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Britain's First "Web-Rage" Attack 399

brown-eyed slug writes "The BBC is reporting what is claimed to be Britain's first "web-rage" attack. A man drove seventy miles to assault his victim with a pick-axe handle after they exchanged insults in a Yahoo! chat room." From the article: "Det Cons Christopher Creagh, of the Metropolitan Police, said: 'This is the first instance of a web-rage attack.' Det Sgt Jean-Marc Bazzoni, of Essex Police, added the case demonstrates the importance of protecting one's identity on the internet. 'Mr Jones had posted pictures of his family on the web and had chatted to Gibbons on an audio link,' he said. 'It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger.'"
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Britain's First "Web-Rage" Attack

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  • Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by otacon ( 445694 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:31AM (#16483145)
    This doesn't have as much to do with the internet as they'd want you to think, I mean the guy drove 70 miles with an axe, obviously he wasn't stable to begin with.
  • Children (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tsunayoshi ( 789351 ) <tsunayoshi@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:33AM (#16483173) Journal
    also shows how children could also find themselves in danger.

    Fucking great, he pulled the "think of the children" line...expect politicians to get involved and new laws passed to "protect the children".
  • by proverbialcow ( 177020 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:34AM (#16483193) Journal
    "It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger." ...which, in turn, demonstrates why children should not be allowed unfettered access to the Net. Of course, it's probably just easier to pass legislation than to watch what your kids are doing - that makes it somebody else's problem.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chrisb33 ( 964639 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:34AM (#16483195) Homepage
    Exactly - "web-rage" sounds like a crime of passion caused by the internet, but this guy had plenty of time to think things through during his 70 mile drive.
  • by Brainix ( 748988 ) <brainix@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:43AM (#16483287) Homepage
    You're right. Sadly, misguided politicians use unfortunate incidents like this to hammer through legislation. This has less to do with the internet than one might think. Assault has been illegal long before the birth of the internet.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:48AM (#16483351) Journal
    I have no idea why the above is moderated insightful. This has everything to do with the Internet. Put it this way, these guys live 70 miles apart, and if they didn't meet on the Internet they would have (most likely) never met each other. The Internet provides you a way of meeting people you would otherwise have no chance of ever meeting/talking to.

    They got angry at each other from the net, and unfortunately one of the people was unstable. So yea, this has a lot to do with the net.....nobody is claiming the net is bad, just, like any other tool, be careful how you use it.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:50AM (#16483379) Journal
    Crimes of passion do not have to happen instantaneously. Also, they are not saying it is a crime of passion, they are saying this is the first case (they know of) where a person got pissed at someone they met from the net, and took physical action towards that person. Stop making it sound like they are claiming the net is a bad thing.
  • Excellent... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:53AM (#16483419)
    I'm not happy about the fact that some nut went that far out of his way - and maintained his unreasoning rage for the best part of an hour - that this could happen.

    All events like this are bad in themselves... but the more it happens, the more people might stop and think for a second before they do their utmost to cut someone to shreds, safe behind the anonymity of the internets.

    The attacker was clearly a dick, but then I've little doubt that the victim was too. No, it doesn't vindicate it, but it does give me a vicious, guilty little flinch of pleasure.

    Note to flamers: the interweb is full of games for bored, vicious little pillocks. Don't play one-up in chat.

  • Self Control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:56AM (#16483455)
    I'd really like to see a social psychologist comment on this incident - these kinds of "rage" attacks are definitely on the increase and my impression is that in Britain, we seem to be the worst of any nation for this.

    Then look at the wider picture here, with binge drinking also increasing and parts of our city centres becoming virtual war-zones on weekend evenings and you begin to wonder whatever happened to self-discipline and restraint in our society. Even take violence at football games - yes, it's decreased here in the past 20 years but only because there are so many police involved in crowd control, no violence ever has the chance to break out.

    I'm certain that advertising and the media is at the core of this - kids today are constantly pounded with messages of not being "cool" until they buy, use or wear certain brands of electronic devices, clothing or music. But then, where's the education from parents that their kids just cannot have everything they want right there on the spot?

    Maybe I'm wearing "rose-tinted spectacles" but I go out to other European countries a lot, particularly Spain, and I don't hear or see any of these kinds of behaviours - go out in the city streets at night and it's always a lot of people, particularly families, just out having a good time.

    This is a really sad incident and we should be ashamed that it happened here.

  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kamineko ( 851857 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:57AM (#16483469)
    Are they going to remove the obligation to give your personal details for the domain name WHOIS database?
  • Re:Sanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by otacon ( 445694 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @08:58AM (#16483479)
    You are right they probably would have never met in person without the internet. However, someone unstable enough to drive 70 miles with an axe because of an online argument was probably going to snap at some point, it was not the internet that set him off, it could have been anyone, it only happend to be a guy in a chat room.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:02AM (#16483519)
    Yes, It's easy to make fun of the gun control lobby.

