CAMPAIGN FOR MENTAL HEALTH JUSTICE
A theme of the charity for 2024 will be to address the mental health damage done to individuals and communities by viral internet and in person hate. We will research the relationship between mob psychology and suicide, campaigning to get the Scottish Government to treat crusades of hate, lies and abuse as seriously as physical violence, and for perpetrators to face charges just as serious. The internet has exacerbated vigilantism, inflaming hysterical lynching redolent of the holocaust.Free Wheel North has joined The Center for Countering Digital Hate.
Here is their website and their mission statement:
STOP THE SPREAD OF HATE AND LIES ONLINE
Social media companies undermine human rights by enabling hate and lies. We stop the spread of online hate and disinformation through research, public campaigns and policy advocacy.
And here is our position:
Social media messages spread exponentially, and online witch-hunts can quickly escalate to the point where the target's life is endangered. Those infected by hysteria send messages without checking facts or giving the matter any consideration. According to clinical psychologist John Suler, author of "Psychology of the Digital Age," the extreme nature of online shaming results from a lack of empathy for online targets. He claims that, often, the purpose of the attack is to destroy the target. Shaming has led to threats, physical attacks, lost jobs, disruption of families and suicides. At the moment the Scottish Government and its MSPs are complicit through complacency, even worse joining in lynching behaviour when it is expedient. MSPs are not exempt from justice. Things need to change.
ENCOURAGING SUICIDE; THE CONSEQUENCES
There are cases of assisted suicide whereby the motivation has been compassionate, to relieve suffering. However, there are also cases where encouraging suicide is a result of malice, and in these cases the crime is more clearly equivalent to one of murder or attempted murder.
These crimes are all the more heinous when a suicidal state has been deliberately induced in the first place, especially when exacerbated by a concerted campaign of psychological torture. A gang seeking personal advantage, for example in the takeover of an organisation, may feel emboldened by causing someone to breakdown under the pressure of a campaign of hate and lies, shaming them in the media, and then using this vulnerability as an opportunity to seal the deal, to intensify the torture and even tell the target to their face to commit suicide.
Those caught up in the frenzy may feel justified in further causing anxiety in those they wrongly believe to have done wrong to them. In this frenzied state it does not occur to them to check the facts. But the consequences is that they participate in actions that are likely to cause suicidal ideation in the target and bring about that end.
The hysteria may blind them to the consequences for themselves; But
A person commits an offence under section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 if he or she does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, and that act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide. This offence is referred to in this policy as "encouraging or assisting suicide".
The offence of encouraging or assisting suicide carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment. This reflects the seriousness of the offence.
Moreover, those on the fringes of a campaign may feel they are distant enough to indulge in hate crime with impunity. However, they fail to consider joint enterprise law.
Joint enterprise cases involve crimes where more than one person takes part. The evidence rules enable those who did not strike the “fatal blow” or “pull the trigger” nonetheless to be convicted of murder.
The lack of parity between cases of physical violence and ones of psychological violence reflects the lack of intellectual and moral seriousness with which mental health is taken in Scotland, despite voluminous rhetoric to the contrary.
Scotland’s See Me programme seeks to end the stigma of mental health, but it tends to assume that the problem inheres within the individual, whereas it is quite plausible that the problem lies primarily at the psycho-social level and, as with many problems in society, that the causes of suffering stem from having to live in appalling conditions rather than from pathology.
FREE WHEEL NORTH AND BLACK LIVES MATTER
Fighting for social justice and human rights can be a terrifying experience. There are people and forces out there who want to destroy anyone or anything who upsets the status quo, vested interest or traditional power.
Our campaign for mental health justice and Black Lives Matter inspired Maryhill Matters has inspired BLM themselves to offer support to Free Wheel North. We share many issues; their advice on staying safe online is highly relevant:
We received this message on the 2nd of January 2024.
How freewheelnorth.org.uk's users can safely support BLM online
My name is Shelly, I’m an advocate for Black Lives Matter, I came across your site through my numerous BLM searches and would like to thank you for supporting and writing about this cause.
I would like to share with you an article on staying safe online and I think not many have really thought about it while supporting BLM. It is about protecting ourselves online as supporters of Black rights.
You can find the article here: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/support-black-lives-matter-online/
Here is an excerpt from the article. It is highly relevant to Free Wheel North's campaign
You need to know this stuff because there are malicious and hateful individuals that will do whatever they can to make you feel afraid or stop you from affecting change. Whether you're posting on social media or lobbying on other parts of the web, you’ll likely have already experienced your fair share of distasteful responses. But there’s also the possibility of hackers, abusers, political rivals, government organizations, and hate groups that can target you for your views, or their personal gain.
While this may all sound a little bit scary and overwhelming, we mustn’t allow antagonists, racists, criminals, and opposers to impede BLM or the broader social justice movement. People across the internet must take action by persisting with the crucial message of BLM. By adopting the tips in this article, you can continue to support social justice issues safely for years to come.