Rumour Mongers, Pranksters and Crying Wolf

We all know the story. The little shepherd boy was bored and shouted that a wolf was attacking his flock. The villagers dropped whatever they were doing and rushed to the boy’s aid only to find him giggling and bemused that the villagers were gullible. This happened a few times until the villagers had enough. When the real big bad wolf came along, the boy cried “wolf, wolf” and yet nobody came to his aid.

The police have stepped forward and stated that there were no attempted cases of kidnapping despite the online rumours. Two implications, both distressing.

If the kidnap attempts were real, there were irresponsible victims who did not step forward to volunteer information to the police, endangering the lives of other unlucky children and potential victims as a result. If the attempts were part of an Internet meme and hoax of absurdly bad taste, then those responsible for them are truly irresponsibly crying wolf.

I believe that if parents were almost victims of a child kidnap, they would report it to the police as they would share a common anxiety that it should not happen to other families as well. Hence, from what the police stated so far, it all means that it is an irresponsible hoax.

Should the authorities chase down such rumour mongers and put an end to these claims that even fuel xenophobia as some claimed that the supposed kidnappers might be China Chinese? After all, in a not so related case, the police did arrest a youth for posting a hoax that a NSF was fatally shot in a training accident.  Perhaps if unchecked, such hoaxes that causes public alarm might become more common and so the authorities must step in to draw the line in the sand now where irresponsible netizens should not cross on pain of prosecution.

I don’t think there is room for conspiracy theories that the police is covering up these kidnapping cases by pretending they did not exist. In other cases  involving  high profile people maybe, but this is a high profile case of alleged kidnapping of children and the police would sure rush to score brownie points among the public. Like the busting of loanshark runners and online vice rings recently.


4 responses

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 1 Apr 2012 « The Singapore Daily

  2. If the police don’t prosecute these asshole rumour spreaders instigating public fear, then the police is just as stupid in not taking the chance to send a message. This is more serious than the SAF training death hoax in comparison.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:27 am

  3. KAM

    April fool anyone?

    April 3, 2012 at 3:28 am

  4. chemgen

    Lots of fools, regardless of April or not. But that is life in the social media age.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

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