Saturday, September 6, 2014

Internet Rage: Its Easier Than Caring (Treks Trek and how trolls can ruin anything)

The internet is a magnificent place where people of all backgrounds, pedigrees and interests can meet, share pictures of cats, mistake Duffle Blog stories for actual news (as opposed to satire, which was murdered in a double homicide as it was having dinner with Irony.) and get involved in this or that hot issue with no more investment than commenting on a picture.  Yes, the internet may just be where common sense and polite discourse went to die; unfortunately it didn't die of natural causes.

No, in a way we all killed it because emotion is easier to stand on than fact and we never let facts get in the way of how we want to feel about something.  It much easier to look at a picture and exercise our rage mode than read the story because that would involve getting the facts, or at the very least someones reasoning behind what they did. Of course we also have the sort of people who get involved in a debate for the sake of personal entertainment.
 Everyone has seen the troll in his/her natural habitat, which is where ever they want to be because its the internet.  Trolling has become prevalent enough that studies are being done on it, which will no doubt continue to be trolled.  I'm no stranger to trolls myself, I write articles and film videos.  Both end up on the internet because thats where everything goes these days.  I was given a piece of advice when I wrote my first article for the web "dont read the comments."

Well I didnt listen, because that was some stupid advice.  Seriously, how am I going to engage in thoughtful and interesting debate or answer questions on what I wrote if I dont read the comments? Hell...I forgot this was the internet.

(pictured:  My reaction to the  √úbermensch troll)

So fast forward to this week. Im already a hardened internet participant.  I write a few articles a month, post a video a week on Youtube and generally engage in the firearms community as much as I can because its still better than getting really excited about knitting (where I imagine the trolls are much less vicious).  This week I saw an article on Recoil about Erik "Trek" Utrecht and his 2000 mile ride to benefit the Brian Terry Foundation.  Brian Terry was a Border Patrol Officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2010. He was killed by a weapon linked to the Fast and Furious Scandal by a group of Sinaloa Drug Cartel members.  Trek is riding to raise funds for the Brian Terry Foundation, which at this very moment is more than a lot of us are doing.  Oh, but the article on Recoil Web didnt get reaction for what Trek is doing for the BTF...the trolls assembled because of what he did in a promotional video.

(pictured: burning an inanimate object that is a replica of another inanimate object)

Despite how you may feel about Springfield, the XD model handgun, fire or if he was needlessly using a welding mask to burn what is an airsoft replica of a an XD, the point wasnt the gun, it was to help send a message.  “I’d rather melt a gun than let the government give it criminals" said Trek. Following common sense; how Brain Terry was killed and how the Sinaloa shitbag came to be in possession of the murder weapon, I thought it was a powerful visual.  Well, the internet did not.

The larger message was missed.  The fact that Trek is giving his own time to ride 2000 miles to help raise money for the Brian Terry Foundation when some people cant be assed to walk 200 feet to vote isnt important, sayth the internet.  Hes obviously an anti-2A activist with an ax to grind against everyone, everywhere, ever.  Also, the video has to be fake because internet experts.

The trolls were out in force in a way I haven't seen since...since the last time the force was disturbed on the internet, which was probably 20 minutes before that photo hit Facebook.  Also, since it comes from a Recoil Web article, the obvious anti-2A connection is made (by what, I am unsure...something, something, Jerry Tsai=you hate America).

How does this make the 2A community look?  Hard to say because trolls by nature are not forthcoming with how they actually feel on a subject.  If you can sort through the self righteousness, faux indignation, clever puns, assumed intelligence and "inside" knowledge, oh, and above average horrible punctuation and spelling, you may be able to find out which side these guys play for but to be honest it doesnt even matter.  It doesnt matter because trolls shouldnt matter. "Dont read the comments" right?

We do read the comments.  We are social creatures, we want to interact and what better way for the gun community to interact than to help one of their own raise money for a good cause?  Well, says the trolls, we dont give a shit about Brian Terry, we are pissed because you set something on fire and if you are going to try and make a statement in such a way we will not support you. Only they probably werent going to support Trek to begin with.  Maybe if there was something to be won, a sticker, a T-shirt, a holster, a gun.  No, the people who will and do support Trek were the ones who would have done it anyway and a giveaway would just cheapen it, I think.

The internet rage over something like this is sad because it misses the point in a gloriously ridiculous way.  If the point was a continent across the ocean, the Trolls would be screaming the world is flat, and fat, and stupid and there's no reason to cross the water because the ocean wants to trample their rights.   Its even worse because it shows that some people cant even be bothered to interact in a meaningful way with something they care about.  Hell, its so much easier to just click share than it is to speak about something.  We dont identify ourselves by our views and opinions anymore, we identify with the macros and memes we share.  All our political, religious social and entertainment values summed up in neat little pictures (that are often hilariously not fact checked, also, chemtrails).  Content takes a side seat to visuals.  Even visuals get misunderstood and ranged against.  Many times its obvious that people just read the title and weigh in with their opinion; because what they have to say is important even if its totally off topic or a complete violation of reality.

I support what Trek is doing; I donated to the Brian Terry Foundation in the past but honestly haven't done so since.  I know thats more than a lot of people can say, who have not and have no intention of donating to anything, ever, if they arent immediately rewarded with a free hat or a cold bottle of soda but its still not much of an excuse.  With all the charities one can donate to, we honestly do have to choose.  Some people choose to donate to none, which works out great for their bottom line but doesnt help those in need.  I also totally agree with this choice as forced charity is called taxes and doesnt help very many people who cant otherwise help themselves.  I suppose it would be awesome if these same people, knowing they dont care, wouldn't pretend to care for the sake of entertainment.

 If you arent going to donate, dont care about Brian Terry or what Trek is doing, then that is 100% okay; showing your ass with the equivalent of fecal finger painting is not.  If you use someone elses platform as an excuse to show the internet how badass you are with a keyboard once you have the use of both hands, I'm not mad at you.  I feel bad that something is so wrong in your life that you have to use a charity event for a murdered police officer as a platform to get attention.  If you lost the ability to reason and cant get beyond the white hot rage you feel when anyone does anything you dont agree with, you are probably such and anti-social ass that being outdoors is physically painful for you and your only form of social contact comes from inciting others.  Still not mad at you.  I dont care that you dont care.

But if you do care; you can donate to Treks Trek here  and the Brian Terry Foundation here.  Just to put my money where my mouth is sotospeak, half of the proceeds from the next limited edition Sage Dynamics shirt will be donated to Treks Trek.  Standby for that.

Troll away.

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