Trial by YouTube.

Two stories have stood out in the news recently.  Stories that couldn’t be further apart in content but yet both have gone “viral”.   That is seen by millions on the internet.

You cannot have failed to hear about Fenton the dog last week in this one:


I must have been the only person in the whole world who didn’t find this at all funny.   To me this is the “video where are a dog chases deer into the path of oncoming traffic”.  How it didn’t cause an accident we will never know.

It shows to me a wholly irresponsible dog owner who doesn’t have his dog under control.   And does he really think that buy screaming at the dog it is going to pay him any attention?  Apparently the dog was loose for over an hour.

That owner should be prosecuted.

And then yesterday we heard about this one (I should warn you that this is VERY EXPLICIT AND RACIST LANGUAGE if you haven’t heard about it:


At tea time we did see that the lady in this video had been arrested.   What struck me most about this video is that this poor lad on her knee shows no reaction.  None at all.   He is not saying “mummy shhhh” or putting his hands over her mouth.  He is not reacting at all.   Sitting and absorbing all that is going on around him.

Seems to me he is used to this kind of behaviour.   Seems that his mum is used to behaving in this way around him, certainly as she is told to be quiet by another passenger and refuses to.  And that terrifies me and really needs to be investigated beyond this arrest.

What connects these two videos though is that we now live in a society that thinks nothing of taking a photo of a stranger, or in these cases a video, and uploading it to the web.

Should that be allowed?  Should we be permitted to do that, asking thousands of strangers to judge our spectacular falls from grace?

We all make mistakes.   And we should be punished for those mistakes, by the appropriate authorities.   But should we have our mistake uploaded to Youtube and viewed by two million people?

What for that little boy today?   I don’t think he deserves to have his mummy judged in this way by millions of people the world over.   Yes, she has said the most horrific things.   Don’t get me wrong.  Not for one second am I defending her actions.   But should we be allowing these “Trial by YouTube”

The dog’s owner has been traced and is possibly facing prosecution.   This woman, had she not been arrested, possibly faced a lynching this morning and that makes me feel very uncomfortable.




This is my Day 29 post for #NaBloPoMo

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  • Great post.

    I admit that I was concerned about the hilarity surrounding the Fenton video. I also thought that the dog owner was completely irresponsible to have let the dog off the lead near a herd of deer. He was lucky that apparently neither the dog nor the deer were harmed. If he had done this to a flock of sheep – there are some farmers who would not have hesitated to get their shotgun out.

    As to the second video, I am in two minds. On the one hand, if the woman is suffering from some kind of MH issue, then this may force the authorities to give her the support she needs, which will ultimately help her son. If she is just a mean, racist person who rants a lot (as it seems, by the way that he sits so still and unemotional during her tirade) then he needs protected from her.

    Is it right that she was humiliated in public? I don’t know. The end result will hopefully outweigh the means that this came to the attention of the authorities.

    It is worrying, that our mistakes and misdemeanours could one day be posted on the internet, as all of us make bad judgements sometimes or decisions that we go on to regret. It is a snapshop of a life, and we should not base our opinions on one moment in time.

  • I haven’t seen the 2nd video, nor do I intend to, I’ve heard enough about it to ensure that watching it really isn’t needed. What strikes me is not that she is saying these awful things but concern as to why she isn’t being given the help she, and her boy, obviously need. There are wider issues here than her saying racist things – not least that her child is obviously being exposed to anger and rage in public more often judging by his reaction

    Surely this should be about the issues of why not just about punishment.

    And the little issue about why people were filming her rather than helping

  • I hadn’t seen either of these video clips until today. Sadly both are a sign of the times, as you say, and a testament to the desensetised country we live in.

    As for ther second clip, I would actually say that the woman mouthing off is actually ‘on something’, as she keeps curling her bottom lip over her teeth. As you also rightly stated, her yound child is totally unmoved. I’d expect to see some kind of reaction, either wide eyed wonder or some kind of upsetting shock [as young children tend to become frightened when their parents raise their voices], but it’s just nonchalance.
    Speaking of which, isn’t it amazing how long it takes someone to actually speak up against her. The elder lady asking her to stop swearing is on her own – until the shouting wakes up another baby……and it’s THAT which causes someone else to join in, not the nature of her outburst!

    Sign of the times, indeed.

  • I have been thinking about this since I read your blog not long after you posted it. I found the Fenton one amusing untill the dog started to chase the Deer, the parody clips are in my view funny. The second clip really disturbed me for many reasons.

    Should they of been posted onto youtube for everyone to see? Difficult one, part of me says no, espically the second as there is a potential breach of privacy laws (filming a minor and publishing it without conscent). The other part of me says that it should of been otherwise both of these events would of passed by with little or no punishment.

    I would guess that if both had been handed in to a poice station then nothing would of been done in either case, but as it has appeared on a worldwide stage then something has to be seen to be done in both cases.

    Does this make it right? I’m not sure if it does or does not. Both are situations that most people would in their normal day would ‘ignore’ or say ‘isnt that horrid’ both provoke emotion and opinion.

    I just hope that the woman on the tram gets the help that she needs.