In the wake of Christchurch mosques shooting in New Zealand that killed 50 people at two mosques, the shooter is expected to appear in court, but New Zealand’s Prime Minister said on Thursday that she wants to do everything to deny him of the attention that he craves for.
“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in an address to Parliament. “But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”
“And to others, I implore you,” she added, “speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.”
Her comments that extend to other global news platforms and social media networks to put an end to the proliferation of hateful contents that reflects the global struggle to decongest the information pool from materials that validate the identity of those who should not be named.
Many argued that it is essential to name terrorists and mass shooters and publicize their identity to warn others who might have similar sinister intentions of the consequences they might face if they translate their thoughts to actions. However, it seems that this media strategy is not working.
The number of mass shootings in the US has increased exponentially since the early 2000s. On average, a mass shooting now occurs every 12.5 days. Before 2000, there were about three mass shootings per year. This increase has been seen to grow in the age where information is much more accessible. It appears that the more that these incidents are reported the more that people are inspired to follow their footsteps.
The gunman who attacked two mosques in New Zealand on Friday was said to have been inspired by the man who in 2015 killed nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. This furthers the contention that other mass shooters in the past practically inspire a new wave of mass shooters.
Experts call this “media contagion effect,” that media coverage can inspire others to copy the actions of criminals or commit similar crimes.
According to the study from University of Washington and University of Alabama, “prior research has shown that many mass shooters have explicitly admitted they want fame and have directly reached out to media organizations to get it. These fame-seeking offenders are particularly dangerous because they kill and wound significantly more victims than other active shooters, they often compete for attention by attempting to maximize victim fatalities, and they can inspire contagion and copycat effects.”
Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama, who has studied the influence of media coverage on future shooters, said it’s vitally important to avoid excessive coverage of shooters.
“A lot of these shooters want to be treated like celebrities. They want to be famous. So the key is not to give them that treatment,” he said.
Not only that identifying the perpetrators provide them the satisfaction of fame, no matter how bad the publicity is, creating an identity to mass shooters, terrorists, and heinous criminals allows sympathizers to generate a counter-narrative that will paint them in a better picture.
Once a shooter or a heinous criminal is identified, news reports will automatically pour in to discuss how a “good father” ended up to become one of the most horrifying mass shooters in history. When information about the shooter’s background, his childhood, his daily life comes into the picture, it is easy for supporters to create a narrative aims to solicit sympathy. And this is dangerous.
This shifts the conversation from “a man has killed 50 people after he shot them” to “a good man may have been motivated by his lack of father figure at home.” The idea of humanizing the perpetrators of mass shootings by creating their identity makes it easier for them to become relatable, reasonable, and for spectators to forget about their crimes.
According to Adam Lankford and Eric Madfis, “media organizations should no longer publish the names or photos of mass shooters (except during ongoing searches for escaped suspects), but report everything else about these crimes in as much detail as desired.”
This notion will not only prevent copy-cats from copying what these mass shooters have done, but it will also stop people from creating a ‘mass shooter archetype.’ While creating a profile of who mass shooters are is important for police investigations, it is not that necessary for people to know. These ‘archetypes’ only forward misguided stereotypes against people who share the same profile – hence the global contention that Islam equates terrorism.
Numerous academic findings lead to one conclusion: mass shooters should not be named. And the police and media should listen to them.
How Tech Companies Affect Communities In Places They Call ‘Home’
Tech companies are today’s driving forces in the economic world, mostly because of the introduction of the Internet. It allows a plethora of companies to create products and services, which they can communicate to, interact with, and ultimately, make sales across a very far-reaching and diverse audience.
Give or take, tech companies can easily crash and burn, but they can also quickly soar like rockets blasting off to space, and when they do, it happens so fast that the community around them would hardly even notice.
The general idea about tech companies revolves around the notion of success and the opportunities that come along with it. When a particular product or service is excellent, everybody knows it’s going to grow big, and it’s going to grow fast. Furthermore, successful tech companies bring in more jobs, and overall, strengthens the community it calls home.
However, there is a general misconception with tech companies; where all they bring are good tiding for the community around them. People or even the media hardly talk about the adverse effects these companies bring into the lives of the communities in which they decide to reside. That is, of course, until it’s too blatant to neglect.
