Internet trolls are not a new thing. They’ve crept into our lives over the past 10 years, turning comment sections into battlegrounds, taunting public figures, and spreading the kind of fear and hate your average high school bully could only dream of.
Most of us have learnt to ignore them – we hit the block or mute button and move on. We skip over their comments and only briefly wonder how someone could be so angry, so mean, so incapable of human compassion and empathy.
We shake our heads and imagine a sad little man who lives in his parent’s basement and thinks the world owes him something.
But the thing is - trolls don't always live on the fringes of society - they're often your uncle, your next door neighbour, the person sitting in the cubicle next to you. They're normal people who take pleasure out of posting little missives online and watching the fall out. And, most likely, they're the kind of people who would never think to say such hateful things to someone in real life.
When these trolls turn their attention to the deceased - people who have recently lost their lives and can no longer defend themselves - they take it a step too far. They cross a line that should never have needed to exist in the first place.
The practice of trolling someone who has passed away and posting hateful comments that only serve to upset their loved ones is called RIP trolling and unfortunately it's a far too common occurrence.
When a troll comments "Darwin Award" or "What a stupid girl, she won't be doing that again," it's not the person who has passed away who sees their thoughtless remarks - it's their family and friends who are grieving, who are in the midst of all the shock, anger, and overwhelming sadness that comes with losing someone close to you.
These trolls don't intend for this to be a harmless action - they know what they're doing. They want to upset these people, they want to diminish this person's life to a one-liner, they want to win the argument.