Information overload often brings more heat than light

MLKinjustice copyInformation overload got the better of me the past two weeks.

It’s not that I didn’t want to keep up with the SCOTUS rulings, the South Carolina church murders, and the escape and capture of two convicted murderers in northern New York.

I went online often to catch up, and there was just too much — too many posts, too many tweets, too many angry, polarizing comments.

Too much noise.

I tuned a lot of it out, figuring the passage of time would bring some welcome light, rather than heat, into the court of public opinion. So, with a nod to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words above on his memorial in Washington, D.C. …

The South Carolina murders and the Confederate flag: Why did it take the premeditated murders of nine black church-goers by a white racist to force an entire nation to do something about state-sponsored racism?

Let’s look around. Are there other symbols besides the Confederate flag in our midst that we accept, or will continue to ignore, until another act of hatred wakes us up? (And has anyone noticed that eight black churches in the south have caught fire since the murders?)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The SCOTUS rulings

When I toured the Supreme Court a couple of years ago and looked up at those nine chairs, I was in awe of our nation’s history, its Constitutional foundation and its balance of power. Sitting in the very chamber where decisions have been made to shape this country (school desegregation, due process, the right to counsel, etc.) was almost overwhelming. I felt proud and fortunate to live here and now. 

Last week I tried to educate myself on the dissenting justices’ positions on the Affordable Care Act and especially on same-sex marriage. I couldn’t understand such opposition to equal rights, and hoped for a reasonable explanation based on their interpretations of law and the Constitution. 

Starting with Justice Scalia was a mistake, as the snarkiness in his dissent on same-sex marriage was far from informative, and downright discouraging. And I had more than a little trouble with this statement from Justice Thomas: “Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.”  

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

The Dannemora prison break: A convicted murderer (who dismembered one of his victims) was shot and killed by authorities Friday, three weeks after he and another inmate escaped from prison. Two days later, his fellow escapee — a cop-killer — was shot but captured alive.

Comparisons to films like “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Cool Hand Luke” (by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others) and speculation about who would portray these two bad actors in a movie, made me cringe. The escapees didn’t vandalize parking meters, or spring from the imagination of Stephen King. They killed people, including a sheriff’s deputy. So why make mythical cult figures out of them?

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in American History, Irish Investigations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Information overload often brings more heat than light

  1. I don’t get media overwhelm because I get most of my headlines via Twitter or the occasional news flash on my smartphone. However, I did read the dissents from Thomas & Scalia; hogwash, though I didn’t expect anything more.

    As to the movie thing… yeah, that one caught me off guard. However, when you think about it, almost everything today can and is turned into a movie once a story reaches the compelling stage. I won’t be surprised if there’s a Caitlin Jenner movie next year.


    • Jim McKeever says:

      Thanks, Mitch … not only are there a lot of half-truths and lies about important events, but you have to wade through all the celebrity nonsense and titillating crime stories to find coverage of significant news. I didn’t know about the eight recent church burnings in the south until a Facebook friend who lives out west shared a link from a South Carolina newspaper. Pathetic.


  2. Joseph McKeever says:

    Great post. Well said.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice post. I was a bit baffled to learn that after the same sex ruling was handed down some Americans proclaimed they were moving to Canada. Uh, you you know we’ve had same sex marraige here since 2005? It was the same year my wife and I got married and we were even sent a special certificate to commemerate the event.


  4. I am deeply saddened by what happened to the people in the church, who became victims of hate. People who’s lives were destroyed and their families will never be the same. I cannot understand why or how someone could do this to another human being. Sometimes I skip going on social media because this world can be a really messed up place Jim.


  5. Jim, the news today, oh boy. I haven’t had TV for many years, but stream news and listen to NPR. I still go eek when I’ve had it. Crying.


  6. A very poignant post Jim – thank you for writing it; for the questions you asked within it. A quote I recently read that seems to fit as well was something like: We will never have justice until the unaffected are as outraged as the affected. I believe Jefferson said that. ❤
    Diana xo


  7. I will vote for you.

    And there is no way a movie of this should be made. None.

    Make a movie of the lives of the people who were taken. They deserve to be remembered.


  8. rachelwhims says:

    It did get noisy, didn’t it? Great post, Jim.


  9. markbialczak says:

    Thanks for looking deeper despite the noise, my friend. I love the MLK Jr. quote directly from that stone. Very nice. The dissenting opinions from SCOTUS roil me; what we had at Denemorah was much graver than a failure to communicate, that’s for sure. We need to check in for a live meet-up soon. Miss you, my friend.


  10. Jim McKeever says:

    Thanks Mark … Life’s been busy of late, so my time in Bloggyville has been under the Mendoza line, if you will. I’ll catch you up on my schedule in a message.


  11. Thanks, Jim, for the thoughtful comments. Some of these instances still leave me shaking my head.

    News reports say that 6 of the 8 fires at black churches were arson. One was a lightning strike. I don’t know the origin of the other. But even one fire at a black church – or any place of worship – is horrible.

    The prison escapees from Dannemora would have killed if given the chance. To me, the movie that this relates to would be “Cape Fear.” Residents in that area were rightfully on edge until the convicts were caught. The Dannemora escapees were totally unlike the characters in the movie, “Shawshank Redemption,” and should not be glamorized. In the movie, Tim Robbins was serving time for a crime he did not commit. Red (Morgan Freeman) is also serving time for a death – the circumstances differ from the book to the movie. But Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins both play likable characters who just wanted their freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

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