In a very public demonstration, we have seen Amazon pull up a beauty pageant of sorts across all the cities in North America. They called it a search for the location of their second headquarters; we call it blatant capitalistic greed that aims to take advantage of the government’s resources and bend political will into their favor.
During the fiasco that was New York’s Long Island City, government officials were torn between giving Amazon the $3 billion project that it was asking, including a helipad, or refuse because of the tech giant’s reputation for going against worker’s unionization and other workplace misconducts.
Nonetheless, most New Yorkers were like horses to a carrot with Amazon’s bait of an additional 25,000 jobs and billions of dollars in taxes for the government. If you think about it, $3 billion was a dollar compared to what they would have gotten in return. However, the way Jeff Bezos’, the richest man in the world with over a hundred billion dollars in his name, wanted to offer the deal was outright out of blind greed as he could have easily afforded to build their HQ2.
On other news, Seattle is rivaling for the crown of America’s next Silicone Valley with the big tech having its headquarters in the city. Seattle’s also becoming a hub for tech startups.
According to a GeekWire report, Seattle supports 165,264 high tech software and services jobs, representing 42% of all office jobs in the city. Some of the United States’ most significant and most influential tech firms call Seattle home or are significant employers in the area, including Amazon (approximately 40,000 people), Microsoft (around 45,000), Accenture (over 1,200) and Google (over 2,000).
Due to the success of tech giants, the city has attracted more than 105,000 new residents since 2010, a population increase of 16 percent.
From the point of view, a very far end, you could see that people who work for tech companies have amazing job locations with beautifully laden landscaping, gleaming buildings, and an excellent payroll. But, you won’t get to see the average person who hardly works for tech such as a cleaner or entirely doesn’t work or tech at all.
In a report by the NBC, they stated that Seattle’s having a significant problem with housing. Specifically for people who don’t make enough money to afford them, at least in their city.
Quick-to-grow tech companies have given the residents a whiplash and could hardly adjust to how much the city is changing as more and more people flock the state for job opportunities, specifically, how real estate has drastically increased over the years.
As a summary, real estate functions mainly out of demand. So, when more and more people want a piece of land, the price for the chunk goes higher and higher. With fast-growing cities like Seattle, this could easily pose as a problem for people who still work with low to medium-income salaries.
Tech companies aren’t the ones mainly at fault, but it cannot be denied that this is simply an unavoidable circumstance from the situation. They may have helped 42% of the workforce, but let’s not forget about the rest of the 58%.
In conclusion, tech companies are not the spawn of evil, but nor they are the best thing that could ever happen to a community. There are pros and cons to every situation; it’s just worthy to note that people shouldn’t be blinded by big promises so quickly.
RingCentral VoIP Review
VoIP has had a significant shift from a technology exclusively used by the early adopters or hobbyist to a widely adopted business form of communication. The industry expects an annual growth rate of 3.1% between 2019 to 2024 with a
Undoubtedly, the business is exponentially growing at a breakneck pace, and VoIP providers are flocking in, offering packages that may or may not fit to what your business goals are. Hence, with our continued interest of unraveling the best VoIP provider, we are going to review key players in the industry and showcase opinions that will help businesses to determine solutions that work.
When it comes to the VoIP race, RingCentral is one of those providers that you won’t miss out not to mention. Aside from its flexible pricing offers, the company has established a solid foundation in catering the communication needs of small-time businesses and large enterprises.
RingCentral was founded back in 1999 by Vlad Shmunis, and since then, the cloud-based company introduced new ways to connect and collaborate remotely. For almost 20 years of providing VoIP services, RingCentral has significantly banked on its easy VoIP setup, competitive prices, and cloud-based management system. In a sense, the VoIP provider established itself as one of the big names in the VoIP market.
As previously mentioned, RingCentral offers versatile and relatively competitive price packages. RingCentral starts things off with their Essential Plan that costs $19.99/month, which is suitable for small-time businesses with less than ten employees. The package supports up to 10 users with a four-person limit on its audio and video meeting feature.
The Essential Plan unlocks RingCentral 24/7 customer support lines and offers unlimited phone calling, 100 toll-free minutes, customer management and phone service administration, and other basic features necessary for small-time businesses.
