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One death too many….

Ivowed never to comment on the Madeleine McCann case on this blog… but in light of what has happened over the last few days and because of a certain Portuguese Blogger Joana Morais deciding to put my twitter handle to the dossier that was handed to the police with regards to the online harassment of the McCann family, I feel I should clear my name.

First and foremost I was never part of the dossier people, in fact in all honesty I don’t know the identity of the people involved. So to accuse me, Ms Morais, you are libelling me and defaming my character, so please cease and desist and remove my name from that graphic you created and tweeted, which people are now retweeting on Twitter, now.

Should this dossier have been handed to the media?  In hindsight no.

My opinion is that the media should have reported on such a dossier being given to the Police, but they should never have acted like judge and jury as they did in this case.  They could have given Brenda Leyland the chance to appear on camera if she so wished… but they should have applied pressure, if any pressure was needed, on the Police as to what they were doing with the dossier.

As far as I am concerned the harassment the McCanns are suffering on Twitter is a matter for the Police and the Police alone. The media are NOT judge and jury and they should never be.  The Leveson inquiry showed us what people went through, due to press intrusion. How innocent people were character assassinated and made to look as if they were guilty of a crime when they were totally innocent.  The Leveson Inquiry told us how headlines were made up… just to sell papers and how leaks from sources were NOT checked and verified, and lies and smears were printed in order to satisfy editorial headlines and paymasters.

With regards to the tragic death of Brenda Leyland, and that is what it is, very tragic; I can’t help but feel compassion for both Brenda and her family at this sad time.  What her thoughts must have been, to take such drastic action is beyond comprehension.  Perhaps the public humiliation and the stares and glares of village residents was too much for her.  Who knows?  My only wish, is that I wished she had found someone to talk to and not take the action she did.  Whether the guilt of what she did was too much for her to bear?  Or whether the prospect of spending time in jail frightened her? Again nobody knows.   But her death was her decision… albeit a tragic one.

As for Martin Brunt doorstepping her, well the facts are this…

  • Martin Brunt never divulged her address.
  • Journalists for years have been doorstepping people, we even watch programmes where dodgy builders have been caught on camera and asked pertinent questions due to their actions.  But in this case it was wrong, simply because there could have been pending charges laid against those named in the dossier.  It was down to the Police and not the media to name and shame. Identities should have only been revealed if and when these people were hauled before the courts and found guilty of their crimes.
  • Martin Brunt went to great lengths to say Brenda Leyland was not the worst offender by a long shot and throughout his broadcast he referred to her as Sweepyface and never used her real name.

We know how the other media reacted when they got wind of the story, but what we don’t know is, if they descended on Brenda’s home town, like a pack of wolves.  And if the way the media hounded, stalked and doorstepped the McCanns is anything to go by… if they decided to track down Brenda and pressured her for  an interview, then my sympathies go out to Brenda Leyland for having to deal with such a media onslaught.  Whatever Brenda Leyland did… one thing she didn’t deserve and that was to feel so alone, so abandoned and backed into a corner where the only way out she could see was to end it all.

As for the McCanns taking the blame, please don’t be silly and blame them.  They have never forced Brenda Leyland or anyone else for that matter, to post such horrendous comments on Twitter.  People do that of their own free will.  People have to learn to take responsibility for their own actions.  We are all human, we make mistakes, but we can see the error in our ways and make amends.

Just take a step back for a moment and imagine how you would feel if you were constantly at a barrage of abuse on social media platforms?  Would you just ignore it?  Or would you, want all those that are hurting, you and your family, both mentally and possibly physically to be held accountable for their actions?  The McCanns have categorically said they don’t use social media… how can they?

We have seen what happens when people even try to get a woman’s figurehead on a £10 note… they are threatened with rape and physical harm.  Can you imagine what would happen if the McCanns decided to take to Twitter?  They would be abused constantly.  Do we as the public have the right to hound people off of Twitter or put them in fear of joining Twitter? Most certainly not.  We are human beings, not vigilantes.

