I wrote this as a comment to the North Korea/Sony incident. I try to see the other side of things. It is too easy to take pot-shots from the peanut gallery.
Perhaps in some of these instances the threats remind us that we aren't being kind. Maybe Sony learned that they can't make fun of world leaders and call it entertainment. I understand that the cost of caving in to threats, but I think that the benefit of such actions is that they makes us reflect more on how we are treating others.