We've known for a while that some countries are more interested in limiting the freedoms of its residents than others are, but now it seems that in the United Kingdom, you can be charged for not being kind. Forget laws banning threats, harassment, or any kind of fair use copying, because the U.K. is now demonstrating to the world that you aren't even allowed to voice an opinion that might make someone sad or angry.
It was reported on The Guardian Website yesterday, that a teenager was arrested in Dorset for sending the following tweet to England's olympic diver Tom Daley:
"You let your dad down i hope you know that."
I'll admit that the message was in poor taste, even more so given that Mr. Daley's father recently passed away. Daley, who came in fourth place in synchronized diving with his teammate Pete Waterfield, certainly didn't deserve the disrespect that he was shown by the unnamed teen. What is surprising about this story is that the teen was subsequently arrested. There was nothing threatening or aggressive about the tweet, although the Guardian has reported that he was arrested on "suspicion of malicious communication", whatever that means.
To the Dorset teen responsible for the message: Get a life. You're disrespecting people who are at the pinnacle of human performance, an achievement that you are unlikely to ever attain.
To the U.K. authorities: Seriously? Is this really worth your taxpayer's money? Have you already rid your country of every murderer, fraudster, rapist and mugger?
To Tom Daley: You're in the public eye, and will attract all kinds of attention. Keep in mind what you've accomplished when you decide whether it's worth your time to respond to people like that. There's an apt saying for you to remember: "Don't feed the trolls!"