According to recent reports, the bombs at the Boston Marathon were activated by a remote control for a toy car. That means that the same product used to entertain young children at parties or chase the neighbor’s easily frightened dog around was used to injure almost two hundred people. This isn’t the first time something we’ve made has been used for evil. In fact, the majority of the things we use every day have, at some point, been manipulated for some other purpose.
1) Cell Phones
I check my cell phone first thing every morning and every 10 minutes after that for the rest of the day. It’s a problem, I know, but until someone invites me to a Cell Addicts Anonymous meeting, I’m going to continue moseying around like my brain is not fostering a technological dependence on a touch-screen brick. Cell phones are pushing the boundaries of connectivity and privacy in general. In fact, the mother of the bombing suspect says she hired someone to tap her son’s phone calls when she believed he was turning into a religious extremist.
I could make an entire post about Facebook but because I’m crunched for time, I’ll limit it to a couple of points. Facebook is not just a social networking site – it’s a summary of who you are. If you post a rant about a coworker on Facebook and your boss happens to stumble upon it, consider yourself fired, or at least subject to an awkward conversation later. If you’re a teacher and you post a picture of yourself drinking with a couple of coworkers and you’re friends with some of your students who could potentially see such “destructive” behavior, expect some sort of penalty. And don’t even get me started on Facebook bullying.
I call this one the Iron Man philosophy, in reference to the scene where Tony discovers the enemies are using the weapons that he built. Guns were originally created for self-defense, something which they are still used for today. They are also used for recreational purposes, such as shooting deer or cans or ceramic gnomes. For some reason, they are also used for shooting people, which I also won’t get into for the sake of avoiding a gun argument.
4) Free Speech
I love jokingly making fun of my friends and yelling out “This is a free country! We have free speech!” as much as the next person, but some people tend to take this rule too far. I could go into a tirade about a certain religious group called Restruro Laptist Burch but they don’t deserve the publicity. Free speech was made to allow people to speak against injustice and provide a voice for a cause that doesn’t get enough attention. Now, while it is still used for that purpose, it is used to publicly denounce people or ideas and get away without even a slap on the wrist. It is a large-scale version of adding “No offense” after something that is incredibly offensive.
5) Your Body
“If I said I want your body nowww, would you hold it against me?” – Britney
Okay, this one’s more of a joke but I felt like this post was getting a little too serious. Also, I realize it’s not “use it against me” but it still kind of works. JUST ACCEPT THE JOKE, OKAY?
Before you laugh, sit down and think about what Snapchat involves. Snapchat is a helpful application, as long as you’re using it to send distorted images of your face to your friends and not explicit pictures to your boyfriend/girlfriend that could potentially be snapshotted (is that the correct past tense?) and spread around. Basically: Snapchat leads to sexting leads to blackmail leads to a lot of very bad things.
7) Taste in Bad Pop Culture
Recently, one of my friends filled out a job application which asked “What are some of your favorite music artists?” Believe it or not, your taste in popular culture can affect where you work, who you interact with and what people think of you, even though it really, really shouldn’t. I listen to Taylor Swift to relax. Other people watch Teen Mom to get their mind off of real-life problems. So what? What you listen to or watch shouldn’t affect what people think of you but it is increasingly being used against us in everyday life.
Everybody loves cars. They let us have road trips where we can turn up our music so loud, we can’t even hear our own thoughts and cruise around in the summer with our hands dangling out the windows. But they are not so innocent. Cars, trains, planes – all of these are being turned into terror devices. Terrorists use all of these to wreck large-scale havoc and robbers use them to make a quick getaway after their crime (imagine a robber trying to escape on foot or on a horse…not nearly as effective).
Picture it: You and your friends are all sitting around drinking. Bill has one drink too many and blurts out how he’s always wanted to be a fairy. For the rest of his life, he’s nicknamed fairy queen and he can’t remember why. What started as a casual hangout resulted in you saying something embarrassing that will be used against you forever, until someone cracks and confesses what you did.
What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. YouTube proves that more than anything. What started as a way for friends to share home-movies has transformed into a business giant, one that doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Caught singing an embarrassing song to your webcam? YouTube will take that. Want to prove that that police officer really did hit your friend before arresting him? YouTube wants that too. Record a video of you and your friends fooling around with a passed out drunk girl? Put it on YouTube. It’s not like anyone will see it, after all.