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Research into Mob Psychology



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:

Center for Countering Digital Hate | CCDH (


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.

The Theory Of Stupidity (by Dietrich Bonhoeffer) (


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

  1. 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".

  2. 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.


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'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:

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.

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The Tragic Suicide of
Wilson Gavin

Free Wheel North has a rational and scientific attitude towards health. This is in opposition to the viral nature of the internet, which is riddled by rumour, conspiracy and ignorance. Central to understanding the psychology of the internet is the seductiveness of cognitive bias; a subject to further research on this page. We will work with academia and experts to take this forward.
The urgent matter is to recognise a consistent pattern regarding internet induced suicides. Those inflicting harm, deliberately, seek to deflect blame on to the victim, falsely claiming that the target has some inherent psychiatric condition tending them towards self-harm. Moreover, they issue “advice” such as directing them towards the Samaritans, attempting to create the illusion that they care  about the person they hope to destroy.
Of course, internet trolls have no legitimate claim on making a psychiatric diagnosis in the first place. They are not medics of any kind, they are haters caught in the headlights of viral loathing.
Here we address the tragic case of Wilson Gavin:
Grief over death of Young Liberal Wilson Gavin after drag queen protest | Brisbane | The Guardian
Friends and opponents alike have expressed their grief after the death of Wilson Gavin, who died one day after leading a protest at a drag queen storytime event in a Brisbane library.
His friend Drew Pavlou, also a UQ senator, said on Twitter Wilson was “at his core a very decent and kind person that cared for others”.
“Let’s all do our best to ensure something positive comes from this tragedy.”
Some politicians, including the state LNP MP Mark Robinson and the federal LNP MP George Christensen, linked Gavin’s death to the reaction on social media.
“Twitter is broken,” Christensen said in a tweet before deactivating his Twitter account. “It’s for ad hominem attacks & pile-ons, not real discourse. And it’s aided and abetted by the media.”
Digital hostility, internet pile-ons and shaming: A case study - Jay Daniel Thompson, Rob Cover, 2022 (
Digital hostility poses a grave risk to the health and wellbeing of its targets. This study addresses digital hostility levelled at public figures, and does so through the case study of Wilson Gavin. Gavin had cultivated a minor public profile in Australia through his conservative activism. In January 2020, after protesting at a drag storytelling event in Brisbane, Gavin was subject to significant online abuse; a day after the protest, he died by suicide. This study examines the forms, themes and frameworks of that abuse as it played out across a small sample of publicly available Twitter posts. The study also addresses Twitter responses to the death. These responses are significant in that they individualise Gavin’s suicide and portray him as unable to protect himself and thus inherently vulnerable to taking his own life. Conversely, the study suggests that Gavin’s death points to the need for an understanding of how digital hostility harms
Wilson Gavin's Family Speak Out Over Son's Suicide After Drag Queen Protest (
The family of a 21-year-old student who killed himself on Monday after a video of him protesting a drag queen storytime event went viral say those who describe him as deeply troubled "never knew him".

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Witch hunts in Ancient Scotland 
The term “witch hunt” is often used  nonchalantly  to draw parallels between modern day bullying and the persecution and torture of individuals during the great Scottish witch hunt of 1649–50 and the series of witch trials that followed.
But the parallel is not one to be used flippantly.  We contend here that the human race has not progressed since the days of the witch prickers, those who tortured innocent woman and men with sharp instruments until they confessed to being a creature that doesn’t even exist; the total divorce from reality being no constraint on the pricker’s enthusiasm. Similarly, the internet is a witch’s cauldron of hate and delusion inflaming membership of cults which have nothing but contempt for evidence or reason. The result is suffering just as intense, and injustice just as terrible, the case of Wilson Gavin, being only one of many thousands. The means have become more psychological and less physical. But mental pain is not a lesser evil than physical pain, it is a greater one.
More to follow:

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