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Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2014, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 3,353

About Me

I don't communicate with bigots and jerks.

Journal Archives

Elizabeth Warren holds live town hall meeting via telephone

This is so cool. Elizabeth Warren is currently holding a town hall live via telephone for Massachusetts residents. I have never heard of something like this before and its amazing. Our home was dialed to notify of the event and I just had to hold on to stay connected to the call. I can apparently hit *3 and it will connect me to a staff person to ask questions. This is so wicked awesome.

I am so excited right now.

This is obvious

The internet allows for the proliferation of information and ideology in a manner simply not possible 20+ years ago. The internet has also channeled our need to form communities that are no longer bound by geography and region. Sounds great right? Well, sort of.

While communities are wonderful, they also have a tendency to identify undesirables and "others." The history of civilization on this planet has numerous examples of this. The "likes" join together and build a community while banishing and shunning those who do not "belong." Online communities are no different and quite frankly, party is irrelevant when it comes to this behavior. With all our talk about tolerance and diversity, we only truly extend this to those who share similar ideology and social world view. Conservatives use patriotic and "American" in the same way. If you do not believe as they, then you are not American or patriotic.

We are becoming more polarized day by day. We no longer seek common ground. We seek subjugation. It is easy to forget that actual people are involved. It is easy to demonize the other side when they are just "republicans" or "democrats" or "progressives" or "Third way" Consider the language we use to describe those who do not agree. Would we use that language in a public form with potentially anonymous individuals near? I do not believe most would. Most of us were taught to be mindful of others and to be respectful of those around us. Yet we forget these lessons when it comes to posting on forums, twitter, face book and other forms of social media. It is easy to ignore that our words have consequences when we will never see the face of those we harm. We can easily forget that a loved one may be harmed as we celebrate the death of a politician from the "otherside." They are faceless Rs. We are faceless Ds

I sometimes think we are too immature to use the internet and social media wisely and that it may just cause irreparable damage to our society and culture.

Gun control must happen but it isn't the only problem

I was encouraged to make this an OP. I originally posted this as a response to BainBane's post: Only one 2016 candidate is talking about race AND gun violence after the Charleston massacre

Considering this issue is so high profile right now after the tragic events of Wednesday evening, I believe this is within the rules. If it is not, I apologize.

I absolutely believe that gun control must take place. Expansion of background checks must take place. Expansion of waiting periods must take place. I believe that if you want to purchase a firearm, you should be forced to waive your HIPAA privacy so that your medical and mental health history is reviewed. That being said, as much as access to guns is a problem.. its more.

Guns have always been available. Mental health has always been a problem. The biggest change to our culture over the last 20 years is access to information. The internet has allowed people (including paranoid and disturbed individuals) access to information which can feed their delusions and paranoia. Consider all of the websites that are dedicated to spreading hate and bile. they exist to bring like minded whack jobs together... they spread fear and hate about Muslims, Minorities, Homosexuals etc etc etc. There are several famous websites which only spread racism towards Black men and women. Have we ever wondered the effect of that sensationalism and manipulation of fact on a diseased mind?

Now, speaking of sensationalism... Consider how the media sensationalizes violence and tragedy. They manipulate facts and information about current events to create an emotional response in people. The response is designed to keep people engaged, coming back for new information. With web based delivery there is often comment threads and forums which are designed to allow us to discuss those events with other engaged readers. Yahoo along with most news delivery media allow you to comment and then follow that comment for future response. The existence of this capability isn't egalitarian. No, it exists to create revenue. Every page creates advertising revenue. As anyone who reads yahoo comments can attest, it is full of racism and hatred. Sure, the use of certain words is banned but the same point can be stated without resorting to banned words. Our emotions are constantly stimulated on a day to day basis. For disturbed and disgusting individuals like Dylan Roof, the result can be tragic and terrible... so very very terrible.

I do not have a solution to this problem. I absolutely advocate for gun control. I wish access to mental health services was more widespread. Many states have completely dismantled their state run facilities. Most wait until the mentally ill commit a crime... by then its too late. I so wish I had a solution but this problem is far bigger than just gun control. It is our entire culture.

P.S. I tried to link the original post that sparked my comment but I couldn't get the link to work.
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