I remember reading somewhere about Al Qaeda cadres captured and imprisoned in Guantanamo. The young men in question heralded from Indonesia and were asked why they hated the West so much. Some remarked that when they were children they used to watch television through TV shop windows in the streets of Jakarta. They could not hear anything through the thick glass but they could make out the beautiful women on shows like Dallas and Dynasty, they could see all the sumptuous food and the luxury cars, they could watch in awe as they witnessed mansion after mansion and ranch after ranch sparkling in the sunshine on the screen. They were in rags and hungry, forever circumspect to avoid local hoodlums and perverts. So when Al Qaeda came calling their lives found purpose and it was easy for them to hate those who had everything – empty stomachs are the currency of hate preachers and radicalisers in such cities where the poor are terribly poor and employment prospects bleak.
Of course, an empty stomach is never an excuse to take someone else’s life. Those who gamble on theological nicety are taking massive risks that their hate preachers and radicalisers are right.
Trolls are not dissimilar to these terrorists. They prey on their betters. The wife or girlfriend they could never have. The expensive education they so clearly lack. The good looks they so obviously do not possess. The success that eludes them. They are the shadow and try to expunge their victims’ light with their darkness and their gloom.
In particular ways trolls are worse than those Indonesian terrorists. For trolls hate their targets only a little deeper than they hate themselves. They radicalise their own minds so lack the excuse of gullibility or malleability. Their bitterness must be such an overflowing burden as to waste away so many hours attacking others who will always shine brighter than they could ever hope to even in their wildest fantasies.
There is a great tragedy in that fact.
It must be grim being a troll.
When the dust settles in their dirty attics and they switch off their computers for the night, no doubt they try to avoid catching their reflection in the extinguished screen. They must be so very alone.