It is getting very depressing to read the user comments on articles about the whole E-Toll business. A quick survey of them seems to suggest that a notable few people are quite happy to turn to crime in protest about it all.
Random examples - on Clem Sunter's article as to why he bought an E-Tag, one person wrote of how they are going to go around with a hammer and smash the windscreen of any car he sees with an E-Tag installed.
People are trying to spread rumours that the gantries are loaded with copper wire and other valuable materials in the hope, presumably, that criminals will somehow dismantle them and steal the parts, making them not work. I was accused of having the blood of small animals on my hands for buying an E-Tag, for I could have instead given that money to an animal welfare concern.
Well, as that writer presumably spends money on using the internet, they share the same blood on their hands. Others, of course, suggest burning tyres at the gantries and all that sort of thing.
For what reason is it that these E-Toll protestors believe crime and threats of violence are perfectly acceptable means to bully everyone into listening to them? They enjoy the freedom of speech to say how they are against it all, why do they seek to deny the freedom of others to choose what they want?
I do wonder if those advocating criminal acts, in particular violence and malicious damage to property, also complain about the high crime levels in the country and the horrific crimes we have seen in the news of late. If so, what is it that makes their crimes perfectly acceptable in their minds? It seems their view must be heard, and any illegal activity they suggest must be accepted, but woe betide anyone else trying to express a different view.
Likening the E-Toll protests to the French Revolution and World War II, as some commentators have, is a little bit excessive, is it not?
The legal challenges to the whole system are in motion. Likewise, the law of the land allows for peaceful protests. There are no grounds at all for anyone protesting to be issuing threats of violence, intimidation or encouraging criminal acts. I have no doubt at all that elements of all three will be reflected in the comments to this, for that strangely seems to be the kind of comment articles here seem to attract.
Many have made anti-toll comments on here sensibly, citing all sorts of facts and figures that one hopes will be part of any legal decision and direction. What a shame that these people are being tarred with the same brush of those who seem to want to take some anarchist approach to the whole thing.
To those windscreen smashing, tyre burning theft advocates - rather put all of that anger and energy into something proactive. Cover your car in "No Toll" stickers, stand in shopping centres handing them and leaflets of the alternates out, engage political parties who are anti-tolls and pressure them into making the removal of the system an election manifesto pledge.
Just a thought, one that will no doubt not get in the way of a flood of abusive comments. I am in particular looking forward to reading of how smashing windscreens is "not the same kind of crime" as the one the Government & SANRAL are, in your view, to engage in - meaning you think some crimes are perfectly fine.
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