NRAge: A Defense For the Scapegoat of the Sandy Hook Shootings

People: STOP BLAMING the NRA for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. They did NOT enable or encourage that guy to slaughter nearly 30 innocent people through their “lax” policies. Do you REALLY think that a stricter gun control policy would’ve kept this guy from his sick mission? He was obviously hell-bent on killing those people. He killed his MOTHER, for Christ’s sake. Even with Alcatraz-strict laws, this guy would’ve found a way to do what he did, because, guess what? He was NOT a law-abiding citizen. He had NO regard for human life. What, do you think that he would’ve all of a sudden had some regard for the legal system or human welfare with the placement of a stricter gun law? Wake up–he wouldn’t have.

What SHOULD be the issue on everyone’s mind was how the Hell this guy eluded some sort of psychiatric help for twenty years of his life, because CLEARLY, something was  amiss within him. The only thing that would’ve kept this tragedy from occurring is if he were institutionalized, or medicated, or given some help of some kind in some place far away from those children and teachers. These crimes don’t stem from nothing. Read the articles; former teachers from his high school, as well as his own mother, were well aware of his stilted social skills, his great aversion to people, the tantrums he would throw in the middle of class. Adam Lanza’s psychological issues, whatever they may have been, should’ve been addressed years ago. Only THEN could this tragedy have been avoided.

So stop with the blame game, people, because the NRA has about as much to do with Adam Lanza’s choices as you or I do–not one bit.

My God, Myspace! What Happened?: The Treacherous, Two-Point Trail of Myspace’s Demise

Seriously, though, how did this social networking giant fall so very hard?

Well, for one thing, Facebook. You know, when I first heard about Facebook, I was wildly skeptical. Actually, “skeptical”‘s the wrong word; I feel like skepticism implies at least some faith in something, but just not enough to dispel all doubts. I just thought it was stupid. I was flying high in the Kentucky Winds of Myspace communication, and couldn’t–nay, wouldn’t–believe that something could do Myspace’s job, and better.

But then it did–a lot better. Where Myspace had page comments, Facebook had wall posts; where Myspace had bulletins, Facebook had newsfeed. They’re analogous on paper, but both aesthetically and functionally, there’s no comparison. Log into Myspace and Facebook, look at the features side-by-side, and tell me you don’t see a clear disparity between the two. The bulletins just look so cramped and messy compared to the clearly-divided, spread out posts on the newsfeed. Even the terminology just sounds more appealing on Facebook’s end. “Wall posts,” “timelines,” “newsfeed”…they roll off the tongue compared to, what…”comments” and “blog?” Way to be original, Myspace. What on EARTH is a “blog?!?”

hot.

hot.

And speaking of overwhelming lameness, that’s the other reason for its failure–itself. Myspace strung its own virtual noose through its stubborn resistance to change. While Facebook endlessly revamps its layout and communication options to enhance the user’s social networking experience, Myspace stuck to outdated methods of communication (see above picture) for years while putting way too emphasis on music. Yeah, remember those top-ten hits blaring through every Myspace profile? Remember the last time you logged into Myspace? Hm, maybe overplayed Flo Rida songs weren’t such an asset to the company, in hindsight. Myspace sucks.

“Some Bad News, Good News:” The Rise and Decline of Health Journalism

I felt that the above snippet from this article captured things best. Health journalism has certainly taken a hit in certain respects; the news industry for general and global health is on a notable decline, and seasoned health journalists are losing their chance to share their work. And yet, it has seen development unparalleled by other branches of journalism, stemming from the very basis of this perceived spiral downward.

The rise of online-only news, along with the spread of health-related journals, have allowed this industry to soar to new heights in recent years. Finding its fuel in private grants and an ever-growing global health professional audience, independent journalism has taken over where “mainstream media” left off, allowing for the rapid spread of health information through private sources.

Advocacy groups, too, are steadily replacing the work of freelance journalists. This does, of course, prove foreboding for said freelancers, who are facing massive pay cuts as private organizations gain recognition–and supremacy–in the field of global health. Yet even this change has its benefits. The research into and coverage of prevalent health issues by organizations like the Gates Foundation or policies like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have raised billions of dollars toward combating disease, and have rallied millions worldwide behind the cause of public health.

And not to mention these organizations’ and independent journalists’ superior use of social media in promoting their stories. French medical company Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) produces more web videos and slideshows and conducts more for-television expert interviews than most journalists and news anchors can ever hope, while Washington D.C.’s Center for Global Development (CGD) runs a well-read blog on global health issues, as well as a Twitter and Facebook page. This lack of mastery over highly-popular, easy-to-use tools will definitely put a ding in mainstream media, as we know it.

So as grim a prognosis as this may seem for Ol’ Mainstream, perhaps it’s more a reconstruction than a death sentence. “Mainstream,” after all, is a fluid term–one that embodies what’s current and cutting-edge. And by the looks of it, independent, privately-funded journalism with a WHOLE lot of social media alongside seems to be it.

P.S.: Here’s the original, 32-page report courtesy of The Kaiser Foundation, if you’d like to read it.