March 31, 1999, The Matrix premiered in theaters. After seeing trailers and advertisements, I had to go see it. The Matrix was the first movie to use a new cinematographic technique called “view-morphing”. This process used still cameras to take photos nearly simultaneously in a sequential order to create what they coined “bullet-time“. Skip ahead a few years and someone created a robotic controller called Milo where you can maneuver around very fast on a track using robotic arms and a single camera without the need of editing still images. I was not only captivated by the new visual techniques of 1999, the movie started to really mess with my mind. “What if that was a possibility?” Even if it was completely fiction, my reality was under doubt as an 11th grader.
What if what I am currently in is actually an augmented reality? I’ll be a bit transparent and say that it took about a year for me to stop thinking about things in a Matrix kind of way. Fast-forward to 2012 where graphics are even more realistic, movies are now shown in 3D and even 4D.
When I was not absolutely sure of what I wanted to do with my future, I was easily swayed by the influences that media had on me.
Three weeks after its premiere, I saw the Dark Knight Rises in the theater. I know for a fact that this movie did not get the movie-going response that was expected due to James Holmes walking into a Colorado theater during a midnight showing of the movie while killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. He declared himself as “The Joker” to authorities while the gas-masked gunman threw a smoke grenade and then began shooting with 3 different guns. This seemingly “was a great kid growing up” was charged with 142 charges. One of each pair of the 24 murder counts is for acting with deliberation and intent, the other for displaying “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
The even more disturbing news in addition to James Holmes shooting spree inside the movie theater is the fact that people are rallying in support of Holmes, calling themselves Holmies. What could cause such a mindset that people would want to go through with an act like this or even support an act like this?
Anytime you hear about someone doing a disturbing act, you will find followers of them. After the September 11th attacks, there was a 15-year-old that was in support of Osama bin Laden that he stole a small plane and crashed it into a Bank of America building in Tampa, Florida.
One of the first things the news latches onto is what kind of music these people are listening to. After the Columbine shooters in 1999 went through the school killing classmates and then committed suicide, all eyes were on Marilyn Manson and Rammstein.
I state all of this information to ask a simple question. What media influences you?
If you say that none of it, that is a crock. Do you watch the news every day or read the paper every day? There are keywords and phrases used in the news that is conversational hypnosis techniques. The job of the news is not to tell you all of the facts but to keep you watching and coming back day after day. It is a show. It is a production that draws your attention while giving you facts from the point of view they wish to deliver them to you in order to keep you watching or reading.
What is your point?
I am bringing this up not to simply regurgitate things you have already heard about. It is simply a suggestion to open your mind about what you are allowing to influence your life. Music, movies, games, shows, news… things like this can have positive or negative impacts and unfortunately in recent months we have seen a slew of abnormal behaviors and I credit the media for it.
To take it steps further because maybe you feel you are already well-balanced, what about the people around you? You already have a good head on your shoulders, so maybe there are people close to you that do not have a steady head on their shoulders.
James Holmes used to be surrounded by people and then became a loner. That means that friends and family ceased to be part of his life even so much as to keep him accountable for things he decided to do. If one of his previous classmates took the time to talk to him and when decided to drop out, actually give him a call, would that have been enough to prevent this situation from happening? Hindsight is 20/20 and no one on earth can answer that question. But there is that “What if” factor.
What if someone had gone out of their comfort zone to simply ask him how things were going with school?
Personally, I miss a lot of opportunities to be selfless. I can tell you time after time that I should have spoken with someone but I would rather go about my own business. Not only in school, but family members, church members, people updating upsetting Facebook posts or even people on the train.
Selflessness could save someone’s day, or even someone’s life decisions. Pay attention to those around you because they may need you more than you need them.
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