I realize Jane Austen is not everyone’s cup of tea. But feminist Caroline Criado-Perez’s success in getting the Bank of England to put a female—Jane Austen, to be exact—on its banknotes resulted in a campaign of harassment on Tweeter that included rape and death threats. Seriously.
Granted, there are plenty of sicko people out there, and the Internet brings them out in force. It’s also possible that some of the threats were coming from trolls, people who post obnoxious, over-the-top stuff online to get attention. These stunted human beings don’t seem to have caught on that the Internet is not one big anonymous swamp where you can post whatever filth you like without being caught.
In America, England and most other countries in the western hemisphere, anyone has the right to be a perfect arsehole (or asshole as we say on this side of the pond), but threatening someone with harm is illegal.
So far, the police have arrested one 21-year-old man in connection with the threats against Criado-Perez. Hopefully he and his ilk about to get a lesson in how dire actions can have dire consequences.