Eventually, the McCann’s youngest will want to be on Twitter and Facebook, just like their friends. What will happen should people find out they are on Twitter?  Again they would be abused or have tweets and messages directed at them blaming their parents for what happened to their sister.  Even today I read a comment from a South African businessman, who is threatening to tell the McCann’s youngest something he firmly believes.  Something that if he bothered to check his facts is totally impossible.

But how can we stop this harassment and persecution of people on Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media?  Because something has to be done… and it is not going to happen unless every nation on this planet gets together and agrees that online bullying and harassment is a criminal offence and something needs to be done to stop it.

The only solution I can see is to stop anonymity.  If we decided to take a megaphone out into our streets and lambast our neighbours because we don’t like them… the police would be involved and we would be charged with possible harassment and breach of the peace. But could we do this under anonymity?  Of course not, we couldn’t go out into our streets and use a pseudonym of ‘Imatwat’ could we?  We couldn’t walk into our local pub and shout obscenities at the landlord using our ‘Imatwat’ pseudonym.  We would be known by our real identity… so why are we allowed to use pseudonyms online.

Perhaps if people were made to use their real names… they might be less willing to spill their bile all over the place.  Yes there will be those with enough bravado, like an ex-solicitor and South African businessman who do use their own names, who will constantly continue their campaigns.. but that is when the law is needed and when it should be used to the fullest. Persecution of innocent people is not acceptable, it never has been and it never will be.  We need to protect the vulnerable, those who are easily influenced by others.  But above all we need to protect the victims of such attacks on the internet.

Our banks issue us with a card, that we can use over the phone, with a PIN number for use in shops, and if we use our card online we use the Verification number on the back of our card… One way forward is for all internet providers to provide their subscribers with such a verification number, where people have to enter these details and register who is going to use their internet.  That way the likes of Facebook, Twitter,  Yahoo, Twitter, Microsoft et al will be able to check if people are genuine, or whether they are trying to register with a fake ID.   You can’t join Paypal without confirming who you really are.  So why should we be allowed to join social media without confirming who we are?

People are going to shout about their human rights, but your human rights do not include, you being allowed to create a fake persona to harass, intimidate and persecute another person.  I use my real name and identity on all accounts… I use the handle ‘BrenR1958′ but that is my name, the first letter of my surname and year of birth.  On my Photography blog, we use our real names.  Anything I have to say is said under my real name.

Yes there is an argument about being safe online and not using your real name… but if everyone was made to use their real identity then and only then will keyboard warriors, hiding behind a keyboard spilling out vitriolic comments, be eliminated. The police would and should be able to then contact the hosts of platforms, ask for details and be given the verification number issued by the ISP provider and be traced easily.

The internet is not local, it is not your local pub or garden fence where you can have a gossip.  What you tweet or post on Facebook can and is seen by strangers.  Rumours grow arms and legs and become facts and then people are harassed.  We would conduct our real lifes like this, so why should we be allowed to conduct our online personas in such a terrifying and horrific manner.  Laws on internet use should be international and every country that refuses to sign up to an international charter should be blocked from transmitting on the internet.

Something needs to be done, not tomorrow, next week or even after the next election, it needs to be done now. Before more deaths occur due to online harassment.  Our press does need to be restrained and a proper code of conduct enforced, and our Police need to be given the resources needed in order for them to tackle a problem that is growing daily…. online abuse.

Just like all those deaths that have occurred where children, mainly, have committed suicide due to online bullying, Brenda Leyland’s death is one death too many.  RIP Brenda… and my thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time.

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When being funny, just wasn’t enough

Last night the grim news broke on news channels and social media that Robin Williams had died at the age of 63. And it is reported that Robin took his own life and had been suffering from depression.

