Three things triggered this post.
First a blog post from Doc about the very sad story of a young lad killed during a fraternity hazing event. The institutionally acceptable nastiness struck me.
Second a couple of examples of trolling in Google Plus that have caused distress and show willingness, even from those who should know better, to indulge their nastiness at others' expense.
Lastly the riots in London. I'm not inclined to read more into them than bad lads using the excuse to behave badly, but that is the point. The fact that they feel it is OK to give vent to their aggression and appear to have no sense of the effect on others of their actions.
We all have moments when we feel justified in our nastiness and it is all too easy to indulge ourselves. I sometimes feel that my own occasionally robust online reactions to things I observe and comment on risk tipping the wrong side of my personal standards. I try to remember Gandhi's advice but don't always succeed: "If you are right you have no reason to be angry. If you are wrong you have no right to be angry".
We all pay a price when we make being unkind OK in however small a way.