I pose this question in a manner which I hope isn’t going to sound too self-pitying, or, for that matter, grandiose:
Why do so many people hate me?
Now, let me clarify that. I’m not under the impression that I am a Kanye West type self-proclaimed genius who is under siege by under-appreciative idiots. Nor do I think that my friends should be treating me like some sort of superbeing, and their failure to do so is hate. What I mean, I suppose, is this: today (Monday, 29th June), I got into work after a week of being away, and found on my desk, an envelope. It contained five razor blades, covered in what I sincerely hope was red nail varnish, and a note, typed, saying: UNLESS U STOP WRITING I WILL GUT YOU.
My immediate reaction was: “That’s a very inefficient way to gut someone. Razor blades? You’ll be there all fucking day.”
Or, another example: I discovered, via some friends involved in a hackers collective, that in August of last year, my name, photo, address, and a picture of my house, alongside the statement BURN THIS LEFTIST FUCK were shared on Stormfront. Stormfront, for those of you who don’t know, is a far right, white supremacist website. On the evening of September 1st, 2014, at about about 1am, a man set fire to a tree in my front garden, a fire which could have burned down my house. I went out to see what was going on, and he assaulted me. I’ve never seen him before, and he fled when the fire brigade arrived. Had they not been so quick off the mark, my house could well have been severely damaged by fire, let alone the risk to myself, my girlfriend, and my pets.
(RIP front garden tree. You will be missed)
The fire brigade were certainly a lot better than the police. I’ve written before about the utter hopelessness of the police in dealing with the online harassment I received last year. Following the arson attack on my house, the police couldn’t even be bothered to send out an officer to take a statement (this is despite the fact that one of my neighbours witnessed the assault and was willing to give a description of the perpetrator). Yesterday, I contacted the police again, after I received the below:
(I’ve blotted out my address in the above).
I read this message over the phone to the police. They said “it wasn’t explicitly threatening enough to warrant investigation.”
So let’s get back to the original question. When I ask, why do so many people hate me, I’m not necessarily talking about that joyful experience of finding out that people you trusted think you’re a cunt (though that’s been happening far more often than not).
I mean how have I suddenly become the target of such horrific vitriol, violence, and threats to extent that I am looking down at the razor blades that were posted me and I’m thinking: “meh. fuck it.”
There are some reasons to be targeted, I suppose.
1) I’m a political activist. I’ve done my fair share to piss off the far right. But let’s face it, I’m a washed up burnt out wreck of an activist. The most political thing I did recently was sing “Never trust a Tory/They’ll betray you when it matters,” at Boris Johnson when I bumped into him in Cambridge. I am hardly doing anything to draw such ire. If anything, I’m a political non-entity.
(This is why I left Twitter)
3) Not so much a reason to be targeted as a reason not to be: I am, basically, no one. I am a 24 year old bloke from Cambridge. I meander about my life, like someone who’s misplaced their keys, dreaming of becoming a great author and academic, an activist and teacher, though frankly I’d settle for not having horrible nightmares every night, or waking up in constant pain and exhaustion. I am essentially a non-entity, unimportant in the grand scheme of things, not every a star in a constellation, nowt, nothing. Yet there seem to be a large number of people who want me dead.
There’s no great, insightful point to this post, really, beyond a simple question: why. Why, of all the people in the world, have death and rape threats become an everyday reality for me? Why would someone go to the trouble of sending me bloody razor blades? What conclusion can I draw from this, beyond my underlying belief that people, ultimately, suck?
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.