Good Or Evil?


There are some things in this world that can either a very good thing or a very bad thing. Recently, I’ve wondered if the Internet is a perfect example of one of these things.

Certainly it is quite obvious the wonderful qualities the Internet provides to us all–especially you bloggers out there! For me personally, I never would have had the opportunity to test my writing or photography skills on such a public scale. Much to my surprise, both have been greeted with great positive delight and careful considerations. It is truly a highlight in my life (if that says anything about my life!!).

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Delighted

Another amazing–and so current–part of the web is how it connects people! Again, it has been my great fortune to meet some wonderful bloggers who have become my friends. But beyond that: people meet future partners, have job interviews, start businesses, visit Grandchildren, read the news from around the world and get any random bit of information from this amazing thing called: The Internet. You never, ever would have thought of this 30 years ago!

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 Fellow bloggers fall from the same tree!

But this very same thing that helps, can harm. Most of us are innocent in our browsing and searches: looking for how to spell some word or how to cook some new dish. All these things are at our finger tips. We can do or find anything…and so can someone with evil intent.

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The dark side of the Internet

The Internet gathers information like Antarctica gathers snow. Each snowflake holds a bit of data waiting to be read. Purists have been trying to keep the web free from monitoring–let the data be free and unencumbered. People have a right to search, gather and download whatever they want from this treasure trove of information no matter what they may do with it after some say…. Or do they?

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The treasure trove tree

Police, FBI say it’s OK to get on a perp’s phone or computer if they were terrorists. Maybe they could get information that could lead to stopping further attacks. Others say if we set a precedent  of hacking into people’s privacy, then we’re as good as lost. Back to the McCarthy era of profiling potential bad guys. Some feel if you have nothing to worry about, then you shouldn’t worry about the Internet being monitored–your data being monitored for subversive searches: if you’re innocent, no problem.

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Find the Red!!

There is always a way to get information from one group to another, Internet or no. If the bad guys want to recruit, they will. Even within Nazi concentration camps, the prisoners had underground rebel groups that stock piled weapons. They had no web to pass this information back and forth, rest assured of that one! But the Internet makes it so easy and so International! Click a button and wham…join a terrorist group. Scary.

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A mysterious symbol? No just a tile on my patio! 🙂

Certainly, we all want to be safe from these horrible extremist groups, but our right to privacy in this country is also paramount. Unfortunately, every time we push the power button on the computer and hit either Google or that big E….we’re putting ourselves out there for anyone to find us….eventually. Hopefully it’s only for things like clothing ads and other nuisance items that attach to your searches.

I guess the moral of the story is: be careful what you search for, because Big Brother may eventually may be watching.

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If you find me big Bro, I just want peace!
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Giving Up Our Rights…


Working in a fire station, we have had so many interesting discussions lately about the terror in Newtown, CT. Many of my co-workers and fellow EMT’s and the fire fighters that work with me own guns. Many guns and some like the weapons used in the shootings. So this has opened discussion about guns, gun safety, gun laws, personal protection etc. Sometimes the discussions get heated, but so far have remained respectful. I ask  because I really don’t understand or get the love of guns. I truly don’t! I’m not being funny or an activist here or anything. I simply don’t get it.

I’ve been a vegetarian and a pacifist for many, many years, so I respectfully just asked my colleagues to explain the need for all their weapons and ammo. Each had different reasons actually, and each had a different reaction to what should be done now in the wake of the horror. All agreed it was horrible, but not all thought gun laws should change. Some took pause and wondered if they should sell some guns, others staunchly said never. Some may buy more.  But discussion always included the fact that guns were not the main reason this happened. And I agree.

Almost anyone agrees that multiple factors were at play to cause this tragedy. And we can never 100% know the reason. But the question I wonder about now is how our rights as citizen’s get curtailed, taken-away, or changed based on death, tragedy or bad circumstances based on someone’s behaviors? I was trying to point these things out to my co-workers: it’s not only gun laws that change in light of awful things, but other freedoms.

One I think of right off is buying things like Sudafed other ephedrine type substances. There was a time you could just go into a pharmacy and buy packages right off the shelf…a few packages if you want. Until meth labs starting using it to make crystal meth. Now an ordinary citizen must go and ask a pharmacist for it behind the counter, and I would imagine if I asked for too many, a red flag would fly up! This seems to me an infringement on my freedom. But it’s in reaction to bad stuff that’s happened. The government felt it had to step in a do something about it. Just like they are doing now about the gun laws (or talking about anyway).

We could use drunk driving also. The laws in place for this too. And making cars safer as so many people died. Speed limits lowering, seat belts, airbags, car seats, blah blah. Are these my rights being curtailed? Maybe I should be able to drive 80 everywhere? With no seat belt or anything. Maybe I don’t want to pay for safety equipment in my car? Do I have a choice? No, I don’t. As a kid I used to lay on the back seat of my parents car! No one thought twice about it. Not now.

My point is, we all make sacrifices as life changes, people change, society changes. Is society changing? Are we getting colder, harsher, meaner, more callous? Are semi-automatic weapons more prevalent and being used more for mass shootings? Are there more mental health issues and are these people not getting the help they need? Is TV, the computer, video games helping young people to be more violent? Is it time for our government to step in and curtail rights and for us to make sacrifices for the greater good? We have done it before. I don’t know…but I am asking myself these questions. And I’m asking others these questions too. I truly hope that before people just say no, I will never  put my gun down, or I need 10 more guns now, they will at least think about some of these questions. The only way we can heal as a society is if we collectively try.

Please, tell me what I need to do so school children don’t get murdered again and I will be happy do it.