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State of Confusion, An Op-Ed

Mike Ginn

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What is this world that we are about to embark upon in 2015. Is it the world that is on the verge of a 1984-esque cyberwar? Is it the rebirth of Rodney King and the LA Riots? Are we about to enter an era of civil unrest over every politically incorrect and incoherent statement or action? What is this world today as we end 2014, I don’t recognize it from just a few short years ago.

Conspiracy theorists must be having the time of their lives. Talk about a distraction to keep the real actions of governments from being revealed, this takes the cake. Just as the iron curtains of major governments were on the verge of being daily news and transparency was no longer a choice, it was a given… We have this.

From Mike Brown to Eric Garner, we have the white devil and police problem back in the spotlight. From Cuba to Edward Snowden, we have the government outrage. Wait, and now… We have a major hack and cyberwar from North Korea (allegedly) to Sony Pictures and the complete erasure of a major motion picture that in reality was going to suck anyway.

What about sports? Roger Goodell and domestic violence? The national outrage and forgetful second chances? The life of one valued over the life of another. Is that worth 2 games or a season? The bans and the lack of consistent punishment for the crimes committed. The ripple effect that has transcended the NFL and reached the NBA and MLB and even the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts.

So what is this world we are entering in 2015?

Civil unrest

There were 2 major instances in 2014 that struck a nerve in America. Mike Brown and Eric Garner. Honestly speaking, they should not be even in the same sentence. Mike Brown was a young kid that had just robbed a store, refused a police order to move out of the street and then had an altercation with the officer in which the officer didn’t use his training and was put in a situation where he had to make a very bad choice.

Darren Wilson may or may not have told the truth in his grand jury testimony. One thing is clear though, he used poor judgment in killing an unarmed 18 year old kid. His lack of proper training showed, he had a right to defend himself if indeed Brown was attacking him. However, deadly force should have been the very last solution used. Not the first.

In an area of St Louis, Ferguson is a neighborhood that has had civil unrest for decades and the situation with Brown and Wilson was a spark. A spark that an entire nation of minorities and more specifically black Americans could relate with and act on. Instantly a nation rose up to protest, at first peacefully. Once the grand jury came back failing to indict officer Wilson then all hell broke loose in Ferguson.

Eric Garner, well that is a different case with the same result. For all intents and purposes, Garner was minding his own business. He was not resisting, he was simply asking to be left alone. An overzealous group of officers would tackle and one in particular, Officer Justin Damico would use an illegal and New York State banned choke hold. Yet, even with video evidence the grand jury would once again fail to indict the officer.

Once again after this egregious action, a nation hot on the heels of the Mike Brown incident and lack of government action would rise up and take to the streets. This time peacefully, but in mass. Shutting down major road ways and inconveniencing America the way they feel that they were inconvenienced all their lives for simply being black.

So what’s next? Once a spotlight is on the topic, every instance and every moment is amplified. There are not bad cops, there are bad people that happen to be officers. Every profession has bad people. Given a badge and weapon does not change the fact that someone is a bad person.

After two officers were just gunned down in New York this weekend, an already on edge police department is probably going to be even more aggressive and that can only lead to more civil discourse. With both officers and the public on edge, one more spark could ignite a fire that might not be put out anytime soon.

Remember, without order we have chaos. If you want to change the system become the system. We need more minority leaders, judges and yes… police officers if you want to create real change. Protesting and destroying the neighborhoods that you have to then turn around and live in is only hurting your neighbors and others going through the same situation. Making it only worse for yourself, not hurting those you are outraged with. Do you really think they will rush in to fix up a neighborhood that you don’t think they care about as is?

Cuba

Are we about to enter the era of Havana nights and a prosperous time of Cuban and US relations? Are we going to forget the lack of democracy and the reason so many Cuban refugees are here for in the first place just so we can get Cuban cigars legally?

