The UK — most notably London — is a mess. When parents used to tell their kids to be aware of their surroundings to stay safe, it usually meant looking both ways before crossing the street or noting the fire exit signs in movie theaters. Now, you also have to make sure your kids are safe in the real world and cyberspace because merely liking or sharing a post on the internet can get them in trouble.
Real World Troubles
People are leaving London in droves. Last year, more than 340,000 residents decided it was time to call it quits and leave. Crime is one of the biggest reasons residents are fleeing. Murder and manslaughter have reached 10-year highs. London’s knife crime epidemic seems to have no end in sight, and Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking the brunt of the blame. London Police recorded more than 40,000 knife crimes (offenses involving the use of knives and similarly sharp instruments), but those are only the ones police know about. Children are not safe from these horrific incidents as 20 percent of these crimes involve children — either as victims, perpetrators, or both. Schools have been forced to install metal detecting knife arches. Drugs and drug dealing is a big part of the problem as more than 50 percent of all murders have some connection to illegal drugs.
The Online Thought Police
The real words may seem scary but don’t expect your online escape to be safe either. Just sharing or liking a post can warrant a visit from the police. Things have become extreme, calling a biological male a man can land you in jail. Several UK residents have felt the wrath of the thought police for posting jokes or funny videos on the internet. One notable incident is when YouTube comedian Mark Meechan was convicted for teaching a pug the Nazi salute. While this humorous video would have gone unnoticed in the era of Benny Hill, humor is now strictly policed, and offending even the smallest group of people is a crime. It would be fair if the law were applied to everyone. Unfortunately, it is not. Merely disliking a given nationality or ethnic group can be considered a crime as long as they’re not UK residents or white. You can safely say that you dislike Scots, the English, even Christians, but once you say you dislike Africans or Muslims, you can expect a visit from the police.
Every police officer searching for offensive online content or responding to reports of offensive remarks is one less patrolling the streets. The Metro should focus on actual crime and not imagined or thought crimes. Being offended is not the same as being stabbed. Police and the government should stop worrying about hurt feelings and stick to actual victims that are dying on the streets.
Whether you’re on the streets of London or online, you are always at risk. Criminals can stab you on the roads, and police will arrest you for an errant post.