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.

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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.

What a Bunch of FILFTHY Liars!: How Deceptive Journalists are Screwing the News

You know, there’s a very big reason why most people don’t “buy into” the news: it’s because news reporters are a bunch of biased, media-altering, story-fabricating assholes.

Not all of them. Barbara Walters is really cool. But there are enough out there to make prospective informees turn a deaf ear to some potentially breaking news. I say “potentially” because, well, as just mentioned, a lot of it is trumped-up shit.

THROWBACK TO 2003! New York Times up-and-comer Jayson Blaire is exposed as a fraudulent fraud for plagiarizing work and fabricating key details for DOZENS of news stories–DOZENS! This guy was be-LOVED by the Times‘s staff, and, in their words, his follies were “a profound betrayal of trust and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.” His cronies, executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor, Gerald M. Boyd, also got the boot for printing his stories despite knowledge that he was a big-fat-fabricator. What dicks.

Yeah, I know that was a while ago, but this betrayal of trust is something that’s stuck with the people. And why shouldn’t it? Crooked journalism is as rampant as ever. Good going with the Trayvon Martin botch, NBC. I’m sure nobody will notice the out of context audio between Zimmerman and the police, the out-of-date photographs of Trayvon, and the complete neglect of Trayvon’s brutal, unprovoked behavior toward Zimmerman before the shooting. Crack job, team.

So whatever, Jerky Journalists. You’re only screwing yourselves. When people stop reading your articles, watching your reports, or giving you any sort of credence, welp, you’ll be fired, and that’s it.

2009: A Year That Lives in Infamy

This past decade has proven hellish for journalists. The war in the Middle East has claimed the lives of hundreds of reporters, some green to the practice and others long-renowned for their work. Yet 2009 stands in particular infamy as one of the bloodiest years for journalism.

According to a report issued by the International Federation of Journalists back in 2010, the death toll for journalists in 2009 reached staggering heights, with 139 slain worldwide.

I remember when I first realized that journalists were actually murdered for doing their jobs. It was 2002, and Daniel Pearl was all over the news. He was beheaded, after nine days of handcuffs and self-degradation and guns to the head, by a handful of Al-Quaeda leaders seeking the liberation of the same people who orchestrated the murder of thousands on September 11, 2001.

A video of his execution had been recently released. Everyone was hysterical. I was in disbelief. I couldn’t conceive someone beheading another human being, let alone taping it and using it as a bargaining chip. It was haunting for a ten-year-old. And to see that these murders have persisted–increased markedly–since this case proves even more disturbing than the first casualty.

I hope people remember the sacrifices that journalists have made for us. I don’t think enough of us do. I hardly ever thought about it before writing this post, because it’s far more comforting not to. But we should. We must. Their sacrifice is tantamount to any soldier on the battlefield, and their work far less revered. I only hope that this decade proves kinder than the last, that 2009 is but one, gruesome chapter before a brighter end.

Oh, the SCANDAL!: How Tabloid Journalism Has Made Us Terrible People

I feel bad for celebrities. I absolutely hate most of them, but I pity all of them immensely. It seems that our society in particular has grown ob-SSSSSSSSSSESSED with hovering over their lives like black clouds or vultures or losers, and has found a ready outlet for said obsession: tabloid magazines.

God, tabloids are probably the worst piece of anything created by human life. I’ll be frank in admitting that I use “People” or “OK Magazine” as a companion for when I use the restroom. It’s therapeutic to read about lives way farther off the tracks than your own, however sick that may sound. But we all love it, that favorable comparison between you and that washed-up junkie who was really big in the eighties. That’s why these magazines exist, after all.

Riveting.

Riveting.

But it’s still inexcusable, their existence. I DO feel pretty terrible leafing greedily through the pages to read about Kristen Stewart’s infidelity, her broken engagement to Robert Pattinson, the marriage she helped destroy. It’s really unforgivable, the pleasure we take from these stories–and if humans stay true to form, this pleasure is probably everlasting.

So embrace yourself, World–we’re all a bunch of assholes, and the latest “National Enquirer” has already hit the shelves!

The Fact that You’re Reading this Blog Shows that We’re Doing it Right

Isn’t it great that I have this blog? That I have multiple blogs? That this website exists? Yeah, it is–and up until several years ago, this whole blogging thing wasn’t even a thought.

Yeah–go back a decade, and the “opinion journalism” craze that we’re currently engulfed in wasn’t even a blip on our technological radar. Wow. I can’t even conceive living in a world without Youtube videos promoting some sort of activism, or snarky Twitter posts about the latest celebrity scandal, or Tumblr–just the existence of Tumblr. I use my Tumblr about once a month (if that), yet I still find immense comfort in its flood of gifs and inspirational notes and blue-and-white background. It’s amazing–all of it.

I suppose the first steps in this Glorious Direction should be credited to Xanga. Yeah, remember Xanga? It started up back in 1999, and is probably the earliest blogging website to hit the internet. It allowed their users to post weblogs and photoblogs, subscribe to other Xanga blogs, give and receive “eProps” for their posts–all that good stuff. It was the first of its kind, and truly laid the groundwork for all that came after. You may think it gratuitous to compare THE Facebook to the near-extinct Xanga, but Zuckerburg’s “statuses” and “notes” were NOT the first of their kind. Xanga has a good four, five years on the prototype of Facebook–the polished product, several more. So let’s give credit where credit is due.

So yeah, blogging and social networking and Internet are absolutely awesome. We couldn’t survive without it, yet it’s such a constant element in our lives, we hardly think about the RADICAL impact it’s had on our world’s development. We thank you, Social Media, for all that you’ve done for us, right here in this blog post.

Also, since I feel bad for Xanga, here’s Xanga.