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I don't use Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media, much to the chagrin of my publisher. I did give in just enough to get a Linkedin account, some years ago, and I can occasionally be found there with a number of my friends and close business associates. Linkedin has been a great encouragement to me. In addition to keeping in touch with friends I don't always get the opportunity to call, I have been introduced to a number of people in businesses related to publishing, preparedness and other areas with which I have an interest.
Linkedin reflects the world landscape and lately there have been some interesting changes.
Among some users there has been a recent lack of tolerance of views which differ in any way from their own. Once someone says something, political or otherwise with which the reader does not agree, then it is received with hostility and name calling. Sometimes, the object of the attack responds with additional goading of the person who is already not really thinking that both customers and prospective employers who may be reading their rant, and thinking that they could need an anger management course rather than a job with their company. I have noticed this in the past month or so, but it has truly bubbled over within the last week. I knew that the United States was becoming increasingly polarized, but I had not fully appreciated the polarization and overt hostility toward others in the rest of the world, particularly in areas which were reputed to have been civilized.
Just now there are heated disagreements between those who think the American police should not shoot anyone at all. It surprised me to read that many people outside the US think police shouldn't be armed with guns at all. Others believe the police to be absolutely justified in shooting people who endanger life, limb or property. There are polarized and hostile arguments between Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and my all time favorite, All Lives Matter.
Then there are the young women, attorneys, physicians or CEOs who post an attractive picture who incur the wrath of a Muslim man from Oman or Saudi Arabia. It's unclear whether the men are upset that the women have a profession and are on Linkedin or whether they simply feel they should be able to direct any dark haired woman. This is followed by a CPA who screams that both the men and the young women are morons and should move their interaction to Facebook. At that point, I interject that one can adjust one's Linkedin feed at any time, if it doesn't reflect his own professional line up.
The next entry is a photo with a caption in which someone expresses their displeasure with Hillary Clinton and they allude to her lack of honesty with regard to her use of a private off site server which is contrary to federal law. Another person jumps to her defense with such tenacity that I am left concluding that he probably works for her campaign. I skip past all the Benghazi material because I wasn't planning on voting for her anyway, unless hell freezes solid.
The next entry is from a woman who has been accepted to the police academy. She is exploring how high she should wear her weapon as she is doing some study on firearms prior to school. A contingent of Australians complain that she has no business with a gun. A security contractor here in the US counters with the fact that a law abiding US citizen is certainly able to own and learn to use a handgun. An Australian woman counters saying that "statistics indicate that anyone buying a handgun has a forty percent chance of committing suicide in the following year". She cites some other "statistics" that are not only propagandized, but quite ridiculous. I responded by saying that handguns in trained hands actually prevent loss of life, and that there are actual statistics on that. This triggers a firestorm toward me. How dare I support a young woman police officer who will be carrying a weapon ! Another American woman who relates having been raped says that she will never be without her handgun again. Her passionate statement was like placing European hornets in a Virginia afternoon in late July. Then an angry British man joins in. Who could ever need an assault weapon ? I countered with my thinking of some weapons as anti-assault weapons, and that in rural places, having a rifle of a number of types can be very useful when you or your livestock are accosted by a band of coyotes, which happened to a neighbor where I am just this week. They don't actually care about that. The interesting thing to me was why some British people and some Australians are so vehemently opposed to firearms in a country that many of them have never visited. Their normalcy bias was so overdeveloped that they could not even fathom many of the circumstances that occur in many parts of the world on a regular basis. Both England and Australia may also be experiencing upticks in terrorist attacks in the future so their opposition to guns is interesting. Their pacifist mindset may effectively prevent their fighting back in any way during a terrorist attack.
Last week there was a group of pro Brexit people being blamed by others who wished to remain in the European Union. The level of hatred being spewed was particularly unusual, especially for professionals.
The interesting thing is that Linkedin is supposed to be a connection point for people of various professions in order to network. One can find a publisher, find an agent, a headhunter who specialized in your profession. One can keep in touch with co-workers from today, or with co-workers and bosses from three jobs ago. One of my kids keeps in touch with former college professors. This can be an excellent tool. I don't mind postings when someone is ill and needs prayers for a family member. I think it's sweet when someone posts a picture of their new baby twins. I do think however that calling other Linkedin posters morons, or telling them they are racists when race hasn't even entered the conversation is counterproductive for all.
Remember that Linkedin is simply a reflection of the world landscape. There are a lot of factors which impact our professional, economic and personal lives. Remember that although we all have commonalities that we all live in countries and regions that differ considerably. I don't tell people in Australia how they should live, and they shouldn't tell me.
As for the man who wished me Happy Eid this week, although I am not Muslim, I am choosing to take his wish in the spirit of brotherhood. However, I do plan to wish him a Merry Christmas later in the year. Be kind out there. There really is only one race.........the human one.