My friends little brother Ted, was very impressionable. He was autistic but very clever. My friend did not have much money but bought him a computer which Ted spent much of his time playing games, reading about computers, history, anything he could find. He spent hours absorbing information online. My friend was so proud and protective of him, no matter his difficulties.
Over time Ted become more quiet and withdrawn, my friend thought it was the computer so tried to limit the amount of time Ted used it. One day my friend found Ted had destroyed his room; mostly with his fists which were scuffed and bloody. The model aeroplanes Ted had tirelessly made, were smashed around the room. It took a few weeks for Ted to recover but eventually he told my friend what had happened.
For a few weeks an internet troll had followed Ted around the internet, calling him retarded, mocking his network profiles, making jokes about the fact that his mother was dead... Ted was naive so did not protect his privacy, telling strangers personal details about himself; he was an easy target.
My friend was a hot head and would not stop talking about this troll that had harassed his brother. We knew this guy lived near us as he knew details that Ted had not revealed about himself, information Ted would not know himself. It took a few weeks, but to my disbelief, my friend had tracked him down. To me trolls could never be tracked and that is why they do it.
We tracked him down and confronted him, he was in his thirties, over weight and untidily dressed. He wore a constant sneer on his face. My friend talked to him calmly at first but the guy didn't want to know and started to walk away. My friend asked him if it made him feel tough picking on a kid. The guy turned around and said 'whats it like having a retard for a brother?' my friend was half his size but grabbed him by his jacket and said 'you dont have a clue about the pain you have caused you fucking loser' the guy punched him on the side of the head; my friend being a fraction of his size, went down.
I loved my friends brother almost as much as he did, we all grew up together and I knew how much strength of character it took my friend to accept his brother; he never flinched when Ted did something embarrassing; his attitude reflected on me as sometimes I did get embarrassed and at times almost pretended I didn't know him. In the end, guided by my friends strength, I accepted him for who he was and became very protective towards him.
I went with my friend mostly to stop him doing something crazy as I knew what he was like, I kept my cool as didn't need any trouble.
When my friend went down, something inside me sparked as I took a step towards him. After that it all happened automatically; I don't remember much at all. By the time my friend had got up and had pulled me away the guy had a broken jaw and two cracked ribs. I can still only remember my friend pulling me away, it didn't feel real at all.
We made a decision to wait for the ambulance as the guy had still not gotten up; the police came; I was arrested; my life was over.
It all came out in court about the cyber bullying. I guess the strategy his defence was to make himself look as pathetic as possible, which he succeeded. He explained that he was bullied by his peers at the factory where he worked, he was lonely and suffered from low self esteem. The cyber bullying was to make himself feel better. To my surprise he had a psychologist in his defence who explained all about cyber bullying and the reasons behind it; mostly arising from poor self worth. The psychologist explained how most cyber bullies/trolls are people that are bullied themselves, have low self worth, or because of autism or other such disorders do not fully understand the impact they have on others.
It did not matter, I had committed grievous bodily harm so I was prepared for the worse. It was a stressful time and I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to prison.
The police officer first on the scene, gave evidence in my defence as I had been cooperative and honest about what had happened. The fact that I had called the ambulance and not left the scene played in my defence. It was also commented on that I had come from a good background, had never done anything like that before. The background information of the case, about the guy being known to the police on other offences similar to Ted's bullying, that came to light because of investigations into my case, effected the outcome in the end a bargain was agreed upon. I walked away without even a record.
I realised after that about the nature of trolls and bullys. How easily my life could have been ruined by letting one get to me. Bullys/Trolls are really very pathetic despite the image they try to project. They dont even realise it themselves, how they are projecting an easily recognisable portrait of a weak, self despising character. Trolls use the internet because they are total cowards. The internet offers a safe world for them to hide in where they can not be harmed, exposed or made accountable for their actions and it seems to be a growing trend.
Oh yeah, and that guy. Ended up with his face on the covers of a national newspaper because a similar case. Try and hide now, troll... ;)