After the recent death threats against the creators of South Park I started to reflect on this bizarre phenomenon. For those that aren’t aware, a minor group of Islamic idiots threatened the writers of the cartoon South Park with death.

It seems to me there’s something rather puerile in telling someone you’re going to kill them. It’s sometimes said in the school playground, “You’re going to die, nah, nah-nah, nah, nah”. It shows the person has lost the argument, feels powerless and cannot find any more constructive methods. In fact, it is an abrogation of argument: the wish to not make an intelligible point but simply to exterminate any dissenting views.

The South Park threat resulted in self-censorship. A character’s comments on free speech and intimidation were censored and the depiction of Mohammed was disguised. South Park is well known for lampooning everything but it seems this little bunch of Moslems had their sense of humour surgically removed when it came to their messenger.

Then we have death threats against the Ghanaian journalist Ato Kwamena Dadzie, detailed in his blog post No Tribe, one nation, because he dared to say he thought threatening kidnapping was wrong. It seems normal ethical values are discarded when group allegiances take precedence over all else.

On a different note, a 419 scammer once threatened me with death-by-juju because I exposed his identity on a website. I told him he should grow up – that this was the 21st century. I challenged him to fulfil his threat to kill me by sunset and I would message him the following morning to tell him how I was doing. Which I subsequently did!

In a modern society there are many different points of view. Some of them we won’t agree with and some of them might even offend us. Being offended is increasingly becoming part of our lives. The mark of our maturity is how we deal with it.