POLICE HAVE BECOME involved in the highly emotive campaign to halt wildfowling in Findhorn Bay after a pro-shooting petition participant issued a bomb threat against the Universal Hall.
It has been reported that police are investigating an entry by an unidentified supporter of wildfowling in the online petition ‘Support Findhorn Bay Wildfowlers’, which has gained support from almost 1400 people.
In the entry, now removed, an individual claiming to live in the Findhorn area launched an attack on the Findhorn Foundation community, saying: “I often wonder what these ‘do gooders’ do for a living with nothing else to occupy their small minds – 5kg of semtex in their Universal Hall may put things right.”
Police Scotland have recently confirmed that their officers will take action against people making such online threats, saying that each instance would be investigated to establish if any criminality was involved.
The issue over wildfowling in Findhorn has seen harsh words spoken on both sides of a debate that, it is hoped, will be resolved at a meeting this month.
Councillors considered a petition signed by around 800 protestors against wildfowling at Findhorn Bay last month, but suspended any immediate decision when told that a counter-petition was being prepared.
Members of the economic development and infrastructure committee also heard a passionate plea for compromise from local councillor Anne Skene, who told the meeting that the issue had become and emotive and highly charged issue in the area.
Councillor Skene’s suggestion of a voluntary ‘no shoot’ area on the northern part of Findhorn Bay being extended to include the south-east corner sparked the committee to request a detailed study and discussions with all interested parties before the issue was returned for their consideration.
Huntsman Martin Gauld, who is behind the petition supporting continuing wildfowling in the area, apologised for any distress the comment made may have caused, condemning the person responsible saying he was “absolutely disgusted” that someone had made such a comment.
He said: “We are trying our best to come to some sort of compromise with the campaigners and work out a sensible way forward.”
Meanwhile Lisa Mead, who has led to campaign to ban wildfowling at Findhorn, said it was not correct for the anonymous poster to simply assume that the Friends of Findhorn community was wholly against wildfowling, saying that local people had backed her petition.
The inexorable rise of Social Media and increasing use of online resources for community petitions has brought with it an ever-increasing and very serious issue for those creating and managing such facilities.
Here at insideMoray we are all too well aware of how hackles can quickly rise in the ‘immediate reaction’ forums being provide by sites such as ours. Each day we find ourselves having to remove post after post – as much to protect the readers making controversial and, all too often, simply illegal statements in response to articles.
The more controversial the issue, the more people are provoked into saying things that, quite frankly, they would never dream of saying in face-to-face social settings.
There are numerous cases now where Police have become involved, charges brought, court appearances made and even people who never believed themselves to be ‘criminals’ finding themselves with a criminal record – all because they could not control their fingers when responding to an online chat forum, social media service or, as in this case, petition.
Quite simply, the public have to learn that they simply cannot ‘hide’ behind anonymity, regardless if they are aware or not they leave a path to their door in every online post they make – the message is clear, think about what you post online, and having posting something read it back – and think again.