The title of this post sounds like a great name for a children’s book, unfortunately the story behind this title is less jovial. The web is running wild with hate for Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who is now infamous for killing Cecil, a protected lion in a Zimbabwe nature preserve. I have to start my opinion on these proceedings by stating that I love wildlife, I am a huge wildlife advocate, and I have previously stated my displeasure with the safety or lack of safety in many nature preserves. With that said, I think everybody is essentially missing the point when it comes to this anger being pointed at this individual. The dentist did wrong, that much is true, it was incredibly stupid for him to take a trip to another country just to spend such an exorbitant amount of money on killing a majestic and protected lion, but the biggest issue is the fact that there is a market for this type of foolish behavior in the world. Death threats against a dentist will not change the system, and to be honest threatening to kill a human being is a bit excessive no matter how upset you are by their actions. I think what it comes down to these days is “fad outrage,” bloggers and social media users seem to be scouring the web for topics to be upset about, regardless of how they actually feel about the issue. I am confident that Dr. Palmer will face prosecution for his idiotic and selfish crime, but until that happens, I would love to see more Americans focus on the problems we still face as a country in hopes of finding some solutions.
There are a ridiculous amount of social media applications and platforms available today. I remember the days when all I had to worry about on the Internet was making sure I poked my friend back on Facebook, but now I am bothered by constant notifications and having to accepting new followers on Instagram and other networks. I love using social media to check up on my favorite businesses and read up on sporting news updates, but I have to say the advent of social media has made the world much less social. I know that this is old news, and that everybody has now become accustomed to the idea of seeing the faces of others others buried in their phones and tablets, but I actually have fond memories of a time before all of this existed. As a child I was somewhat shy and introverted, but I grew into a fairly outgoing adult with a mastery of the art of communication, only to find that I now live in a world where communication has changed. Social media conversation is very different from face to face conversation, because subtleties such as sarcasm and body language are completely non existent over the web. Social media has basically changed how communication is done, and in the process created a generation of socially awkward young adults. I have had situations in which I have run into social media friends in real life and they treated me like a stranger, the odd part is that I have known these individuals before social media and held extended online conversations with them. I honestly can’t say what the future holds for social media or even real life social interaction, but I do know that people need to get back to some sort of interpersonal interaction or the future will be a very strange place.
The broken narrative of the news media in the midst of the civil unrest in Baltimore is extremely alarming. For those who are unaware of what is going on, there was a young man who was fatally injured while in police custody, his death has lead to protests and riots throughout the city. The young man, Freddie Gray, was arrested by police officers under what they called normal circumstances but was then hospitalized with a severed spine, which lead to his death. My stance on this as an American is that nobody deserves to be punished before a trial, and my stance on this as a human is that nobody deserves to die in such a brutal way. The news media is showing a picture of brutality and war in the streets of Baltimore that has only lead to extreme reactions from the many who are too ignorant, or too preoccupied to look into the situation as a whole. The fact of the matter is that a young man is now dead, after being simply taken into custody, and many people are taking action rather than asking the necessary questions we all have about the situation. I have an eclectic group of friends, and just seeing the varying views on social media causes me to believe that this issue is much bigger than Baltimore, and the news media is doing nothing more than causing widespread separation in a country that ironically has the word “united” in its name. In the midst of the wild riots of confused and at times foolish young people, there are large united groups of all ages and ethnicities peacefully trying to quell the confusion, and air their grievances. The news has refused to cover any of the peaceful protests or any of the peaceful crowd interactions with the police, and this is really causing me to question just how united the news producers want this country to be. I understand that two wrongs will never make a right, but when all we are shown is turmoil, there can never be progress. I hate what I am seeing on the news and I am even more upset that many people are not taking the time to fully understand what is going on all around Baltimore. The only thing I have learned from the news that I will agree with is that peace must be brought back to that city, and the road to peace starts with the media giving some airtime to those advocating it.
It’s good to get unplugged from time to time, and by that I mean pulling yourself away from television and the Internet, especially social media. The amount of personal growth you can go through when you take time to read and do other non digital tasks is amazing. Over this weekend I had a chance to do just that, and I am thankful I had the opportunity. Unplugging yourself gives you the chance to legitimately think about things that matter, things that matter to you. When you are constantly bombarded by external stimuli from television and social media you are actually becoming less sociable. Think about it, sure you will be able to talk about that last episode of a drama or that news story but you will have nothing to say about yourself. I would like to challenge a reader to take the time to unplug yourself for a weekend, and do something you usually would not do. You may find out you like it and end up enriching your life beyond expectation.