    It's just as easy to point out that if this guy did have a gun, there would likely have been a fatality here. One more life saved by gun control. Watch the evening news for information about countless lives lost due to lax gun controls.

    Yes, children are killed by guns every day in the United States.

    How many lives is your hobby worth?
  • by S.O.B. ( 136083 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:07AM (#16483573)
    ...the case demonstrates the importance of protecting one's identity on the internet

    I think the case demonstrates that the internet is no different than the real world. Trade insults with a guy you just met (online or not) and he may be a violent person that will come over to your house with his buddy and kick your ass. I'm glad he wasn't killed and I hope he'll completely recover but I don't have too much sympathy.

    Too many people use the supposed anonymity of the internet as an excuse to be asshats. Always remember...the other guy could be a bigger asshat.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:07AM (#16483575)
    It's possibly directly related to the Net in another way, though. It's no secret that the faceless anonymity of the net allows people to say things to total strangers they wouldn't dream of saying in person. How many "flamewars" do you see in real life? This guy's ire may have been raised by a conversation he would have gone his whole life without having without the net.

    (To avoid too much irony, I'll state that my /. user name is IxnayOnTheIxnay, and I just can't be bothered to dig up my old password and log in).
  • by NekoXP ( 67564 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:08AM (#16483587) Homepage
    Why is it creepy?

    You could do exactly the same thing using paper resources if you had the time and patience. There were plenty of stalkers around before the internet reared it's head. I don't think there are really any more these days, simply a greater proportion of them doing it faster.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcticCelt ( 660351 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:25AM (#16483775)
    Det Sgt Jean-Marc Bazzoni, of Essex Police, added the case demonstrates the importance of protecting one's identity on the internet.

    "It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger."

    No, it demonstrate the importance of acting civilized and how people should stop acting like savages just because they are not in front of the person they are communicating with.

  • by dBLiSS ( 513375 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .45gnikeht.> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:53AM (#16484113) Journal
    First Incident of Web-Rage or the millionith (ish) incident of one Human going nuts and attacking another.

    So, What's new?
  • by GuyverDH ( 232921 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:29AM (#16484665)
    That's one of the reasons that I think companies like "DomainsByProxy.com" are doing well in this day and age.
  • Re:more info (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:34AM (#16484749)
    To be honest it is the address of my parents.
    Soooo, it was a good idea to offer up even more information in response?

    Okay class, this concludes today's example of Social Engineering.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:36AM (#16484791) Homepage Journal

    He's psychotic, what did you expect? [...] This is one reason why I plan to live in the South as long as I live in America. Most of the South is still relatively sane. Someone comes at you with any sort of axe, ice pick, knife, etc. you're going to be hard-pressed to find a jury that will convict you for blowing their head off.

    If that story had taken place in the southern united states, the guy would have driven the 70 miles with his gun and blown the victim away when he opened the door.

    When guns are illegal, only pickaxe handles are handy to psycho net ragers.
  • by DrWho520 ( 655973 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:42AM (#16484899) Journal
    You could do exactly the same thing using paper resources if you had the time and patience.

    This does not make doing it electronically un-creepy. In fact, I believe it confirs the creepiness factor. Instead of pointing out the importance of anonymity on the web, this should point out the importance of not being a wanker on the web. There are people who do not take kindly to being called names, and while it is correct to think they should not be so sensitive, the broken jaw that can result from insulting the wrong person is an very strong argument for descretion. This is exacerbated on the web were you do not have access to physiological cues (body stance, facial expression, physical size) that alert you to trouble. Like delivering a deliciously dry and sarcastically witty comeback to an ill-tempered (American) footballer.
  • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @11:07AM (#16485337)
    You do know that it goes both ways. He could have just as easily blown you away. In this case, both people are alive. That speaks more for gun control than against it.
  • Sorry not "rage" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @11:20AM (#16485593)
    Rage is something different then this. You don't have coherent thought, your unable to speak. I'd really doubt you'd be able to drive 70 miles in a "rage" to kill someone.

    This more "web-assholishness" which does exist but has been documented more then enough times.

    In conclusion rage != being really angry.

    Though I must admit he certainly "went the distance".
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @11:40AM (#16485975)
    How many lives is your hobby worth?

    And how many kids (and their families) are killed by drunk drivers? Or people wielding machetes?

    Have you ever kept a very crazy guy with a pipe from beating down your back door in the middle of the night while your terrorized spouse frantically dials 911 for a long-delayed response? I have, with a gun. I couldn't have done the same thing by drinking a beer and then driving my car at him, but the beer/car combo is wildly more dangerous, and results in many more deaths-by-idiots.

