Archive for Facebook

Justin Carter, Pop Tart Guns, and the NSA

Posted in Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2013 by oneagainstdumb

I know I may be a little late to the conversation on this particular subject, but when I found out about this story it made me both sick to my stomach and fearful of where our country is headed. For those of you who don’t know, Justin Carter is a 19 year old teenager in Texas who made a sarcastic post on the internet stating, “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.” Why do I think he was being sarcastic? Well, apparently in the next two lines he wrote “lol” and “jk” which I assume to mean “Laugh out Loud” and “Just Kidding”. Justin is now in jail and has been since February for making a terroristic threat. His parents cannot afford to bail him out because the bond is set at $500,000, so I guess Justin will have to sit in jail until his trial.

To me his post appeared an obvious joke, albeit a very bad one. If there is one thing I have discovered on the internet, is that people will make the most offensive, ridiculous, or hate filled comments because they believe they are protected by anonymity. I receive hate emails all the time from individuals who will say things they probably wouldn’t say to my face. It’s easy to tell a guy to “Go f–k himself !” over the internet when a retaliatory punch is not possible. I chalk this up to just one of those drawbacks of having a World Wide Web. It’s kind of like free speech. It only works if EVERYONE can express their opinion, and you have to take the bad with the good.

Now, I am not saying that the police were wrong for investigating Justin as a precaution. However, the question remains, “On what grounds did the police have in arresting him?” If they had found journals talking of how he was going to kill people, plans laid out on how he was going to do it, a stock pile of guns and ammunition for committing such an act, then I could see bringing him in. As far as I know, they found none of these things. This appears to be another case of people tossing common sense aside for the intention of protecting children.

And why is it that when it comes to protecting children, we act like nonsensical buffoons? We are now living in an age where a child can no longer point a finger at another child and say “Bang!” because it can be construed as threatening someone with gun violence. Kids also have to be aware of how they eat their pop tarts to make sure at no point it resembles a gun, otherwise they can be suspended. The funniest part of all this is that most children don’t understand what the fuss is about because they are the ones thinking clearly. Their minds have not yet been warped by the hysteria and paranoia that the media enjoys whipping up on a regular basis. The sad part about all of this is that these petty gestures by schools will not make any of us safer. I have a nephew about to attend kindergarten, and the last thing I am afraid of is him being shot with a pop tart.

So what does this have to do with the NSA? Well, paranoia breeds stupidity, and stupidity is the number one enemy that can lead to our country’s demise. As of right now, the Obama Administration claim they are not using PRISM to spy on US citizens but to spy on possible terrorist threats. Whether you believe them or not is up to you. But what happens when the next school shooting occurs? What happens if school shootings get categorized as terrorists acts? Will the people then allow the government to spy freely on citizens in an attempt to protect the children? Will our fourth amendment right to privacy prevail, or will we continue to give up more freedoms for the sake of safety. Who is to say how far we will go if we are willing to jail a nineteen year old for a badly worded joke. I’m waiting for the government to start up the bear patrol any moment now (Simpson fans will know what I am talking about).

There are many things that cause much more death in our country than school shootings. Drinking and driving deaths number in the thousands every year. However, I don’t see a lot of people calling for the banning of alcohol. We do what we can to protect our citizens, but there are limits on how far we should go. In the end, I believe privacy matters in this country; I believe retaining our common sense matters. I would rather live in a slightly riskier place than in a world where we act like hysterical idiots just for the promise of safety. Because realistically that is all our government can offer, a “promise” of keeping us safe. But the foolishness spreading all around is fact.

My first blog post, and why no one will read it.

Posted in Silicon Valley, we have a problem with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by oneagainstdumb

So this is my first blog post. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about, but WordPress suggested that I introduce myself and explain why I started a blog in the first place. I’ll skip the detailed introduction for now because let’s be honest. Who really cares who the hell I am? I’m simply another blogger amongst the millions already out there, but I am hoping to one day change that. So is it that I want to be famous? Not really. Am I just a loser with too much time on his hands? An argument could be made. Do I want to connect with people who think and share similar values as me? I would say so. But really, this blog is the result of the world I live in and the stupidity I see.

Oneagainstdumb

I came up with this title while eating at an In-n-out one day. Just like the organization “One,” which unites people to fight extreme poverty, I see myself uniting people to fight stupidity, and there is a lot of it going around.

Of course, most of this stupidity is happening right here on the internet, which brings me to the reason no one will read this post. After being on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, I realize now how much the cacophony of shit is drowning out clear voices and adding turds to the pile. Everyone is so intent on posting their thoughts and experiences, many seem to have forgotten that to have meaningful ones, time is needed to reflect on them. Instead, we consume as much information as possible regardless of its relevance or importance, or we post as much information as possible regardless of its relevance or importance (I really don’t care what you had for lunch today). The more distractions we give ourselves, the less we use the analytical and creative parts of our brains. And when it comes to things we don’t use, like a muscle, it grows weaker.

I believe setting aside some time to allow oneself to think is vital for the development of the mind and body. You don’t need to sit on a Yoga mat with your legs crossed and palms facing the ceiling. However, finding a quiet place where you can seclude yourself, close your eyes, and just block out the noise of the world would be ideal. Think about an engaging film, and why it captured your attention. Think about a person you passed on the street and what living his or her life would be like. Whatever you decide on, just make sure it requires your creative or reasoning abilities. Day dreaming about having sex with Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie doesn’t count.

None of what I am saying is exactly new. However, I do believe it is worth repeating. We need reminders often times. Personally, I enjoy reading and writing articles that remind me I am not the lone sane person in an insane asylum.

Do I use Facebook and Youtube? Yes, and now I am using WordPress as well. I will continue to add content to all three, and I do believe there is value in these websites. Not to pander, but I have found WordPress blogs to be much more interesting than most of the stuff I have read on facebook or watched on Youtube. We just need to moderate ourselves.

Will anybody read this post? Probably not… or not yet. There is so much material being added everyday, it is very difficult to stand out. As I continue my blog, I do hope people will read it and maybe come back to this first post. One thing I will promise to any potential readers is to not waste their time with the mundane trivialities in my life. Whatever I post, whether it be text or video, you can be certain that a lot of thought and effort went into it.

Thanks,

Ralph Wong