Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Anger: Viral Style

Ugh, I'm full of venom today. I'm going to rant about numerous issues so you've been warned. Logic exists in my words but it's intermingled with my frustration.

What a shitty start to the day. First I get a warm up kidney punch from someone blasting liberals, clean energy research and whatever else they didn't like. Okay, my mistake. I read the post. I shouldn't have as my mood isn't great today because I feel off. I take responsibility for setting myself into a downward spiral but I wanted to fully understand the context of the conversation rather than walk away making a false judgment. Sigh.

Oh, but we have to have more than that. I'm about to be reminded of how nasty people can be. So over to Facebook I go and I'm hit with the double-barrel shotgun blast of a "Crikey, this is disgusting" moment. I'm greeted with a posting of a fight video on my news feed. Oh for crying out loud, why do people want to watch someone get beat up? There's a sickness in that. Go watch something sanctioned like UFC if you want competition that's hardcore. With UFC, it's a sport where everyone involved wants to compete. I have no problem with boxing, wrestling or any of the full contact, aggressive sports. But they are sports. There's a big difference.

On an abstract level, I believe the desire to see someone "get theirs" leads to horrible incidents like the witch burning murder in New Guinea. People stand around morbidly and watch or get excited seeing blood or violence: "Oh boy! Let's hurt someone or watch the mayhem because, well, they deserve it. They're a butt-head you know so it's okay to get excited as they get their ass kicked."

Okay, so the message from the person who reposted the video was trying to make is don't mess with me or my culture ay? Very well then, does don't mess with my culture translate into don't trust, don't turn your back on and don't associate with anyone from that culture too? Tell ya what, I'd get along just fine as I am without having to worry about whether or not I can trust a given culture. Considering how recently I've had a series of rude interactions from several different unrelated females from that culture, perhaps I would be better off avoiding the entire culture. Just saying, if the image being presented is about how bad-@ss they are and the fact some of the women have been insulting my physical attributes, why would I want to interact with anyone like that? Simply put, I don't. And that, boys and girls, is how bigotry emerges and thrives: through the arrogant projection of a supposed superior nature. Get over it. You're just as flawed as the rest of us.

Furthermore, I see an attempt at putting a positive spin on a toughness stereotype which is no more useful than any of the other generalizations. These assumptions don't uniquely associate an individual with their actions but instead says they apply it to an entire culture. That's useless in my opinion. Individuals are unique even though they may share some characteristics in common with one or more groups. There's usually someone that comes along who is a bigger or crazier bad-@ss so don't get flippant unless you can truly take fists pummeling your face as hard as you think you can dish it out. After a verbal conflict, I had one big fella send me flying about six feet away from where I stood when he flat-palmed me square in the chest with both his hands. Nothing funny about that. He was a 275 pounds football player who could have destroyed me if he put some real muscle into it against my mere 110 pound frame. Keep that in mind before talking trash about being the b!tches other cultures shouldn't mess with.

As for Facebook, I don't like looking at my news feed and seeing postings that I think applaud a form of violence. But then I'm alone in this since society seems to be hell bent on revenge. Why? Maybe it makes us feel some sense of moral justice exists to balance out all the things that have happened to us. Or maybe it makes us feel powerful. In my opinion, it makes us feel pathetic, petty and miserable.

Let me be perfectly clear: promoting violence through sharing a video or watching it and commenting positively is still promoting violence. And yes, I did watch the video so I can be accused of being a part of the problem. I will say I held off and didn't watch it until I decided I wanted to avoid making a blanket assumption about why people were giving the video a symbolic thumbs up. It was clear I did not make a blanket assumption about what the video portrayed or what the comments were saying.

Not a great way to start the day with the second negative "in your face" presentation. It is true, I choose what to view. In my case, I hid the Facebook posting so I don't have to see a reminder of how mean spirited people are. But in my opinion, the comments were probably the most disgusting part of the entire thing. In my opinion, I even saw racial hatred emerging where one person was identifying the combatants not by aggressor or victim but by race. Yeah, I get it. Using race is easy to help indicate who we are talking about. But in the context, I believe this was about claiming one race (as well as gender) as superior so I believe I am correct in my assessment that it is racially targeted. Heavy sarcasm mode tainted with my hatred switches on: Fa-sucking yanks, ya knows we're all bad. And apparently the white yank men got nothing of "real" substance hanging between our legs neither from what I've been told in a recent, brief conversation I had with one woman. My thoughts to her implication is that assumptions tend to make a fool of an individual. I did not respond to her implication, but I should have because sometimes voicing my opinion has immense internal value even if it pegs me as antagonistic or rude. If I'm rude, so be it. So is implying things about a person you know nothing about. Evil angry sarcasm mode is now off.

