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An odd humming sound comes from the sky. You look up and spot a drone, hovering there with the camera pointed right down at you. What would you do?
What if it wasn’t a drone? What if you were sunbathing on the beach and noticed some guy walking along wearing a Google Glass headset, obviously recording everyone? Would that make you angry? What about someone checking Facebook on their smartphone during a movie? Taking a call during dinner? Would these things make you angry enough to attack someone?
Believe it or not, all of these latest technologies — and how people are using them — have led to real violence.
In this article, I’m going to share three shocking stories where people have attacked gadget loving techies. Are these anti-technology Luddites with anger issues, or justified privacy-rights activists?
Don’t Fly That Drone Over Me!
In October, we asked all of you what you would do if you spotted a drone hovering over your property. The majority of you said, without hesitation, that you’d shoot that sucker right out of the air.
Dave Parrack was pretty shocked at how violent most readers were! Is that the exception or the rule? Well if events in Connecticut during the Spring were any indication, it’s the rule.
17 year old Austin Haughwout made the mistake of flying his quadcopter drone over Hammonasset State Park in Madison, Connecticut. Part of the flight route involved cruising over the beach along the edge of the park. The scenery he caught during the flight was actually pretty cool.
The one thing Austin didn’t plan on was getting assaulted by 23 year old Andrea Mears, because she assumed the only reason he was flying the drone over the beach was to zoom in on her stunningly gorgeous body (why else would a 17 year old boy fly a drone over a beach, am-I-right?)
After confronting Austin about the drone and accusing him of “taking close ups of people in bikinis”, she called the police. Shortly after hanging up with the dispatcher, the 23 year old began punching and scratching the teenager, pinning him to the ground and ripping his shirt. She could be heard calling him a “little pervert” and saying, “I’m gonna break your nose off.” He could be seen grimacing in pain and screaming, “stop assaulting me!” on the recorded video he was taking of the entire event.
The irony is that the cops almost arrested the boy based on the woman’s story that he had assaulted her. It wasn’t until he pulled out his secret weapon — the video of the entire assault — that police finally arrested the woman.
Turn Off Your Google Glass, Please
Think Google Glass headsets are innocent fun? Well, you may want to think again before heading out on the town wearing one.
In February, one woman was literally attacked in a San Francisco bar for wearing one. It happened at a bar called Molotov’s, when tech writer Sarah Slocum made the mistake of showing someone there how the headset works. Before long, two women — apparently paranoid about being videotaped with the headset, got angry with Sarah for using it in public. The disagreement reached a low when one man ripped the Google Glass right off Sarah’s face and walked out of the bar.
Sarah posted a video on YouTube about the attack, ultimately proving that the people who were upset were right, she really was recording video of people inside the bar.
Things turned into a fracas when Sarah followed the man outside of the bar and he insulted her. Another man defended Sarah by punching him. When it was all over, Sarah’s YouTube video led to a whole debate about whether she had any right wearing the Glasses in a bar that one man told CBS news, is frequented by patrons not very welcoming to high technology.
“I think everybody was just upset that she would be recording outside of a bar this late with obvious embarrassing behavior going on. And just rather insulted that someone thinks it’s okay to record them the entire time they’re in public.”
Sarah posted to her Facebook page that she had just been, “verbally and physically assaulted and robbed [someone took her purse and phone while she was outside] last night in the city.”
Should Sarah have been slightly more tactful with her use of Google Glass in public? Were the patrons justified in forcing her to put the headset away, or should anyone have the right to use whatever technology they want to use when they’re in public? These are the sorts of social problems that are rising out of the increased adoption of these small and convenient forms of public surveillance.
Theater Cellphone Use Is Bad For Your Health
Probably the worst example of anti-technology Luddite violence was the fatal theater shooting in January of 2014 that took place in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Yes, Americans are known for their love of guns, but this story even had the most ardent gun-supporter flinching.
It happened during a matinee showing of the movie “Lone Survivor”, when 43 year old Chad Oulson decided to text his daughter during the movie.
71 year old retired police officer Curtis Reeves complained directly to the man, who in turn defended his right to text. The argument lasted for a while, with Reeves attempting to complain to a manager, without any luck. When he returned, the arguing continued, and reached a climax when Oulson threw popcorn at Reeves, who then immediately pulled out a pistol and shot him.
Reeves now stands charged with second-degree murder. As of right now, the pre-trial hearings are still taking place, with an estimated trial date of March of 2015.
Setting aside the issue of guns in America and gun violence, what is it exactly about texting in a movie theater that gets people so riled up? Sometimes it seems as though the anger against tech-users in this case surpasses the level of the “crime”. I once wrote an article about how to check your phone or text in a movie theater without bothering people around you, the comments there were very telling about the two sides — the techie and the Luddite.
Jim B commented:
“It doesn’t matter what you do to hide the light from your phone, it always lights up the face of the person that uses it. It’s distracting, It’s inconsiderate and It’s rude.”
To which Tim B responded:
“And…if you can’t stand someone’s phone light three rows in front of you…then get a life. It’s a movie, not your kid’s birth. Last movie I was at, I heard bags crinkling, a baby crying, and people talking. Did it affect my viewing experience? No.”
What it seems to come down to is a level of comfort a person has with the extent to which people use technology. On the one extreme you’ve got a guy like my buddy Justin, who refuses to own a smartphone, lamenting about the loss of personal connections and relationships due to the devices. On the flip side you’ve got Erez, who openly admits he checks his email constantly, at odds times throughout the day, and he’s quite proud of it.
So, is the violence of a woman on the beach against a boy enjoying his brand new drone, or the fatal attack of a man against another text-happy movie goer simple a clash between these two extremes? Are these the growing pains of a society inevitably heading into a new world almost completely powered by technology? When can techies ever be safe, or will Luddites always be a threat?
Are you tech-obnoxious techie, or an angry Luddite? Let’s chat about this in the comments below.
Image Credits: Hands Via Shutterstock