Friday, December 6, 2013

Blurred Lines

Blurred Lines 

Hello folks!  It’s been a while I know.  I do apologize for that. I’d give you an excuse but I find the older I get the less interested I become in inventing them. They were mostly BS anyway.

A great deal has happened over the last month, and there is plenty to choose from.  Yet the thing that I believe most astounds me/offends me is how MSNBC handled the Bashir/Palin situation.  I would have said that this one is a no-brainer, and I would have been proven wrong.  Apparently, for MSNBC, ignorance is bliss.  I find that offensive – and am taking this opportunity to remove their excuse.  (No charge.)

As a society, I would say we are no longer taught how to deal with violence in any way.  It is, I believe, an outgrowth of being mostly safe from violence when compared to the rest of the world.  Children are taught that “violence is not an option.” And like good kids do, we tend to believe it.  What that means now is that you have a group of adults with no clue what the boundaries for that sort of thing are.  They were never taught, and that is a mistake.

“Violence is not an option” is an out and out fiction. It is almost always an option.  99% of the time it’s the dumbest single thing you can do, but it’s still up to you.  For example, the only thing that stops you from walking up to a policeman and slapping him because you don’t like his haircut is YOU. Stupid is always a choice, for you, for me, and for everybody else.  I don’t care how smart you are.  Smart people do dumb things all the time, especially when they have no idea about the consequences. I could give examples but I am dealing with MSNBC/Bashir right now.

Essentially what we are dealing with in this case is physical threats.  There are basically three levels of this sort of thing.  
.)    1.)The Direct Threat.  That’s the threat where a person threatens to harm you or others personally. If a person chooses to believe this kind of threat, the person making it can be arrested, sued, or in some cases, legally killed on the spot. Google Bernie Goetz if you don’t believe me.
.)    2.)The Proxy Threat. This involves a person saying in a public way “Somebody ought to” do x, y and z to another person.  The individual making the threat can be sued, or maybe even charged.  The poor idiot who tries to do x. y and z, is subject to all the consequences covered under the Direct Threat even if he never says anything. There is also the possibility of a completely innocent person being harmed/killed because the person threatened thought they were about to be attacked. I would imagine they or their family could sue the Proxy Threat Maker as well.
.)    3.)The Proxy Non-threat. This may not be a crime but it’s criminal and it happens. It involves either “Gosh it would be too bad if X happened” or perhaps “Somebody is going to do X” (just in case nobody thought of X themselves.) I don’t know if there is anything that can be legally done to someone who makes a threat like that, but it happens and it is despicable. Again the person who decides that he is that “somebody” who is going to do X is subject to all Direct Threat consequences and there is a risk that innocent people will be hurt or killed.

The most natural reaction when accused of any of the above would be to say “You don’t know me! I’d NEVER do anything like that.” I like to think that’s probably true more often than not. But here’s the thing.

I don’t know you.  I probably don’t want to know you. Even if I could, I am not required to read your mind. I expect most people feel more or less the same way about me, and that’s fine. W

The fact that a person is a public persona changes nothing here. Threats are a dangerous, stupid business and, in my honest opinion, there’s simply no place for them in any media organization that wishes to be respected, like say MSNBC, (or so I presume.)  I also know they probably don’t give a damn about my honest opinion. So I’m not holding my breath.

But in any case MSNBC- you are no longer ignorant. That’s one less excuse I have to put up with.

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