Who should you trust: the person or the technology?
Who should you trust: the person or the technology?
Sometimes doing the right thing means doing nothing at all.
Ben was paralyzed. He couldn’t move, couldn’t react. He watched in horror as his friend of 30 years was patted down, handcuffed and walked out of the bar in the company of four very official looking men. Four, there were five!
“You can say nothing about what you think you just heard.”
The warning was issued by a quiet, almost friendly voice. But as Ben raised his head to look at the speaker, a chill ran down his back. The man almost seemed to smile. He reached out his hand and picked up the thumb drive that Stan had dropped on the table. Snap, it was gone.
And with a slight tilt of his head, so was the fifth man. Ben inhaled deeply. He felt as if he had been holding his breath for far too long. He started to hear the regular sounds of the bar seeping back into his awareness. It felt as if time was reasserting itself and Ben was out of sorts. It had happened, here, with a room full of witness who had seen nothing. They didn’t understand. He had to tell them. But what Stan had said . . . Could it be true?
Ben reached for his laptop. A good reporter never went anywhere with out it. As he opened the screen and prepared to log on, Ben wondered . . . what if . . . He put his laptop away and reached for a pen and a pad of paper. Old school it is.
The day had stared routinely. Check correspondence, do a little cleaning, a little writing and then down to the pub for lunch. Saturday was Ben’s day to unwind, read the paper, watch a little sports on the big screen. Everyone knew it. So he was surprised when Stan burst into his reverie.
“Ben, Thank God you’re here! You have to help me! People need to be warned!” As he spoke, Stan threw himself into a chair across from Ben and dropped his head into his hands. He looked as if he hadn’t slept in days. He was obviously agitated and Ben got over being surprised enough to reach out to his friend.
“It’s okay, we’ll fix what ever is broken. Just try to calm down and tell me what’s wrong.”
The man that raised his head looked haunted. He reached out his hand and dropped a thumb drive on the table.
“He figured it out.” He whispered, “Then he got proof. He trusted me.”
Ben waited. He knew his friend. He knew he needed to tell his story in his time. But Ben felt a gentle unquiet seep into his mind. This was not one of Stan’s pranks, he was scared, terrified.
Stan slowly looked around the room. Only well known regulars were in attendance. He heaved a sigh.
“I don’t know how much time I have before they get here but you have to get the word out. The WiFi is free.”
Ben chuckled, “Well, yeah! That’s what we all wanted. Free WiFi for everyone!”
Stan shook his head. “Don’t you get it? Don’t you understand? They are listening!”
Ben lifted his glass of ale. “Okay, I’ll bite, who’s listening.”
His glass stopped, mid air. “What computers?”
Stan sat back in his chair.
“Have you ever wondered how Police can get to a bank robbery so quickly when the silent alarm isn’t triggered? Or how a traveller who jokes about a high-jacking can be so accurately pinpointed? How about those calls you get where no one speaks. It’s the WiFi. It’s everywhere. The computers are primed to react to certain word combinations in certain areas.”
Ben heard the words but it was what was not spoken that had him concerned. It wasn’t Big Brother watching, it was Big Computer listening!
Stan seemed to deflate. “I have a computer hacker friend who figured it out awhile back. He collected all his data, his proof. He wanted to take it to a reporter and I suggested you. He gave me a copy.”
Both men looked at the thumb drive. “Where’s your friend?” Asked Ben.
Stan never raised his head. “Dead.” He whispered.
An oppressive silence seemed to hang in the air. Patrons laughed and ate and drank. The big screen droned on about sports and the world continued to rotate. But something intangible had just happened and it was sobering.
Ben opened his mouth to ask a question when five large, official looking men appeared beside their table. Stan started to speak as he tried to stand up but a very forceful hand stopped him. Ben started to protest until a badge was place in front of his eyes. He tried to lean back to read it but it was snapped shut.
Ben was paralyzed. He couldn’t move, couldn’t react. He watched in horror as his friend of 30 years was patted down, handcuffed and walked out of the bar in the company of very official looking men.
The message was clear:
The WiFi is listening . . .
We are all living on this pretty blue rock together. We should act like it.
True friendship is as precious as a jewel, and as life sustaining as a drop of water.
Truth is open to interpretation.
Some people take standards to a new low!
I wrote this in January 2014. I think it is still pertinent.
According to Wikipedia an entitlement is a guarantee of access to something, based on established rights or by legislation. A “right” is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle based in concepts of social equality .
In a casual sense, the term “entitlement” refers to a notion or belief that one has a right to some particular reward or benefit—if given without deeper legal or principled cause, the term is often given with pejorative connotation (e.g. a “sense of entitlement”).
Now at its core entitlement is a good thing. It ensures that those who are the most vulnerable will not be forgotten by society. The downside is that when some people get a sense of entitlement it can often be used to browbeat everybody else.
I have an itty, bitty incurable disease. I am in a wheelchair. I am unable to work because of said itty, bitty incurable disease. I am not entitled to be a jerk about it. There are those in similar circumstances that believe because they are in an uncomfortable situation the entire world owes them. It does not.
I have met more than a few people who believe that if you are able-bodied you need to kowtow to them. I know a woman who thinks it’s beneath her to say please and thank you. She’s quite happy to order everybody around because you see, she’s in a wheelchair. She doesn’t like me. I point out how rude she is being. I never said I was a nice person!
Every single individual on this planet is entitled. We are entitled to think, to breathe and to communicate as we see fit. We are not entitled to denigrate, to condescend or to judge anyone else. There are people who don’t believe they are entitled to anything and I disagree. We all come into this world exactly the same way. An egg and a sperm walk into a womb and the baby is made. After a whole lot of crunching and groaning a little one breathes air and the journey begins.
I believe that all children are entitled to happiness and to love but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way. Hopefully by the time they reach adulthood they recognize that they are entitled just like everybody else. And just like everybody else they are constrained by the laws of the land, of morality and of good sense.
The concept of the truth is obviously lost on some people.
Alone on the street
In the cold and the rain
A gentle soul lay hidden
Intent on a sale
Worry about their lives
Busy at work
Deadlines to meet
Focused on the job
A moment in time
Is all that it takes
To notice what is there
We are never alone
If we believe
To Him we are not
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