British comedian and actor Stephen Fry, a full-fledged geek and tech nerd, sent out a tongue-lashing on a generation of technophobic judges who don’t understand the internet and/or social media in an interview with the BBC back in February.
Fry was speaking out about an ongoing legal trial taking place in the UK centered around a joke tweet. Paul Chambers made a joke on Twitter saying that he was going to bomb an airport solely based on his frustration during the course of events of that day. Today, Chambers faces criminal charges, and he also lost an appeal.
In the BBC interview, Fry says how this topic related to the English legal system, but it’s safe to say that the message is equally relatable to the United States. Nowadays it’s safe to say that the legal systems throughout the world are led by people who have little — if any at all — knowledge and/or understanding of the digital world of the internet and gadgets which most of us inhabit. Fry states that this indeed is a very real and serious issue.
It’s fair to believe and assume that the joke was in the taste of a situation of someone who would jokingly say “I’m going to kill you” after you pulled a prank on them and publicly embarrassed them; they’re not actually going to kill you, it’s an empty threat. However, in hindsight, we all need to be careful about what we put online. Remember, it may be difficult for some to have a statement in 140 characters-or-less come across as funny or sarcastic without a certain pitch of your voice and facial expressions.