“First off, I am not talking about those silly wild haired dolls with jewels in their belly buttons,” begins the most recent installment of the regular Ask a Cop column, published to Utah’s KSL News website. This week’s topic of conversation isn’t the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street or how to circumvent marijuana laws: it’s a long, angsty missive about the scourge of online trolling.
In the column, “Officer Anonymous” argues that trolling should be illegal because leaving stupid comments on random news stories is not good for the public safety; in fact, it could be construed as “starting a riot:”
“So why should trolls go to jail? They are causing or inciting a riot plain and simple. The sole purpose is to upset as many people as possible through malicious or deceptive statements. They then sit back and watch the carnage. There is no benefit to anyone except themselves. The victims of these trolls are upset the rest of the day. They are driving aggressively on the roads, yelling at their co-workers and being consumed with a way to find out who that person on the Internet was. This is not good for public safety.”
The best way to combat Internet trolls, argues Officer Anonymous, is to eradicate anonymity from the Internet. Users can still keep their handles, but it will be tied to their real email address, making it impossible for trolls to anonymously express their opinions the way Officer Anonymous does every time he writes the Ask a Cop column. He calls for a national email registry where every Internet user could be contacted should they incite a riot on Grand Theft Auto message boards or in the comments of Ask a Cop columns.
We prefer to think of Officer Anonymous’ column as its own exercise in trolling. May he be epically pwned forever and ever amen.