Last November, Jeremy Clarkson commented on BBC TV's The One Show, that striking public sector employees should be taken out and shot in front of their families. Clarkson's comment provoked 30,000 complaints, and he was later moved to apologise and explain that "I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously."
Now, the phrase, 'X should be taken out and shot', is a well-known example of rhetorical hyperbole. Unless it's uttered by either Don Corleone, a Colombian druglord, or the head of a militaristic dictatorship, it's not meant to be interpreted as a literal piece of advice. Clarkson was not issuing an instruction, he was making a political point in a caustic manner. The fact that 30,000 people still complained, should therefore be seen as the outcome of an epidemiological experiment, designed to obtain a lower bound on the number of people in the UK who suffer from ingrowing skulls.
You can disagree with Clarkson, but to be 'outraged' or 'offended' by the remark, you need to be incapable of discriminating between that which is literal, and that which is ironic or sarcastic.
It is a damning indictment of the insipid idiocracy in which we live, that Ofcom director Christopher Woolard, actually had to point out today that it was "clear to most viewers that his comments were not an expression of seriously held beliefs or views that should be literally interpreted".
The names and addresses of the cretinous 30,000 should be retained, and transferred to the National Health Service, so that precious MRI resources are not wasted on this neurologically regressive cohort.