With the above contextual information in mind, perhaps we should think about our violent tendencies when we talk about banning guns, knives or other weapons. The weapons are a tool, the desire for violence comes from within. Take away one tool and another takes its place. Deal with reducing the desire to physically hurt people or extract revenge, then maybe 30 round clips and assault rifles won't be considered as much of a threat.

Since I'm totally pissed, here's a post I didn't make earlier but I think it is appropriate to connect with the preceding paragraphs. The connection I would like to establish with the upcoming paragraphs, is that when I watched the video of the fight posted on Facebook, I saw the similarity to the picture present in the "2 Charged" link. Both scenes had people standing about watching the mayhem take place. It's a rather grim and disturbing similarity if you ask me.


The Evil of Taking No Action

On Feb 6, a crowd attacked, tortured and murdered a 20 year old woman in Papua New Guinea over accusations of witchcraft. The crowd, numbering in the hundreds supposedly prevented police and firefighters from intervening.

An article about "2 Charged In Papau New Guinea 'Witch' Killing" published bythe AP says an investigation is underway, only two people have been charged with murder from a group of more than 40 people who were detained for questioning. The remaining detainees were released because of lack of evidence. Oh, but the police say more arrests are coming. Well, not enough by any stretch of the means.

But the dumbfounding statement I can't get beyond is how the police claimed the mob prevented them from intervening. For those willing to look at the scene of the crime, take a look at this photo in the AP story and tell me how out of control this mob looks. Do you see any blur form people running, fighting or pushing? I don't. Notice the mostly static poses of nearly everyone as the woman burns. How can the police even possibly try to claim they tried to intervene? The police officers who were at the scene should questioned and if found to be negligent in their actions, should face accessory to murder charges for failing to protect the individual. If you stand by and watch, you are guilty regardless of the scenario. Fight the crowd, flee the scene to get help, or face the consequences of being an observer.

The people in the crowd are savages, plain and simple. Not because of where they are from, but because of their morbid curiosity and willingness to stand and watch as someone is tortured. Looking at the photo that shows them standing around with their hands slack at their side, I can only wonder what kind of sick minds allow people to watch a horrible act unfold. I have no mercy, compassion or understanding for any in the crowd except the victim.

Perhaps I am hypocritical in that I have never witnessed a torture scenario. I witnessed first-hand an armed robbery with a knife from several feet away but took no action. I recall a woman saying "a real man would take action". Funny how others judge you when they weren't in the scenario isn't it? Personally, I made a conscious decision to not antagonize the robber. He and his two accomplices did not harm anyone and the police even indicated afterward that when a crime involves robbery for money, it is always best to hand it over without conflict. Let them take the money because, unlike a life, money can be replaced. Had the robber stabbed the cash register operator, I don't know what would have unfolded as I can only speculate. But at the same point, I've put myself in potential danger in other cases such as the fire that started next to a gas pump in a gas station. I burned up my coat trying to put the fire out after the attendant refused to give me a fire extinguisher  Did I think about being blown up or burned alive when volatile gas fumes are present? No, I thought about helping the person who's vehicle was starting to burn. Oh, but wait, a real man would have put out the fire with his bare hands. I guess I'm not a real man. My apologies, my anger is getting the best of me as other issues arise such as my unresolved issue with the woman who made the snide and very stupid "real men" remark to me. I'm minimizing the real tragedy because of my anger which is unfortunate in all cases.

Sarcasm aside, what I'm trying to say is that adrenaline can make a person forget about being in harms way. And when a person is being tortured in front of a crowd, I would hope humanity thinks about how to stop the suffering.

One last thing: the more you care about things, the more you will be hurt. The world is a messed up place where you usually can't fix what is broken. But don't give up, even when facing astronomical odds. Do what you think is right. In the end, you'll have respect for yourself if nothing else.