Bombarding your ex-employer with five million spam emails sounds like a criminal offence worthy of harsh punishment -- the electric chair perhaps? But yesterday the 'Boy Spammer' David Lennon, who was 16 when he electronically snubbed his former bosses, has been told by a judge that as punishment for his crimes he can't leave his house between the hours of 12.30am and 7am on weekdays, and between 12.30am and 10am on weekends, for two months.
Call us communists, but isn't little Lennon most likely keeping these hours anyway, honing his reflexes in Doom 3, or, Zeus forbid, Grand Theft Auto?
Lennon's punishment sounds more like a re-enforcement of the existing social habits of the geek-gamer demographic than a curtailing of his freedoms. How many kids would actually find this curfew changed their daily behaviour? With the streets awash with axe murderers, terrorists and paedophiles, staying in and playing games seems like a reasonable response. Given that our kids are growing up as stay-in gamers, the Boy Spammer's curfew is no more punishment for the blighter than sentencing a boy caught speeding to two months on a race track.
Apparently Lennon used a piece of email bombing software called Avalanche to pummel his ex-employer, Domestic and General Group. His emails contained the message "You will die in seven days." Horror fans will recognise this line from The Ring, a film in which a mysterious videotape brings death to all who watch it. So what would be adequate punishment for Lennon? What scourge can we deliver on our gadgeted-up youth to persuade them that spamming ex-employers with death threats is not good honest fun?
We have some suggestions. First, Lennon should be forced to use the default ring tone on his mobile phone for two months. This will cause mental collapse in the average teenager who, unable to uniquely express themselves through a polyphonic OutKast track, will begin to actually talk -- with potentially devastating consequences.
Secondly, Lennon should be forced to use an iPod Shuffle filled with fantastic music that he is completely unable to identify on account of the absence of a display. He will then have to deal with the paradoxical conditions of being utterly cool (having an iPod-branded player) and being utterly ignorant (having no idea what is playing). He will, in short, learn what it is like to be Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Finally, for two months, Lennon should be forced to play Tomb Raider II on the original PlayStation from a save point where it is impossible not to die. Tomb Raider II was remarkable in this respect because it allowed players to save the game seconds before their inevitable death plummeting from a cliff edge. Two months of watching Lara die hopelessly should have roughly the same effect as a Beckett play, teaching Lennon some valuable and mentally stabilising lessons on the futility of life.
If you've got any other suggestions on how Lennon should be punished, leave a comment below and let us know. -Chris Stevens