This past week, my first one without school, knowing that I will be walking down the aisle to get my Associates degree, was an interesting one for news, one of which has certainly left a disgusting taste in my mouth. First you had a Japanese company cave in to the demands of a group of Terrorist Hackers calling themselves the “Guardians of Peace” and postponing the screening of a film called The Interview, which was about a tabloid news show going to North Korea and being asked to kill their leader. Then you had a police shooting in NYC – two cops died at the hands of a coward who went and killed himself in the subway terminal nearby. Also happening – in our town – this week: Rockford awarding $1.1 Million to the family of a man killed by Police after being chased into a church/daycare in 2009. I find it interesting that, as I finish a book I was hoping to have finished for my final exam in U.S. History – Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King Jr. – and continue on two more I was reading for a report I turned in on Henry Ford.
The first one this week was the $1.1 Million dollar settlement. In 2009 a shooting similar to Michael Brown ended with Mark Anthony Barmore chased into a daycare by police and shot to death, thus causing similar tensions between the police and its citizens. In wake of the grand juries of Ferguson, MI and NYC finding officers innocent, our city decided to award this settlement – 5 years after the suit, the trails and all of the other BS involved. The first disgusting thing: the father of the deceased criminal going to the media a couple of days after the settlement saying he’s going after more – I had displays of greed, which is exactly what this feels like (“I’m not happy with what I got, I want more!”) The second disgusting thing: The reason wasn’t to admit guilt or to repair for any wrongs done during that investigation or shooting, but in fear of a similar response to the riots in Ferguson and protests across the country. I may find greed wrong, but to not admit you’re wrong and only do the right thing because you’re afraid of a repercussion? There’s nothing right about the situation.
Next there’s Sony, whose much-covered cancellation of The Interview has a lot of people upset, myself included. A group of cowards calling themselves the “Guardians of Peace” (G.O.P.?) hacked their computers in November and have been slowly but surely releasing bits of information it stole from their servers. All was fine until it threatened to go “911” on theaters in the U.S. – which resulted in 5 theater chains pulling the movie before Sony cancelled it. The threat got the U.S. involved, who traced things back to North Korea, with many, including the President, basically calling Sony cowards for pulling it. North Korean leadership responded to allegations with denial along with its own threats, promising “grave consequences” if the US doesn’t work with them in their investigation. Let me get this straight: Your representative in the UN goes to them basically requesting Sony not make the film, ignored, the hacker group makes a terrorist threat to get the film to not be released on time, then the country threatens retaliation if we don’t work with them – and we’re supposed to believe they’re innocent? I have a lot of suspicions to who G.O.P. really is and who they’re working for, and I’m not as convinced that North Korea is as innocent as Anonymous claims, but I know threats when I read them, and by forcing the company to pull the movie, they violated U.S. First Amendment rights as well as told the world that we could be intimidated into not releasing what countries could be uncomfortable with, whether fiction or fact, to the public. There are a lot of cowards in the mess – the theater and media companies for preventing the release, the “hackers” hiding while trolling, picking a name contradictory to their intent (and deserving a full on ass-kicking for violating said first-amendment rights), the U.S. and North Korea in their handling – there’s a lot of disrespect all around.
The most disgusting thing, however, was the shooting this afternoon in Brooklyn, NY. While news is still developing, what is known is that two police officers, Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, were sitting in their car when Ismaayil Brinsley came up and shot them – before running into a subway and offing himself. Brinsley had posted comments along the lines that he’s “putting wings on pigs today”and “They take 1 of ours…let’s take 2 of theirs” on Instagram before his death, referring to the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
When I was reading about the Birmingham protests of 1963, and took in Mr. King’s perspective, I began to better understand and accept his nonviolent method of protest. I could see how it could still work now, and how these people being dismissive of the athletes wearing “I can’t breathe” T-shirts, actors and activists singing “I can’t breathe,” and the many non-violent protests of people marching, sitting in, die-ins happening in various public spots across the U.S., are far off the mark they are being against such protests. To a lesser, and much more strongly hated, degree, I can even understand the riots happening in places like Ferguson, retaliation against authority by distraction and destruction.
In spite of his words, however, Brinsley is not a protester assassinating cops out of vengeance – he’s a coward looking for an excuse to off himself and finding a convenient one in the death of another man.
When you can’t admit wrongdoing, and must be pushed into doing the right thing by major events happening in other parts of the country, that’s cowardice – you should be able to choose to do the right thing of your own volition.
When you hide behind a computer making threats of killing people to prove you can stop something from being released on time, that’s cowardice – you’re no “Guardians of Peace”because you can bully and make fun of anyone behind your screens.
When you have to threaten anyone at all to get your way, in fact, it’s cowardice – and don’t think I’m turning a blind eye towards anyone in this instance. If North Korea is really innocent, they should not interfere with the U.S. Investigation, nor should they make threats if they don’t get their way.
When you shoot at people minding their own business and doing their job under the cover of “vengeance,” then conveniently kill yourself, that’s cowardice – at least have the balls to live long enough to take ownership of your lunacy.
I realize it can be uncomfortable, almost damning, to let other people criticize you. I realize there can be a lot of tension and pressure, and that the right thing can become murky at times. I realize people can be full of misinformation and lies about a situation, and that some people can be full of fear, anger or hatred over them.
In these instances, I can even be certain that not all of the information is out there, or that I have all of the facts – let alone anyone not directly involved in any of these incidents.
I do know that anyone – individuals, companies, cities, even country leaders – can be cowards. I do know the difference between cowardice and bravery. I do know it doesn’t take much to run and hide – as cowards do.
Excuse me while I take care of that nasty taste – the acidity of disgust is getting to me.