Saturday, May 25, 2013

Perception as Reality?

Ah, times they are a-changin'!

   Remember the old adage, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse"? Yeah, a quaint old notion, isn't it.When that saying was first coined we had a few more laws than just the Ten Commandments to deal with, but nothing unduly taxing on the average brain. Now, at the federal level alone, we have more than 4,500 separate crimes, and that is not even mentioning the vast regulatory code we must deal with each day. Yours truly used to spend a great deal of time in general district court and sometimes in circuit court, dealing with the shoplifters and stolen/counterfeit checks we often had to deal with in our family's grocery business. I have seen the legal system up close and personal. I can tell you of the many instances, and this only goes back to the 1980's and 1990's, where the judge would have to call for a brief recess, so he could retire to his office to "look something up" regarding the case before him. Now if the judge can't remember all the laws and how to apply them....

   With that in mind, do any of you wonder why each session of Congress sees as many as 10,000 new bills/laws introduced? From this number we are treated to, on average, as many as 300 newly enacted laws each session. Now bear in mind I am only talking about the federal level right now, this does not include the laws that our states and localities enact. As we have seen on far too many news and YouTube examples, even those charged with enforcing these laws do not, cannot, know all of the laws and how they are written and what they mean. Yet, you and I are expected to know each and every one? I say expected, because if you or I violate any one of these multitudinous laws you can bet we will be held accountable. Are all of these laws really needed or is this just one more way to control the masses?

   Remember the old saying, "Pictures don't lie"? Remember when you used your camera to take a photograph and all you could get on the paper was the picture that you took? How about those of you who used the old 8mm motion picture cameras to film the family vacation or the old VHS video camera? Remember how the only thing you could get to show up on the film was the actual footage you took? Technology has come a long way hasn't it. Digital photography can be easily manipulated, digital motion pictures too. Photoshop and a multitude of other types of software can be used to alter anything that one has photographed or filmed. Things can be added and things can be removed and unless you have the means to study the images, using the same technology, you would never know that it had been changed. So, do pictures lie now?

   Many movies today have a mix of Computer Generated Images (CGI) and incredibly believable special effects and make-up. We are often left wondering, "Did that actor really do that or was it CGI? Gosh, it looked so real." Can you think of a movie you have seen recently that left you stunned and amazed at the things you saw on the screen? How about on television? Even TV is getting into the act, as the technology becomes more commonplace and thus less expensive to use. When you see these images do you allow yourself to be swept away into the land of make-believe or do you recognize that it is not real, but you enjoy the movie just the same? Do you allow any of your preconceived notions to color your perceptions of what you have seen or, while still enjoying the film-going experience, do you recognize that it is not real? I mean seriously, can Iron Man really carry around his suit of armor in a suitcase and have it "put itself on him" in a crisis?

   Given that such technology exists is it reasonable to assume that it could be used for evil as well as good intent? Has any other new technology been used for some evil purpose after its good use had been explored? Knowing what we know about the special effects and makeup capabilities of today's movie industry, is it really such a leap to assign to certain factions an evil intent in the use of such technology and skills? When you watch the news or read a newspaper or news magazine, do you just automatically accept what you are seeing at face value? How many of us allow our politics, personal prejudices, preconceived notions to color our perceptions and how we see that photo in the newspaper or news clip on TV? Do you think that those who are putting those photos and film clips before us are counting on that?

   There are those who are reading this opinion-piece right now who have seen the horrible news reports of recent months (No need to go back too far) and have formed hard and fast opinions of their own, based solely on the images they were shown. They are so hard-set in their opinions that when confronted with a contrary opinion they actually get angry and start calling the other opinion "crazy, lunatic fringe, conspiracy nuts, etc." They act as though they have been personally attacked and refuse to even entertain the possibility that they may have been lied to. I mean after all, it was on the news, it must be real, right? Oddly, these same people will be the first to tell you how they hate the government and the MSM, because they always lie to us. They cannot be trusted and they have an agenda that seeks to strip us of our last vestige of liberty. Yeah, they confuse me, too.