The next tier that RingCentral offers is the Standard Plan which costs $24.99/month. The $5 difference from its Essential package provides businesses with a little more space to work with, especially with its zero-limit on the number of users. However, video and audio conferencing are still limited to four people at a time.
The RingCentral Standard Plan doesn’t have much of a difference from its Essential plan, aside from getting 1,000 toll-free minutes per month. Further, the package credits you the same basic feature with a multi-level auto attendant that works as a virtual receptionist for routing calls to the right department. The Standard Plan also credits you internet fax and call log support that will come in handy during end-of-the-month business reporting.
If you think the previous offerings are small enough to fit your business needs, RingCentral has a Premium plan that costs $34.99/month. The package poses a vast amount of support for your business such as multi-site support, custom app development and deployment, and SalesForce, Zendesk, and Desk integration. The RingCentral Premium pushes the audio and video meeting limit to 100 people with toll-free minutes of up to 2,500/month. You’ll also get Voicemail Transcription to Text support which converts voicemails to text for easy documentation.
The last tier that RingCentral offers is the Ultimate Plan for $49.99/month. The package provides the same amount of support as the Premium but boosts the number of minutes to 10,000 and the audio/video meeting bandwidth to 200 people.
How It Works?
Before starting things off with RingCentral, the first thing you need to know is if the service or the package fits your business goals. If the answer is yes, then there are two ways in installing RingCentral; its either you use your existing phones, or you purchase new equipment from RingCentral themselves.
If you opt to use your current desk phones, installing RingCentral is as easy as plug and play. Just plug your phones and computers to the internet jacks and install the RingCentral app to your employees’ smartphones. After installation, you’ll get to enjoy all the features based on the RingCentral package you opt to choose. And, since RingCentral is cloud-based, you can use its dedicated app for all your voice calls, faxing, audio/video conferencing needs.
With RingCentral’s plethora of features, you don’t have to rely on your traditional phone lines to handle all your business communication requirements. You’ll get competitive management support, technology-forward IVRs, relaxing hold music, call management, and other basic features put in place so that you’ll never miss a call again.
Comparison and Contrast
RingCentral is indeed one of the top tier VoIP providers in the market today. Its call management feature that enables businesses to customize their ways of communicating is one the best qualifier for RingCentral. You’ll get call forwarding on the go with easy deployment based on your business or department’s answering rules. You can easily configure automatic call recording and convert them to text for easy documentation. You’ll also enjoy auto attendant, a feature that directs calls on the right department, to ensure that all requests go to the right person and provide solutions at first touch.
However, comparing RingCentral to other VoIP providers, there are noticeable differences that one cannot just disregard. Let’s use Nextiva for example. Nextiva is also one to the leading VoIP players today, and statistically speaking, Nextiva is a highly-acclaimed cloud-based software provider with 99.99% reliability rate across NYC to Seattle.
Nextiva’s VoIP plans provide consumers more flexibility at a more cheaper rate. For $20, Nextiva’s Basic Plan equates to RingCentral’s Standard Plan with more added features. You’ll get additional support such as Advance Call Management and number porting for free.
Nextiva’s Pro Plan steps the notch even higher. You’ll get a customized greeting feature that works significantly in building your brand. Furthermore, you’ll receive Text Messaging support that enables you to connect with your team and customers at your own pace and desire. Limitation towards the number of people allowed for conferencing is not much of a concern within Nextiva’s VoIP packages. In a sense, you’ll get more added support at a price relatively cheaper than what you get from RingCentral.
When setting up Nextiva, you can opt for Nextiva’s professional installers to set up your VoIP lines for free. Through this installation method, you’ll get to work with Nextiva on how you want to customize your VoIP solution. This method also eliminates common installation failure. But, with regards to the accessibility of installing Nextiva’s VoIP, you’ll get the same amount of convenience RingCentral offers.
RingCentral is, without a doubt, a competitive VoIP provider. However, the limitations on specific price plans are very concerning. Its Essential Plan lacks mobility and essential features like auto attendant and automatic call recording that are necessary for today’s business needs; unless you pay $15 more to employ such elements.
