.

The pathological world of politics comes readily to mind, but more general forms of pervasive bullying can be found in situations where one group of persons, elected or appointed, manages the affairs of a largely passive and powerless subject populace.

Incited by inflammatory rhetoric, attention-getting hyperbole, self-aggrandizement and outright lies of their principal self-anointed “suzerain,” these digital “trolls” vent their hatred on anyone whose innate qualities and perspective differs from their own, even inventing negative moral attributes to the “Other” to excuse or justify their animosity. Envious of qualities they do not possess, buttressed by the apparent approval of a putative perceived majority opinion, but echoing the vitriolic utterances of their “glorious leader” they only reinforce his inane agenda. Indeed, there is created a symbiotic relationship, albeit a dysfunctional one, since neither the principal nor the hate-monger acolytes can flourish in absence of each other.

Intimidation can never be considered a viable part of any polity, any “progressive forward society” even in the democratic process of the America of this November 2018. Contrary to the bully’s opinion, it does matter whether one is intimidated or not. There is a great deal of truth in the old sailor’s proverb: “Scratch a bully and watch a coward bleed.”

Owen Delane,


Just Posted

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

COLUMN: Should elected officials block constituents and reporters on social media?

Ottawa mayor was sued for doing that but a Chilliwack school trustee didn’t get that message

Chilliwack-Hope MP says new summer jobs grant application no longer includes ‘values test’

Those with anti-abortion beliefs left out last year because of requirement to respect the Charter

Ask the Coach: Chilliwack Chiefs bench boss Brian Maloney talks shootouts

Ask the Coach is a bi-weekly feature where Maloney gives unfiltered answers to fan questions.

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read