Anonymous Internet Postings More likely to Harm Community Relations

Posted 24 January 2013 by in Editorial

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Round Dance

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug members in a Round Dance to support Chief Spence

THUNDER BAY – Editorial – Anonymous Internet postings are more likely to harm community relations. From Youtube and Twitter an anonymous group is attacking the Thunder Bay Police Service. The attack comes at a time when the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation and the Thunder Bay Police have been working together to build better relations. The message from behind the anonymous Youtube video and the groups Twitter postings is to try to push the Thunder Bay Police Service.

Anonymous Internet Postings Harmful

The reality in my opinion is that the move is likely to backfire, and harm the relationships more than help them.

“Above all do no harm” – that is the credo for a physician or first-responders. It should be the credo for politicians, activists and those looking to build rather than destroy.

In putting forward insults and threats, those behind the online postings are demonstrating a failure to understand that simple credo of how to build a relationship.

Simply put, one can no force friendship on another. Co-operation under threat is not workable either.

Likely the result of the implied threat to police is going to take scarce resources away from needed efforts if police officials take the implied threats and accusations seriously.

Strategically, those behind the anonymous postings might think what they are doing is going to help. Realistically, what they have done is driven yet more wedges between the Aboriginal community in Thunder Bay and the rest of the community and likely too with police.

From behind the hiding spot of their computer screens came nothing to offer solutions, simply an attack – an attack that won’t help Thunder Bay move forward.

Having attended several Idle No More events, including the rally at Fort William First Nation where Chief Collins and Idle No More spokesperson Joyce Hunter spoke about the attack on the woman, there was a message of respect from both the Chief and from Idle No More.

That respect will build toward the future and will build solid bridges to our community’s future.

Respect will build for the Future

It is also likely that no matter how smart those anonymous content creators believe they are, the Internet leaves tracks. Over the holiday season there was a web attack on several websites in Thunder Bay. Those attackers were tracked through the Internet footsteps they tried to cover up. Likely those making the anonymous postings are capable of being tracked too.

Courts in France have just today ruled that Twitter must release information on some of their users who were using their services. The reality is bringing concerns to the table is a mature and important part of the process.

Likely it will be up to the authorities to determine how my time, talent and energy to dedicate to tracking those posts.

The relationship between First Nations peoples and the Thunder Bay Police is one that needs to be improved. One can be certain that both sides, through talking with each other are going to accomplish far more than anyone who hurls threats and insults from behind their computer screen.

When people need help in Thunder Bay, it is our Police Service who top the list of those people call. Anonymous attacks are likely to enflame the debate, not help build relationships.

That, of course is just my opinion, as long said, your mileage may vary.

James Murray

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