I can remember when Mork and Mindy hit our TV screens and Mork’s favourite saying was ‘Nanu Nanu’.  As I child I laughed at the capers of Mork and how Mindy had to deal with the escapades he got himself in. Robin through his many roles, from Nanny to President, made us laugh and made us cry at times and he will be forever one of Hollywood’s greatest.

In light of Robin’s death, Jason Manford on Facebook posted the script from one of those episodes… It is rather ironic that later in life those words and reasons must have played a part in why Robin’s decision to take his own life.

“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir I‘m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.

Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

Depression hits all of us at some time, whether it be through illness, our jobs, or in general.  Depression and loneliness go hand in hand… People with depression want help, but sometimes we are just too damn scared to ask for it.  And when we do, some people jeer and make a mockery of depression.  Of course not forgetting the usual, ‘Pull yourself together’ line that people who are depressed are told, so often, to do

That is the sad part of depression, some people can’t pull themselves together, no matter how much they want to and no matter how hard they try to.

Robin Williams, was the funny guy, we his fans expected every time he was on our screens or in an interview to be funny, but did we fail to see that at times, that the funny guy just didn’t feel like being funny?

The person who is strong and who everyone turns to in times of need, at times in their lives feel that they have enough to contend with their own lives, yet alone anyone else’s, yet they feel obliged to help and listen, because they want to help others.  Do we fail at times to notice that they too may be suffering and they need us once in a while?

When depression hits, even simple thoughts playing heavily on a dark and saddened mind that is being tortured through anxiety, fear and depression.

By all accounts Robin Williams, tried to deal with his depression and other issues he had with alcohol, but unfortunately he could only see a dark side to everything… He couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, which inevitably led him to taking his own life.

No one will know what his thoughts were, what made him take his life… But us, those of us he has left behind, must learn that someone with depression needs help and we shouldn’t make mental illness feel like it is a stigma.  A stigma that a depressed person feels that they have to hide and not seek help from.  We shouldn’t make a person feel guilty or inadequate because they have a mental illness.

And each of us should remember that there are days when the funny guy doesn’t feel like being funny, and the strong person doesn’t feel like being strong…. But above all we must banish the feeling that people have when they are depressed… We must not make depression feel like a stigma and we must encourage people to seek help.  Failing to do so, will be like hiding depression in the cupboard behind everything and making depression a taboo subject and people fearful of seeking help.

Rest in Peace Robin Williams my thoughts and prayers are with your family, friends and colleagues at this sad time…. May they be allowed to come to terms with their loss and to deal with their grief in their own way and time, and most of all away from the glare of the media.

depression

Things are looking positive…

Accu-Chek Aviva Blood GlucoseAs I have mentioned under two weeks ago I was diagnosed as being Diabetic.. I don’t know what it was but I felt guilty for being diabetic… I thought it was a stigma; a result of not looking after yourself and living an unhealthy lifestyle. Years of eating the wrong thing, eating things that you knew were not good for you… Ice cream, sweets, sticky puddings etc.

And of course the years I smoked… Which I did give up in 2010.  Mind you I didn’t have half go wrong with me when I smoked as I have since I stopped smoking.  I never went to the Doctors, only if I felt so ill, and I couldn’t deal with it with over the counter medicines. My normal way of dealing with minor ailments would be to patch myself up, and carry on… Doctors were for real sick people; not me.

But the last four years, since giving up smoking I have done nothing but become a pin cushion and sat in surgery’s and hospital outpatients being diagnosed with one thing then another and then something else.  Makes me wonder whether I should’ve given up smoking. :D

nhs_prescriptionMy prescriptions were being produced in novel form now due to the number of items :D Thank God the NHS runs a Pre Payment certificate system, because having 8 different drugs to take a day, without the Diabetic one is very costly when each item on a prescription is charged at £8.05.

So paying for a yearly Prepayment Certificate at just over £10 a month was beneficial to me.

