Be Careful What you Google For…

Terrorism: the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.

It is clearly evident that what we choose to expose ourselves to, impacts us deeply.

I refer to recent murders in Ottawa, the tragic events in Arizona, the bomb building material recently found in an Ottawa resident’s car trunk and the tragic increase in bullying.  We are exposed to so much information in this age of electronic communication at a rate that has never been seen before.  What many troubled souls now consider “options”, are what I perceive to be acts of domestic terrorism.

Website “hits” and ratings seem to drive the all too familiar pandering to our darker side.  Electronic rubbernecking is rampant.  Tabloid journalism is not just at the grocery check-out.  Everyone is trying to stimulate discourse on their issue.  We, in the media, must take our responsibility seriously.  To whom are we speaking?  What is our goal?

Social and political rhetoric seems to condone threats of violence and posturing that induces fear and aggression.  Combine that with access to fire arms, bomb assembly instructions on the internet and “journalism” that propagates mis-information. and you have a well demonstrated recipe for disaster.

We can’t pretend this stuff only happens in the US and look down our noses.

The balance between free speech and censorship is precarious at best.  One cannot censor content in this multi-media age but we can censor incoming information for ourselves and for our children.  Unlimited access does not equate with a “G” rating.  We have become inured to violence, the sexualisation of children, fire arms, the abuse of free speech, social ignorance, bigotry, illiteracy and rhetoric not factually based.  Publicizing an opinion does not make it fact.  We must be discriminating when informing ourselves.

Are the perpetrators of these heinous crimes “mentally ill”, ignorant of facts; or are they all too influenced by everything to which they are exposed and warped by it?  Field of vision makes us who we are.  A narrow mind is a dangerous thing.  Real life doesn’t happen in sound bites.

By focusing attention on every mistake a potentially controversial person makes we are driving the unrest that leads to domestic terrorism.  By giving voice to radicals because it will make headlines and being irresponsible in our reporting we are all responsible for these terrible events.  What are you “sharing” on Facebook?

The evolution of the human condition in our community is your responsibility.  We will never eliminate the actions of the unbalanced but we can choose how we balance our incoming information to reduce risk.

Domestic terrorism:  A product of media impact or the natural evolution of a society unchecked and unheard?

Be careful what you Google for …  You might just find it.

Provocateur du jour:

Keith Olbermann’s Comment on Gabrielle Giffords Shooting

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