If you ever wanted proof of the stupidity of crowds, look no further than the unfortunate case of 23-year-old Triz Jefferies. Someone decided that it would be amusing to post his name and photo on a Facebook page dedicated to finding the Kensington Strangler, a serial rapist and killer.
What followed was as frightening as it was predictable. A group of people started sending text messages, posting fliers and re-posting the slanderous allegations. It didn’t take long for an angry mob to converge outside Jefferies home to seek a little vigilante justice for the three murders and several sexual assaults that had been attributed to the aforementioned Kensington Strangler.
In order to clear his name, Jefferies submitted to a DNA test, which proved conclusively that he was innocent.
In a press conference, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stressed in no uncertain terms that Jefferies was not the strangler:
He is not a suspect, he is not connected with this.
Police are reminding people to listen to them and not random Facebook posts. They are now trying to determine who was responsible for the false accusation.
This case serves as a timely reminder that there is no shortage of stupid people on the planet. I mean, assuming Jefferies was the strangler, wouldn’t it have been better to just call the police? You would think that people would have considered the possibility that, if it was on Facebook, the police would have already known about it and arrested the guy – but no, they reached for the pitchforks and charged towards an innocent man’s house without giving it a second thought.
Now, I’m no lawyer, but my advice to Jefferies would be to hire one and start looking for ways to make individual members of the angry mob pay for their stupidity. [Brisbane Times]