   As for me, I know that this technology exists. I also know that there are evil people in this world who will and do lie to us on a daily basis, for their own ends. And so, when I see stories like this one, I hesitate. When I saw the initial report I, like many of you, was ready to accept it at face value. Are there evil, crazy people in the world who would cut off another person's head? The answer is obviously, yes. But then along comes this story and others like it. It asks questions and points out things that most of us have not taken the time to explore. I mean, why would we? We have our lives to live, our jobs to go to, our children to take to soccer practice. We don't have time to be investigative journalists. However, when I do have the time to look deeper into the issue I cannot help but come away with more questions than I had before. I am not a doctor or an EMT, heck, I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have seen injured people before. I have seen head wounds and other cuts and lacerations and how they bleed. Even if you have not been exposed to these real life injuries, there are plenty of places online where you can see the real thing if you care to. Now ask yourself, "If the victims head had just been severed, as described in the original news story, wouldn't there be more blood?" Look at all the people just standing around watching. Not running, no hands to mouths in an "Oh my God" expression, no one screaming at others to get away from the mad man with the meat cleaver, none of the sorts of reactions you would expect to see at such a scene.

   How does one explain the lady who walks right by the "blood covered perp" without breaking into a run? And who was this person using their camera phone to video the mad man as he walked toward them with the weapons he just used to kill another person? Were they all in shock and just didn't know what to do? Why did it take the police so damned long to arrive, when we know that Britain has a surveillance camera on every light post? Why was the perp still there waiting when the police finally arrived? If his purpose was to kill those who have "oppressed his people" then why were more people not killed before the police arrived? You see, when you slow down and think it through you find yourself with more questions than answers. Little of this particular situation makes sense, especially the madness of beheading someone.

   Apply this same skepticism to the incidences we have seen here in the United States in recent months. The vast majority of us only know what we have been shown by the MSM and told by our politicians, right? Well, if those people have an agenda to restrict our liberty, and we know they do, and if we acknowledge that these same people could/would lie to us, and they will/do, then why do so many of us accept what they tell us at face value? Is it our preconceived prejudices coming through? We want to hate someone, blame someone, focus our desire for vengeance on someone, and it is easier to believe that one or maybe two evil people committed these acts rather than believe that there is something more sinister behind it?

   Recently one Adam Kokesh, of Adam vs. The Man YouTube fame, was arrested in Philadelphia at a rally to legalize marijuana. I use this example to show how personal prejudices can color one's perception of events. As of yesterday Kokesh has been released and the charges dropped, as he had, in reality, not committed any crime. Yet, I saw the FaceBook comments by many of you, who were happy to see Kokesh arrested. "Yeah, he's a self-absorbed nutcase" were some of the comments. "Damn potheads, they should all be locked up" was the general consensus of others. You allowed your distaste for "potheads" to color your perception of the story. The fact is he had broken no laws and was being singled out by that same government that you profess to distrust, for "special treatment." It's all good until it's your ox that's being gored, right? If we are not willing to support Free Speech and liberty for ALL, then don't be surprised when you are the focus of that same government and there is no one to help you.

   As we move forward in our constant struggle to regain the liberty that is our birthright let us be ever vigilant about those who have the opposite agenda. Recognize that in each of the incidences we have seen on the TV news in recent months the government and its law-enforcement branches have not acted to maintain or even increase our liberty, but have sought to further restrict it. Is it possible, just possible, that they could/would use the available video/sound technology to deceive us? Could /would they create an incident out of whole clothe, a "false flag" incident, or simply take an actual event and "alter" it for our consumption? Before you start screaming "CONSPIRACY NUT" at the next person who challenges the state's version of events, just stop and think. Exhibit the same skepticism that you reserve only for the "other party" or those "damned potheads." Don't be willing to settle for the state version when you and others can dig a little deeper. Be skeptical of all of them and their stories, think it through, ask questions, demand answers, and watch how the government and the MSM act going forward. Are we seeing more liberty afforded us (at the very least the constitutional liberty that is our birthright) or do they seek to strip more of our liberty from us? Do their actions fit their agenda of bigger, more intrusive government or our agenda of personal liberty and personal responsibility? 

   Ah, times they are a-changin'!