Within the last month, Amos Yee has become the latest in a string of individuals who have exhibited insensitivity and poor judgement with their social media postings.
Let’s review what has transpired: a 16-year-old boy posted a series of insensitive, even disturbing commentaries to the chagrin of a wider community. Instead of addressing the gravity of his actions, what ensued was an escalating raising of pitchforks, people across different ages and backgrounds baying for blood, some literally.
When emotions get the better of us, we lose the sensibility to know where to draw the line. Some of us have gone well beyond the bounds of decency, in many cases being more offensive – vulgar and threatening even – than the original post we objected to.
It is neither a proportionate response, nor the mark of a civilised society.
Tasteless videos and posts are no excuse for responding with vindictive attacks and threats of unspeakable violence. There is a difference between objecting, however strongly, to something that offends us, and meting out an eye for an eye, or worse.
Vengeance is not justice. The way we respond to offence can reflect more poorly on ourselves than the original offender.
We don’t have to be this way.
We can disagree and still remain civil. We can register our objection to an offence, and still do so graciously. We must, if we want to live as a society that is mature in dealing with things we don’t like or agree with.