Imagine Paul Chambers sitting in a pub, boasting about a wonderful woman he was hoping to make his own. As he describes how he will fly from the East Midlands to her home in Northern Ireland for their first date, he catches a glimpse of the television news. Bad weather has closed the airport.
“Crap!” he bellows at the screen in mock fury. “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”
By definition, a pub is a public place but no one takes any notice. His friends laugh at the lame gag, then forget it. A busybody by the bar overhears him, but the smile on Chambers’s face tells him that he is joking. In any case, the busybody reflects, terrorists have attacked airports for many reasons and delayed passengers have found all kinds of ways to express their frustration. But no one has ever blown an airport sky high because snow has closed its runways.
Instead of joking in a pub, however, Chambers joked on Twitter. His case is a cautionary tale to all who do not realise that the new technologies are Janus-faced.
Carry on reading