    Are you also tallying up kids that die from other poorly-supervised activities? Like, drowning in family pools, eating foods they're allergic to, sucking down carbon monoxide from a car idling in the garage, falling out of trees, etc? Or are you just talking about kids killed by people who are deliberately shooting children with guns? If so, are you also comparing that to kids that are stabbed, beaten, strangled, shaken, burned, tossed off of bridges, etc? Are you going to start talking about crazies invading Amish school houses? Then you'd better also talk about crazies that walk into schools and cut the throats of a bunch of kids with a knife (in Japan, for example... since a gun wasn't easily available to the guy who was planning on killing kids anyway).

    A little more context will make your comments seem a little less... shrill.

    there would likely have been a fatality here

    How do you know that? There are beatings all the time in areas where guns are readily available, and no one gets shot. It seems more likely to me that the guy was specifically looking to deliver a beating and then walk away with the other guy "taught a lesson" or humiliated. Doesn't matter, because he's a loon, and should be locked up. And that guy (in the US) wouldn't be able to buy a gun legally anyway, if that's how he conducts himself.
  • by NekoXP ( 67564 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @12:01PM (#16486479) Homepage
    There is no such thing as anonymity if you have a name and address.

    Someone, anyone, can find that given enough patience.

    Sure it is creepy that people can do it with Google now, but private detectives have made a business out of this for a very long time. They never had a monopoly on being able to do it, and therefore Google does not break any monopoly on people who can find out where you live.

    You're right. A lot of stuff on the internet now (cookie tracking etc.) is lauded as some kind of infringement of civil rights, personal privavy, god-given liberties or whatever, when it is nothing that wasn't being done before. If you pay taxes, the government knows who you are. If you have a bank account your bank knows who you are. If you have certain spending habits or look like you are in need of credit they send you brochures in the mail for credit cards, or if you walk into a bank, the computer will flag for you if you are discussing with a teller, that you are eligible for the latest and greatest whatever they are trying to sell. This was done even in the days of VT100s sitting in banks, little green text lines would pop up and say "ask customer if they want to update to super-fly checking account). If you go to Amazon and buy something, signing up for an account and therefore telling them who you are, they start to collect data on your habits to better serve your needs, what's the difference here?

    The solution to not being hunted down by someone you pissed off on the internet, is stop being a jackass and stop pissing people off on Yahoo! IM - that barrier of "he can't punch me because he is only text in a box" needs removing from peoples' minds. If it was a personal confrontation, most people would not say these things. Even the dry, sarcastic witty remarks
    you refer to, when made in social situations with cues, and similarly intelligent and sarcasm-aware company, can go down badly.

    Isn't that it? That we are a world of fucking assholes who will stop at nothing to get a snide remark out, and simply wallow and relish in the fact that we can do it from the safety and comfort of our own living room, rather than at the end of someone else's fist?

    Yeah, forget hiding behind privacy, rights and liberties, you fucking jerks, and start being more polite to each other!!!
  • *-Rage (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mgmatrix ( 539969 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @12:48PM (#16487615) Homepage
    This underscores the concept that any communication medium is only as safe/dangerous as the people using it. I am sure there have been cases of "FAX Rage" too, but that is not sexy enough to make the news.
  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @01:18PM (#16488187)
    Clearly the problem is that pick axes and chat rooms are too easy to access to the general public. It is madness that any person can just boot up their computer and access a chat room, or just walk into a hardware store and purchase a pick axe, with no sort of government supervision or licencing. It is undeniable that if chat rooms and pick axes were restricted the same way firearms are restricted now, then a brutal chat-room-pick-axe attacks like this would have never happened.

    How anyone can look at this violent crime, and not support chat-room-control and pick-axe control is proof that they are brainwashed by the chat room industry and the pick-axe industry!
  • Gun Control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @02:23PM (#16489561) Homepage
    Umm... we only have to ban pick-axe handles, he didn't attack him with the actual pick-axe.

    That aside, if it wasn't for the UK's stupid gun control laws he could have met the guy at the door with a 12 gauge rather than a kitchen knife.
  • by cobras2 ( 903222 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @01:15AM (#16497399)
    Wow, I find it interesting that there's only one tiny small eeenie weenie reference to this fact mentioned anywhere that I saw:

    "The court was told that Mr Jones, 43, had posted personal details about himself online and used his real name when participating in a Yahoo! chatroom dedicated to Islam, where he met Gibbons." - from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2409469, 00.html [timesonline.co.uk]

    What a surprise, an act of violence occurs after some people were in a chatroom about that peaceful religion we kep hearing about lately, Islam, and furthermore, the media barely even mentions the fact. They don't even say whether Gibbons, or Jones, or both, were muslims - I for one would actualy like to know whether it was the muslim getting beat up, or the muslim doing the beating (or both).
    Really, I would like to know. Does anyone have any other links giving more detail on the story?

    Anyway, I don't mean to start a religious flame war here, but it makes it hard when this whole big 'first case in britain of web rage' headline comes along - and it's about an argument on an Islamic chat room.


If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton