Sometime in the last few years, a woman had a hobby she'd developed in recent years. She would spend time using search engines, searching out the names of people she knew, family members, people in the news that interested her in some way. She did it for the same reasons others collect stamps or climb mountains and becuase she had learned that some of the things that could be found in these searches were really interesting, even entertaining.
She had an ex husband. She hadn't see him in years and seldom thought of him. They had split over a decade ago and gone their separate ways. She had the children, and that was just fine with him.
One day while exploring the treasures that can be found in search engines, she started a series of searches using his name. She wasn't interested in seeing him again and she didn't have an axe to grind if she found him. Her motive was curiousity, "I wonder whatever happened to..."
After a some searching she found a reference to him. He had died earlier that year. Partly out of curiousity and partly because some of her children were his and might want to know someday about their biological father she looked for more information. It took some time, casually but deliberately searching when there wasn't more pressing thing to do. Then it happened.
In the latest of many searches there was a hit on his name. The link led her to a posting on a message board frequented by young people halfway across the country. One of them had posted a message about being on the way home from work one day, seeing police shortly after they had found a dead body in an alley. Traffic was slowed while he watched with morbid fasination as the body bag was loaded into the ambulance and quietly driven away.
In his posting, he said that he thanked satan for giving him the gift of his man's sacrifice in celebration of the his birthday. He talked about having seen a newspaper account a day or two later that said a homeless man had fallen off of a freway overpass. Several of his friends on the message board joined in, talking about how cool it was and making fun of the dead man's fate. They freely used the dead man's name, making all manner of assumptions about why the man was homeless and talked about him being involved with drugs, booze and sex.
The woman who had searched was shocked, not only to learn of her ex's fate, but even more because of the way that these young people had spoken about a man that they knew nothing about. She took the time to post a message on that board, asking them to please not use the man's name because his children were beginning to use the internet and sooner or later their curiousity would lead them to discover these postings and result in needless upset and possible emotional harm.
The youth who posted the original message and his friends immediately went on the attack. The vileness of their postings became worse and worse. They attacked the dead man's memory, making a mockery of his misfortune that ended in death. Several of them told stories about doing things like passing out sandwiches to homeless people... some of which were laced with pepper spray or lsd.
She commented on their cold hearted attitudes and total disregard and utter contempt for a human life not their own. They ridiculed her and her concerns. When they realized that she was Christian because she had actually used a sincere "God Bless" in signing a message, they expanded their ridicule and mockery to her faith, posting the most disgusting, hatefull things they could come up with.
The story only ended when the admin of the message board deleted all of the messages on that topic.
The single saddest, most telling thing thing about this story is that it is true. The names and most details have been left out or altered to protect the privacy of those involved. This story, being true, illustrates most vividly the words of the apostle Paul as he warned Timothy about the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1-5, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
These young people had every attribute listed in this scripture.
Speaking of vile things... This display certainly qualifies
'Bodies' opens early in Tampa
By CARY McMULLEN
N.Y. Times Regional Media Group
August 19. 2005 6:01AM
TAMPA - Ignoring controversy and the disapproval of the state Anatomical Board, hundreds of people lined up Thursday to see ''BODIES, The Exhibition,'' a display of specially preserved cadavers and body parts at the Museum of Science and Industry.
The exhibition opened two days early, despite a ruling against it Wednesday by the board, which oversees the use of cadavers by the state's medical schools. By 4:30 p.m., 1,391 people - nearly three times normal Thursday attendance - had bought tickets to see it, said Tanya Vomacka, a spokeswoman for the museum.
With all that's happened in Afghanistan, I cannot help but think that time, money and other resources would be much better spent helping the needier people there. But instead, statues of a false god are being re-created as holograms. Priorities are certainly off here.
AP: Artist to Re-Create Destroyed Buddhas
Aug 8, 6:00 PM (ET)
By SOLVEJ SCHOU
LOS ANGELES (AP) - When the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan destroyed two 1,600-year-old Buddha statues lining Bamiyan Valley's soaring cliffs, the world shook with shock at the demise of such huge archaeological treasures.
Now, artist Hiro Yamagata plans to commemorate the towering Buddhas by projecting multicolored laser images onto the clay cliffsides where the figures once stood, about 80 miles west of Kabul.
The explosive growth in the use of security cameras is reaching the point where it's getting hard to keep track of where they all are. The shame of it is that these cameras are on the whole not going to do much if anything to prevent terrorism or crime. Their images will be used whenever possible in court cases, but while this is making them look like a good idea, we are more and more living in a world where no matter where you go, you are in some way being monitored. Privacy is threatened more now than ever before.
Security Cameras Proliferate in Manhattan
Aug 14, 7:25 PM (ET)
By TOM HAYS
NEW YORK (AP) - Six could be seen peering out from a chain drug store on Broadway. One protruded awkwardly from the awning of a fast-food restaurant. A supersized, domed version hovered like a flying saucer outside Columbia University.
All were surveillance cameras and - to the dismay of civil libertarians and with the approval of law enforcement - they've been multiplying at a dizzying rate all over Manhattan.
"As many as we find, we miss so many more," Alex Stone-Tharp, 21, said on a recent afternoon while combing the streets, clipboard in hand, counting cameras in the scorching heat.
Data retention policies like this are already in place in the UK and now US DOJ is moving in the direction of getting policies like this in place here.
Many people will argue "If you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide.", but that argument fails to address the fundamental human right to privacy. Not only that, but the one's who make that argument don't realize the impact that monitoring will have even on their lives.
Your ISP as Net watchdog
Published: June 16, 2005, 4:00 AM PDT
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.
Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept.
In theory, at least, data retention could permit successful criminal and terrorism prosecutions that otherwise would have failed because of insufficient evidence. But privacy worries and questions about the practicality of assembling massive databases of customer behavior have caused a similar proposal to stall in Europe and could engender stiff opposition domestically.
This kind of policy, along with RFID, represents one of the greatest threats to personal liberty and privacy that exists today. Christians everywhere will recognize the seeds that will eventually grow into the mark of the beast.
'Digital birth ID' stirs privacy debate
By Dara Kam
Saturday, August 13, 2005
TALLAHASSEE - Imagine a virtual "thumbprint" that attaches your time and place of birth to your photo and iris scans - one of millions collected, warehoused and monitored by the watchful eye of Big Brother.
The technology is no longer just the stuff of science fiction. It's pretty much old news to tech-savvy security experts. Boring, even.
No government has tried it out on a large scale, but Florida might become the first.
A defense contractor has proposed that the state assign a "digital birth certificate" to each of its 16 million residents, in what some experts say is the best way to protect privacy and others fear is an entr e into a dystopian future.
"It is as Orwellian as you imagine it to be, and should be frightening," said Oscar Gandy, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications who specializes in technology and public policy.
The proposal comes in response to a law quietly passed on the last day of this year's legislative session and signed by Gov. Jeb Bush.
Here's another one. A program that is presented in such a way that it looks like a good idea, helping protect us from terrorism. But it's another means to limit and monitor people's ability to travel. How long before one must have a travel permit to move about the state or across the nation?
Biometric IDs could see massive growth
By Thomas Frank, USA TODAY
Mon Aug 15, 7:21 AM ET
The concept was simple at first: Frequent fliers would clear a background check, become "trusted travelers" and be sped through less stringent airport security.
But now, the government's small, 13-month-old test program known as Registered Traveler is provoking an intense and increasingly complicated debate about privacy and the proper roles of government and business. The resolution could have far-reaching implications not only for how Americans travel by air, but how they conduct their daily lives and commerce.
Government background checks conducted for the Registered Traveler program, and the biometric ID cards issued to those who enroll, could in the future determine how someone makes a purchase on credit, enters an office building or arena, turns on a cell phone or boards a train.