When the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin hit the public consciousness, many commentators remarked that if the skin color of shooter and victim were reversed, the shooter would immediately have been arrested. I must respectfully beg to differ
Posts Tagged injustice
Recently in Canada, a Muslim man was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist on the basis of a text message in which he encourages colleagues to “blow away” the competition”. There are any number of problems here which I’ll briefly skim over, beginning with, how did the authorities come to be in possession of this mans private communications and once in possession of that communication, why did they choose to skip straight from suspicion to arrest without bothering to conduct even the most cursory investigation into the nature and circumstances of his communication?
My answer to both questions is that government is stupid. OK, so I’m summarizing here because there’s something else going on here that I find more interesting. If you read the article linked above, you will notice that it does not include the full text of the SMS that piqued the interest of the aforementioned stupid government functionaries. The further into the article that I got, the more glaring that omission became. By the time I had finished reading the article, I was firmly convinced that there was something in the SMS that the author of the article did not want me to know.
Sure enough, at a french language website called “Aufait” there is an article which contains the full text: “Salem, je serai à New York le 25 janvier, on va exploser ACN, si vous avez des contacts référez-les moi” Or, as Google translate would have it, “Salem, I will be in New York on January 25, ACN is going to explode, if you have contacts refer the me”
Now, I’m not saying that this message should have prompted the response that it did, indeed, the response by officials was absurd and over the top. However, assuming that I had come into possession of this communication, I would want to investigate the context in which the statement was made. But all of this is just government doing it’s usual bang up job of convincing intelligent people that government sucks.
What really interests me here, is the number of people who managed to read the Yahoo News article not only without realizing that something had been left out, but thinking that it had not been left out. Three people responding to the Slashdot article responding to a person asking what the text of the message was, insisted (in two out of three cases casting aspersions on the questioners intelligence for even asking) that the text of the message was in the article going on to point out that it contained the word “exploser”. Three people, readers of a website aimed at reasonably intelligent people, managed to read the entire article and were fooled into thinking that crucial information was in the article when all that they had been given was a single word out of a sentence of more than 20 words.
Quite frankly, I’m aghast. I cannot comprehend how a person could get to the end of the Yahoo News article without getting the feeling that the author was trying put one over on him. This is a failure of skepticism which I simply don’t understand.