Thursday, July 09, 2020


I was taught as a child that everything I did had consequences.  Some good, some bad, but always consequences.  It's a central tenet of civilized life.  Thinkers have been telling us this fact for millennia.  David Crockett apocryphally said "Make sure you're right, then go ahead."  More recently, Jordan Petersen cautioned us to not try to change the world until we put our own hose in order. 

In this digital age, it's even more important to learn that actions have consequences.  The near-total infatuation with digital communication has certainly changed life in this century.  But, the old rules apply.  Actions have consequences.

Like most of connected America, I use Facebook.  But, I learned a long time ago that using it can be toxic, or it can be liberating.  It all depends on how you use it.  By and large, the digital giants (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) tend to chronicle life in ways that don't lend themselves to thoughtful discussion.  It's all instant and unfiltered.  In some ways this is good.  Instructional video is instantly available if you need to solve a particular problem. 

In other ways, it's bad.  The rights and privileges of our society holds some warning, not the least  of which is found in the Miranda warning.  You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
Federal authorities are currently searching thousands of videos to ferret out looters, arsonists, and assailants. Perpetrators who are caught are shocked that the evidence that they once posted online in triumphant braggadocio is now being used to charge them with felonies.
It's a cautionary tale.  We live in complicated times, made more complicated by the technology that has revolutionized the way we communicate.  In every revolution there are casualties.


Jonathan H said...

This is a large scale version of what has been happening for years now - in many cities, when police hear of a crime, the first thing they do is look at possible suspects public Facebook pages for evidence of it.

I would expect that the Feds have a better way of searching than manually pulling up pages of likely suspects to do it on a nationwide basis, but the concept is the same.

I'm surprised that the community who still hasn't learned that documenting your own crimes publicly is a bad idea, but if they could easily learn from other's mistakes, I doubt we'd be in the position we're in now a country to begin with!

Old NFO said...

Now there is a flyer telling protesters to turn off their phones or put them on airplane mode to keep from being tracked... Like that really works... LOL

Termite said...

Turning the phone off works. Or remove your battery