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Resist, but respect other people's rights

编辑:语际翻译     2009-10-9         转载请注明来自  语际翻译公司 http://www.scientrans.com

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  Resist, but respect other people's rights

  UNTIL recently, I'd never heard of American netizens acting as virtual vigilantes.

  Most people in the US would ignore a blog about an extra-marital affair. A photograph of a someone abusing a cat might anger some feline lovers. However, a local animal rights group would fight the battle – not someone with a computer and an Internet connection.

 

  But then I began reading about poor Megan Meier, an overweight 13-year-old girl who killed herself after reading some mean messages on her MySpace page. Some of them had come from a "friend" who was supposed to be a 16-year-old boy.

  Turns out, the "boy" was the mother of one of her neighborhood friends. When netizens learned that the police could not charge the woman (she had broken no law), they decided to punish the mother themselves.

  They posted the woman's name, home phone number and address online. Soon, people began to harass her family business. Someone threw a brick through the front window of her home. At night, people drove by her home and shouted "murderer!"

  Look the other way

  Cases like this one, however, are quite rare in the US.

  First of all, most content that appears online has the full protection of the US First Amendment. This law guarantees Americans the freedom of expression. Only materials like child pornography are prohibited.

  As a result, Americans have learned to tolerate filthy parts of the Web like they would a street with lots of strip clubs and adult bookstores: They look the other way and drive (or click) on. When an event or story does seem to lead to anger, advocacy groups often take the lead. These groups send representatives to relevant government offices to call for justice.

  They organize non-violent protests and communicate their opinions and messages to the media. They make a point of respecting the "guilty" person or group's rights – no matter how much they hate them.

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