The Chapel Hill Shooting & Atheism

Ok, so after the cluster fuck of a “discussion” I had on twitter, with someone who clearly just wanted an argument, on Saturday I figured the best thing I could do was write a short piece to explain my position. After all, it’s a whole lot easier to get a point across when you don’t have a 140 character limit in which to do it.

But before I get into I want to say a few things:
1) I won’t name who the “discussion” was with as I’m not giving them the attention(if that’s what they wanted) or setting an angry mob on them.

2) I’m fully aware that atheism is simply the state of not believing in the existence of a god(I’ve probably had that debate more often than half of you reading this will have).

3) I don’t subscribe to this notion that atheism is a community. But some people do, and that’s why I’m writing this.

4) I don’t for a moment believe that Craig Hicks actions were motivated by atheism or anything in the “atheist community”. His anti-theistic stance may have contributed to them, but anti-theism is not atheism.

Now into the meat of the matter:

The exchange in question was sparked by a tweet in which I stated that if Hicks claimed that his atheism motivated his actions, then atheism would have an issue to deal with.
Now I freely admit that the above statement seems strange as I’ve already acknowledged that atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. The reason for the phrasing was, as I explained several times during that exchange, solely due to twitters character limit.
What I meant when sending the tweet was the following:
If Hicks states, at any point, that the experiences he had in the “atheist community” or that the actions/arguments of prominent members of the “atheist community” motivated him to kill the people he killed then anyone who claims there exists an “atheist community” needs to take action and publicly condemn him on behalf of their “community”.
This is no more and no less than we would ask from any other community, and whether people like it or not, there exists a relatively large number of people who argue that an atheist community exists. And to those people I say this:
You can’t have it both ways, if you want to claim to be a community then you need to hold yourselves to the same standards as you would any other community.

Now if, like myself, you don’t subscribe to this notion of a community existing around the concept of atheism then this really doesn’t apply to you. You can publicly condemn the killing or not, I honestly don’t care. I assume most people do condemn the killing purely because they’re human beings and not total assholes.

That’s it, that’s all I wanted to say.

The unwritten rules of twitter!

Everyone knows that a site like Twitter has rules, that’s just common sense. But what a lot of people won’t know is that Twitter also has a whole bunch of unwritten rules. Break these rules and you’ll earn yourself the prestigious role of being the target of a virtual lynch mob, which as you can imagine is always fun.

So to help you navigate the Twittersphere and avoid the consequences, but mostly for my own shits and giggles, I thought I’d compile a list of unwritten rules based on what I’ve witnessed.

1) Subtweets are cool!

Subtweet everyone, and everything. That’s how you become cool. So many of the direct confrontations you witness will have started as a subtweet(basically tweeting someone without naming them).

Just about everybody, including myself, is guilty of douchy subtweets but come on, subtweets are cool!

2) Nudity for days!

The internet is full of nudity and Twitter is no exception. From “No Pants Friday” to “Shirtless Sunday” you’ll never be short of semi naked pictures of men and women. And while the confidence these people have in their bodies is great, don’t you dare expression an opinion unless it’s overwhelming support of these picture days lest you become a target.

3) The appropriate response to douchebagger is to be a douchebag.

As this suggests, on twitter, the correct way to react to inappropriate behavior is to respond with a variation of that behavior. Because we all know the “an eye for an eye” response is the most rational way to handle a situation.

4) Never change.

It’s not ok to grow up and realise your previous behavior or actions were wrong. Don’t admit you were an asshole and attempt to make up for the shit you’ve done because that, ladies and gentlemen, is not maturing by Twitter standards. It’s hypocrisy, apparently.

5) Tell everyone how much you want to fuck them!

No matter how innocent the conversation is, always make it a point to tell people how much you wanna fuck them. Because how the hell else will the entirety of twitter know how open you are about sex and sexuality?

6) Never disagree with the popular kids!

On Twitter it’s perfectly acceptable to have your own opinion, as long as that opinion is the same as the opinion of the more popular people in the group you most interact with. Don’t disagree with or argue against the popular kids or else you’ll find yourself demonized.

Remember the rules and you’ll do just fine.

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On a more serious note, especially if you’re new to Twitter, I’d like to say something.
The above post was just for shits and giggles, take it seriously if you want(though exaggerated it does hold a degree of truth) but twitter is an amazing place once you wade through the bullshit.

I’ve met amazing people on twitter and had wonderful experiences. I’ve made friends, I’ve fallen in love, I’ve had my heartbroken, I’ve had my life saved and I’ve received astonishing encouragement. I’ve even had people offer to help me move out of Ireland and build a new life elsewhere.
Twitter has been a massive part of my life, and I’m glad it has been. The same could be true for you, and if it is I have one piece of advice:
Don’t let the douchebags ruin the experience.