The moment I’ve finished typing this, I’m going to walk out the door and set about strangling every single person on the planet. Starting with you, dear reader. I’m sorry, but it has to be done, for reasons that will become clear in a moment.
And for the sake of transparency, in case the powers-that-be are reading: this is categorically not a joke. I am 100% serious. Even though I don’t know who you are or where you live, I am going to strangle you, your family, your pets, your friends, your imaginary friends, and any lifelike human dummies with haunted stares and wipe-clean vinyl orifices you’ve got knocking around, perhaps in a secret compartment under the stairs. The only people who might escape my wrath are the staff and passengers at Nottingham’s Robin Hood airport, because they’ve been granted immunity by the state.
Last week 27-year-old accountant Paul Chambers lost an appeal against his conviction for comments he made back in January via the social networking hoojamflip Twitter, venting his frustration when heavy snow closed the airport, leaving him unable to visit his girlfriend.
“Crap!” he wrote. “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”
Anti-terror experts intercepted this message and spent hours deciphering it, eventually uncovering a stark coded warning within, cunningly disguised as a series of flippant words.
Chambers’ use of multiple exclamation marks is particularly chilling. He almost seems to find the whole thing rather funny. The violent destruction of an entire airport – hundreds of passengers and staff being blasted to shrieking ribbons by tonnes of explosive, all because one man’s dirty weekend has been postponed – yet all this senseless carnage is little more than an absurdist joke in the warped mind of Paul Chambers.
Funny is it, Mr Chambers? A big old laugh? Tell that to the theoretical victims of your hypothetical atrocity. Go on. Dig them out of the imaginary rubble. Listen to their anguished, notional screams. Ask how loudly they laughed as you hit the make-believe detonator. Go on. Ask them.
If you dare.
At least when Osama bin Laden broadcasts a warning to the west, his intentions form part of an extremist ideology informed by decades of resentment. Chambers issues bloodcurdling threats at the drop of a snowflake. This makes him the very worst kind of terrorist there is – the kind prepared to slaughter thousands in the name of inclement weather conditions.
Mercifully, in this case, before any innocent blood could be shed, Chambers was arrested, held in a police cell, and convicted of sending a “menacing electronic communication”. His appeal was rejected last week by Judge Jacqueline Davies who described his original tweet as “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”
Quite right too. In fact, throughout this case, the authorities have behaved impeccably – which is why it’s such a crying shame I’m going to have to strangle all of them too. But strangle them I must.
Why? Because many of his fellow tweeters, outraged by Judge Davies’ ruling, have retweeted Chambers’ original message in a misguided show of solidarity. Thousands of people, all threatening to blow Robin Hood airport “sky high”. Clearly they have to be stopped – but infuriatingly, many of them hide behind anonymous usernames. The only way to ensure they all taste justice is to punish everyone equally, just to be sure. Hence the strangling, which doesn’t feel like too much of an overreaction under the circumstances. I’m just following the authorities’ lead. They ought to give me a medal. From beyond the grave. After I’ve strangled them.
Still, loath as I am to strangle every man, woman, and child on the planet, it won’t be an entirely thankless task. Clearly I will feel no remorse while strangling Chambers. He is a dangerous madman, and I look forward to sliding my hands around his neck and slowly choking the life out of him.
I also relish the prospect of strangling another tweeter-in-crime: Gareth Compton, the Tory councillor who ran afoul of the authorities last week for tweeting the words “can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”
He later apologised for what he claimed – outlandishly – was “an ill-conceived attempt at humour”, even though I’m sure Judge Jacqueline Davies would agree that it was menacing in its content and obviously so, and in fact could not be more clear, and that any ordinary person reading it would see it in that way and be alarmed.
Reassuringly, the bloodthirsty maniac Compton was arrested hours later, presumably after being cornered in his lair by a Swat team. I’d like to shake every member of that team by the hand, which sadly won’t be possible while I’m strangling them.
Anyway, I’m writing this on Friday, so by the time you read this on Monday my strangling rampage will have begun – unless the authorities have intercepted these words and arrested me in the interim, in which case I’d like to make it absolutely clear that I intend to strangle everyone in the prison before turning my hands on myself. Attention home secretary: you’ve got three days and a bit to get your shit together. Otherwise I’m strangling this planet sky-high.
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