However, my Doctor did inform me, that now that I am Diabetic I don’t have to pay for prescriptions or eye tests.  Mind you I think I’d prefer to pay the £10 a month at times than having to give up things like a trifle and strawberry cheesecake.

The directions for taking this Diabetic drug Metformin was:

  • One tablet for seven days, 30 mins before breakfast
  • One tablet twice a day for seven days, 30 mins before breakfast and evening meal
  • One tablet three times a day for seven days, 30 mins before breakfast, lunch, and evening meal
  • And then 2 tablets twice a day, 30 mins before breakfast and evening meal.

I have done the first stage and am on the second stage… Come Tuesday I will be on the third stage before finally reaching the full dosage.  Anyway, when we went to town the other week I did purchase an Accu-Check Blood Glucose Tester from Boots, which wasn’t bad at just under £16.  Of course I tried it when I got home and because we had lunch out… I nearly died when the test strip said 20.1.

Anyway, when I had my initial fasting (12 hour) blood test the result was 18.3.  Way, way too high.  So today because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything within the last 10 hours, when I got up I got hubby to do a test.  And I was so pleased when the machine bleeped at me to say it was now 8.6.  Not perfect, but a whole lot better than it was three weeks ago.

And what makes that figure even more important to me is that last night we went out for a meal, and when it came to ordering a desert, my hubby ordered profiteroles and I asked for two spoons and I stole two of those profiteroles.  That waitress must have thought that we were tight buggers asking for two spoons. :D

I have found people, especially on Facebook and Twiiter, to be so helpful, people who either have diabetes or know someone who has.  Their tips about what you can and can’t eat really do help.  Especially today when this kind lady told me about how I could have something sweet at times, but after a meal and even better if I took a walk after it.

Friday, last week I received two letters, one enclosing my 5 year Medical Exemption Certificate and the other to phone for an appointment for the Diabetic 6 week course. Due to high demand I can’t go on mine until the end of October.

It is not a stigma to be diagnosed with Diabetes… It is just one of those things and in all probability mine was probably caused by taking steroids for a long period of time.

The only fear I have to overcome is the fear of doing the self-check…. I can’t bring myself to prick my finger.  Thank God hubby is on hand… He pricks my finger and I does the test for me.  That is what you get when you have a phobia of needles and blood.  You get a scaredy cat. :D

Facebook crashes …

And the world comes to an end… and it is breaking news. Oh yes there was mass hysteria as Facebook crashed at 9am… and for half an hour the world ended for those who spend all their time on Facebook, poking, liking and sharing as if there is no tomorrow.

Breaking News

The crash happened at around 9am, with the Facebook blue branding displayed alongside the message: “Sorry, something went wrong.”

The problem also affected Facebook’s apps.

By 9.20am, the site refused to load at all, with the message “service unavailable” shown on a white background.

However, by 9.30am users reported the site was functioning again.

And across our screens, Sky News classed this as a breaking news event

Facebook crashes

Seriously though, how can you call this Breaking News…. for the life of me I don’t know why any news channel would even warrant this as breaking news.  It is not as if the world would grind to a halt, or we had to take shelter, or we had only 5 minutes to live before everything we know was obliterated.  It is a social media platform… something we can live without. Believe it or not.

Do you know what?  Before Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all other social networking platforms became part of our lives… we survived.  Instead of sitting there and posting what we had for breakfast… we actually went out and spoke to real people, face to face.  How nice it was.

Before sitting there, waiting to get to the next level of some game, we interacted with family and played games where all the family could join in.

Before kids sat there glued to the computer or TV screen playing some role-playing game or other, they went to the park; kicked a ball around; played with other kids.

No wonder kids are pasty looking and piling on the pounds… the most exercise some of them get is getting up to switch the computer on or getting the laptop out of its bag.

Yes I am on Facebook… but if it crashes it crashes… end of…   No need to get my bowels in an uproar because I can’t like a post where someone has just checked in to McDonalds or Burger King and going for the 99p whooper.