While, if you compare it to companies like Nextiva, who are offering relatively the same or more amount of features on its basic plan, it enables businesses to manage communications with more flexibility without paying more than it should be. And, with today’s competitive market, getting extra elements at a price lesser than the other, is a motivational factor to choose Nextiva aside from RingCentral.
More importantly, in choosing your cloud-based solution, you should understand what your business goals are, and see if the provider offer such features. Don’t just settle with prices, and pick a solution that enables you to manage your calls and business needs on a much broader scale.
April Fools Jokes Aren’t Just “Jokes”
April Fools is undoubtedly a fun day, exceptionally if you have crafted the most elaborate prank on your friends and loves ones. However, while your intention may probably be all about having fun, there are things that you should never joke about no matter what.
Sensitivity has been an ongoing discussion on different platforms, especially in comedy. It begs the question of whether a joke should be taken seriously or not as it was just, as has been said, a joke. Many comedians have been slammed for making racist and homophobic remarks in public. While critics understand that those were just intended to be jokes, those remarks will still have a significant impact on other people.
Take for example the case of Kevin Hart who has repeatedly posted homophobic tweets such as those indicating how he would beat his sons if they turn out to be gay. Hart defended himself by saying that they were just jokes and people should not take the thing into a deeper level. Nonetheless, amidst his repeated, yet insincerely crafted apologies, he was dropped from hosting this year’s Academy Awards.
Drag queens and other comedians also have similar experiences. Silky Nutmeg Ganache, a current competing queen in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 was exposed to have made an Islamaphobic joke in reference to her fellow queen, Mercedes Iman Diamond. Silky said in a panel interview that their season would be a “Bomb” considering that Mercedes, the first Muslim contestant in the reality T.V. show, is part of the cast. Many people slammed Silky for this remark, calling her the “most problematic queen ever.”
One thing to understand is that jokes aren’t just “jokes.” They are words with meanings and are open to all forms of interpretations. The intention of making those jokes became irrelevant in this discussion because those words will potentially have an impact on people, outweighing your freedom to have fun. That is the reason why most governments criminalize things as trivial as bomb jokes – they can potentially be a source of danger, offense, or panic.
Making jokes for fun is one thing; making problematic ones is a different story. When you talk to cat-callers in the streets and ask them why they would cat-call a woman they don’t even know; chances are, they would tell you that they were only joking. Sure, catcalling may be a joke for them, but it isn’t funny for women who were put in an uncomfortable position and harassed in the name of a “joke.”
In hindsight, jokes are harmless (well, most of them). But problematic jokes like homophobia, racism, and intolerance-based jokes are. They normalize a notion that should have been abolished for a long time already. When you joke about rape, you reduce the gravity of the crime into a subject that people can laugh about because it was not a ‘big deal.’ Abuse is not something that people can laugh about, and it is a big deal.
People loosely and recklessly throw out the “why are people so sensitive nowadays” and the snowflake rebuttal every time a problematic “joke” is being questioned. For one, being sensitive to the things that are happening around you is a symptom of a healthy mental state (and of a working moral compass). There are just so many atrocious things that other people are facing right now for you to joke about their experiences, their upbringing, their culture, their lifestyle, or their appearance.
Furthermore, a good sense of sensitivity is a sign that we, as people, are growing. The mere fact that we were not sensitive about homophobic jokes and racist banters before signals that we were in a horrible time when gay people are thrown into jail just for cross-dressing or when black people are segregated because of their skin color. Being “too sensitive nowadays” is acknowledging that these horrible times happened and these inhumane things happened to people. It is a conscious effort to prevent society from regressing to the dim and ghastly past of intolerance and insensitivity.
It is through this level of sensitivity that we help create a safe, warm, and welcoming environment to people who are different, in some ways, from us. Having an overly sensitive society is having a community that cares about the feelings of the marginalized sector – women, queer people, persons with disabilities, black people, immigrants, and refugees.
If being sensitive to jokes is what it takes to remind people that there are others are affected by the jokes they make, everyone should be sensitive to jokes. It will not even limit your ability to have fun; it will just change the way you do it.
Joking is a way for people to de-stress and to overcome their troubles in life; but make sure that you don’t make it harder for other people to live in the world that your privilege allows you to enjoy, in the process. Being responsible with the things we poke fun at goes a long way. /apr
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