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Pom in Oz opinion with Derek Goforth: Keyboard warriors’ calls for vigilante justice is not helping anyone

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Whingeing about the justice system from behind your computer or phone is not going to help anyone.
Camera IconWhingeing about the justice system from behind your computer or phone is not going to help anyone. Credit: Don Lindsay/The West Australian

It’s a sad reality that there are sick people in our society. People who struggle with discerning right from wrong and who often use their power to abuse or manipulate others.

There is one crime that is guaranteed to get people scared, paranoid and up in arms — crimes of a sexual nature.

Yet again in Geraldton we have reports of a person allegedly committing inappropriate sexual acts, followed by the use of social media to call for help for information that may lead to their arrest and prosecution.

And again, sadly, this use of social media leads to the usual moronic and often extreme views and opinions of people spewing over our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

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I don’t need to quote anything directly. I am sure you could find what I mean within 30 seconds of looking. People calling for “old- fashioned justice” or “people to do what the police cannot”. Keyboard warriors are not quite as brave to put much specific down, but talk of chopping off body parts, being locked in a private room with the suspect for 10 minutes, and so on.

If push ever came to shove, the people spouting this nonsense would most likely run a mile when faced with a criminal of any sort, much less carry out “their own justice”.

I want to make it really clear that I am in no way, shape or form defending any action of a criminal nature and most certainly not offering any sort of defence for what went on last week. But I am also appalled and disgusted by the mob justice attitude of a section of our community.

A couple things need to be considered. Firstly, there is such a thing as due process — innocent until proven guilty. No, a grainy photo of a suspect is not an affirmation of guilt, neither is your opinion or the belief of your drinking buddy. No matter how sure you are of someone’s guilt, it’s up to the judicial system to carry that through, not the armchair judges and juries.

Secondly, if or when someone is found guilty, it’s not your job to carry out any form of justice, no matter how “broken” you feel our justice system is.

If you think something needs fixing, then lobby your Members of Parliament, join an action group or a protest group.

Stop voicing your ignorant and sad opinions on Facebook pages.

Yes, our justice system is frustrating. Yes, at times it seems futile, but it’s the only one we have and whingeing about it from behind your computer or phone is not going to help anyone.

Sandra Carr, Lara Dalton, Mark McGowan. I can name a few more. Write to them, phone them, visit them — you never know the squeaky wheel might just get the oil!

Derek Goforth is a teacher at Geraldton Christian College

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