With the freedom of Alan Gross in exchange for 5 Cuban criminals we opened a door to Pandora’s box. Families that fled the Castro led Cuban empire for the freedom and a chance at a real life on American shores are now victim to all of their torture and families endangerment becoming meaningless. Now Jay-Z and Beyoncé might be able to travel without getting our President in trouble but at what cost? That is the real question.

What in 2015? Will we be able to travel and trade freely with a country only 90 miles from the tip of Florida? Does time heal all wounds? Is it time to just move on and become friends again or is the reason for the initial outrage still exist decades later?

Sony’s inside job goes viral

Was it an inside job? Think about that for a minute and I will come back to it.

Sony’s violation has become an international incident. Homeland security and the FBI didn’t take long to point the finger at the country in the crosshairs. North Korea is now enemy number 1. Are we going to go to war over a movie? A crap movie at that? Sony’s hack job is front and center on the news and for what? Internal leaks that they are trying to contain by bowing down to cyber terrorists? All this because of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s The Interview?

Sony is no doubt covering their asses in order to prevent more leaks but guess what? If it is really a major hack, those documents, emails and data is all coming out no matter what Sony bows down and cowers to. It’s pure ignorance that has Sony in the situation that they are in now. A lack of major media to understand the world they live in and product content for. A digital age they simply do not understand.

If Sony really wanted that film out there they could simply drop it on bit torrent and the movie would go viral in minutes. Thousands if not millions of downloads. Not even the best hacker could stop that. But that would mean Sony would have to use the technology that they blame for piracy in the first place because they fail to understand the technology is the best way to move files. Yes, both legal and illegal files. It’s the legal files that get overshadowed because of the MPAA’s monopolistic views on the industry changes they simply just don’t get.

Then there is the inside job aspect. What if Sony is faked this whole “attack” to drum up interest in a movie they spent 100 million on and realistically had no chance of getting that money back with a movie that was widely expected to flop in the box office. Now millions want to see the movie. They want to see what all the fuss is about. Killing an existing real life character in a movie. What? Now they finally got the buzz they were seeking. We will leave this here for the conspiracy theorists to drool over.

The NFL

What greater distraction than sports and entertainment? The NFL launched itself into the national spotlight in a way it never envisioned during 2014. Ray Rice broke the code and set the NFL ablaze with his actions in an Atlantic City elevator with his then fiancé. A failure to properly investigate and then punish Rice led to a host of other issues coming to the light.

Adrian Peterson’s existing child endangerment/abuse case was brought to the surface, a case that is still in the spotlight with regards to punishment. Greg Hardy was convicted, not punished until Peterson was and is still pending an appeal. Ray McDonald was still playing despite multiple allegations and it was not until another that the 49ers finally said enough.

However, it was Ray Rice and a two game suspension that has had NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s job security in jeopardy. A case that Goodell himself admits to making mistakes with, yet he still holds the position a top the most powerful sports entity in America.

The distraction captivated American households all fall and the fallout is still pending. That doesn’t even touch the disrespect of an entire ethniticity by a certain NFL team’s name.

So what does 2015 hold?

2014 has been an up and down for many. The economy has risen and fallen back and forth so many times, it even makes a yo-yo dizzy. The US government can’t get anything done right. The congress is broken. The GOP and Democrats are more focused on keeping their corporate sponsors than passing legitimate legislation. Our votes mean less and less every year.

The world is on its axis. Which way shall it tip? That is the question to ponder. With Russia taking a superpower stance that reminds of a Cold War era 80’s and Putin poised to attempt to be the next world leader to want to rule the world. What exactly is going to happen next?

North Korea might have or have not hacked Sony, they are however squarely in the market for missiles and trying to hit anyone or anything with one of them. Kim Jong Un might not be his father, but that might be even scarier. He knows pop culture and understands the internet. Cyberwar could be the next frontier and that is a scary thought.

Can we as a people get along? In a world where we are more concerned with our own backyard and less concerned with the neighbor’s yard on fire, how can we find a happy middle ground again? How can we bring the civil unrest, shady governments and inept media corporations back to the real world that most of the rest of us live in?

What will the next distraction be?

Originally published on DCXIV

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