PEOPLE CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES – The same scenario unfolds with regularity: Person A does something stupid and gets rightly criticised for it, but then some idiots without self-control and self-reflection jump in with vile abuse and if not exactly turn Person A into a martyr then certainly blur the lines between the right and wrong. Another case in point this morning:

Labor MP Emma Husar is facing a bullying investigation as well as questions about her use of taxpayer-funded limousines.

And now, the investigation has sparked a series of vile threats and abuse against the western Sydney MP.

Ms Husar is on leave while the inquiry is completed, which is also looking into claims she has been accused of using her staff for childminding and to pick up dog faeces.

It’s also alleged she took a Comcar limousine to visit her divorce lawyer.

Husar deserves criticism (and consequences) if she has indeed been abusing her staff, including by abusing her power as their boss. But this is not proper criticism:

In the meantime, the Lindsay MP, who has Polish ancestry, has received a series of vile threats.She received an email from one man describing her as a “kurva” (a mistyped reference to “kurwa”, the Polish slang for prostitute) and telling her he hoped she got “breast or ovarian cancer”.Another man took aim at her over an allegation she told a male staffer to do the dishes in her office to learn about “white male privilege”.

“The male you told to do the dishes should have punched you in the face to teach you about women’s privilege,” the message read.

Threats were also made to her children.

Nota bene I didn’t realise Husar was of Polish extraction. Huzar in Polish is a light cavalryman, prominent in the early 19th century – known in English as a hussar. Now, the abuse of Husar (the MP) might not have been mistyped, as the sender could have assumed she was actually Hungarian, since the Polish huzar and the English hussar originally come from the Hungarian huszar. And while in Polish “kurwa” is indeed a whore (as well as an all purpose swearing punctuation mark, akin to the English use of “fuck” in all its permutations proverbially “every second word”), in Hungarian it is spelled “kurva”. So the idiot who sent this abuse to Husar is an extra idiot for not even being able to abuse accurately.

That digression aside, the vile (over)reactions always infuriate me because they distract from legitimate (and polite) discussion and tar all the critics by association. Another case from yesterday:

Disturbing and threatening racist messages have left African-Australians living in fear following a teenager’s tragic death over the weekend.

Terrified young Sudanese Aussies say they have clocked xenophobic posts directed at their community on social media and some have even shared a sickening message which encourages people to “kill” black people.

A photo of message — which is understood to have been scrawled into dirt at Andrews Farm, a northern suburb of Adelaide over the weekend — has been shared widely on social media.

“No n***ers. Kill them,” the message reads.

“What a disappointing week it’s been in Australia,” one young Sudanese woman wrote along side the image on Facebook.

“This picture was taken in the northern suburbs in Adelaide SA. Are the racist groups going to start hunting African-Australians like animals?

I mean FFS, people. Contrary to Waleed Aly or Daniel Andrews, the issue of African gangs in Melbourne (specifically, as it’s not in other parts of Australia) is a legitimate issue for debate. Resorting to racial abuse and death threats is not a debate.

(A word of caution about taking every “hate crime” at face value, however – again yesterday, another “racist restaurant receipt” story turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by the waiter himself. Just about every similar story I can recall in recent years has also turned out to be faked by its supposed victim. So just because something “goes viral” and is “reported” doesn’t make it Gospel truth.)

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