Sky NewsFacebook is good to speak to friends and communicate with family… but it isn’t the be and end all of life.  And for the life of me it isn’t breaking news.  Come on Sky News… get some perspective here… Breaking News is real news stories… stories that affect real people and that highlight all the atrocities in this world.  It isn’t to report that there was a mass of people pulling their hair out because they couldn’t poke one another on Facebook.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Absolutely hilarious… had to share this

A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce, and asked, “What are the grounds for your divorce?”

She replied, “About four acres and a nice little house in the middle of the property with a stream running by.”

“No,” he said, “I mean what is the foundation of this case?”

“It’s made of concrete, brick and mortar,” she responded.

“I mean,” he continued, “What are your relations like?”

“I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband’s parents.”

He said, “Do you have a real grudge?”

“No,” she replied, “We have a two-car carport and have never really needed a garage.”

“Please,” he tried again, “is there any infidelity in your marriage?”

“Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don’t necessarily like the music, but the answer to your questions is yes.”

“Madam, does your husband ever beat you up?”

“Yes,” she responded, “about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do.”

Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, “Madam, why do you want a divorce?”

“Oh, I don’t want a divorce,” she replied. “I’ve never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can’t communicate with me.”

Stephen’s story

Stephen’s story

What an inspirational young man… kudos to you Stephen for raising so much money.

https://www.facebook.com/StephensStory

Kicking and Screaming…

KickingAndScreamingMy god this is seriously hard-work..  We are now in the 21st century and no-way is my other half going to welcome it by tuning into social media.

The closest I have got him to social media is by signing him up on Twitter.. and that was only because he wanted to moan about a particular point during one of the Moto GP races. And I wouldn’t let him use my Twitter account to moan. :D Continue reading Kicking and Screaming…

She is off again..

That is our mama… and him of course… All she keeps doing is this tweeting lark.. But when little sis and I look at her twitter timeline she is tweeting about what other people’s dogs can do..

First of all it was a baby giggling.. because one of my furry friends is trying to catch bubbles. Continue reading She is off again..

The war on Twitter: Social media sites threaten justice system, warns Attorney General

See on Scoop.itOn My Front Porch

Twitter and Facebook users are to be warned about the dangers of prejudicing high-profile prosecutions in a historic move designed to make contempt of court laws fit for the social media age.

Bren‘s insight:

I said it wouldn’t be long before something was done.. Trouble is he can release all the guidelines he likes.. but until some people are hauled before the courts and dealt with harshly then nothing is going to change.

See on www.independent.co.uk

The Decapitation of Facebook

Yfacebook1es we are all on it.. aren’t we? Facebook. The social networking site where you can share videos, pictures, chat to your friends and now watch a beheading.. that is providing you condemn it.

Facebook has upset quite a few people.. including old DishFace, who turned to Twitter to show his condemnation at the decision made by Facebook.. Yes Disface wrote on his Twitter timeline. Continue reading The Decapitation of Facebook

Cyberbullying

Aask.fmnother week and another death due to cyberbullying.  Yes a young girl decided enough was enough and hung herself.. all because some mindless feckin idiots thought it was OK to harass and persecute a person online.

Well it is not.. another family this week are having to face the future without someone they love being close to them.. Another family is going to have to lay to rest their child… not due to illness or a tragic accident but due to mindless thugs thinking that it is acceptable and perfectly OK to tell someone to go and kill themselves. Continue reading Cyberbullying

Twitter Button – Will it work?

Ntwitter-adds-report-abuse-buttonow after witnessing first hand the abuse on Twitter I did wonder how long before something would be introduced, where people can report directly from a tweet that they are being abused.

Yes Twitter have had a report abusive user forms to fill in, but unless you have the link saved as a bookmark you have to keep finding the relevant page in order to report someone.

So will the new report button work? Continue reading Twitter Button – Will it work?