There is so much awfulness in the world, so much crime, so many examples of bad things happening to good people, or bad things happening for no reason at all, that we all get numb to it.
We hear a news headline, or read about something, or overhear two people on the street discussing some tragic event, and it passes by us in minutes, maybe even seconds.
I don’t usually dwell on individual tragedies in this space, but this one, for some reason, hit me hard. I’m just going to lay out the currently-known facts for you of the Atlanta-area murder last weekend of a 19-year-old African-American man named Omarian Banks.
Banks was on his way in a Lyft car to his girlfriend’s apartment complex at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. He called the girlfriend, Zsakeria Mathis, 23, a minute before arriving to ask her to open the door for him.
Banks then knocked on an apartment door he thought belonged to Mathis. When no one answered, he started to walk away. Within a few seconds, a 32-year-old white male named Darryl Bynes opened the door to his balcony.
After Banks apologized for knocking on the wrong door, Bynes fired his gun three times, killing the teenager.
Bynes was arrested and charged with murder.
According to this New York Times story, Ms. Mathis and Mr. Banks, who turned 19 in March, had been living at the apartment complex for eight months, said Lisa Johnson, Bynes’ mother. She said Mr. Bynes’s apartment looked identical to her son’s from the outside, making it easy to mistake for his own.
“I don’t understand. I am dealing with the why,” Johnson said. “How someone could be that evil to just shoot someone that clearly made a mistake and was begging you for their life? This was a kid that was fleeing.”
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD???? A 19-year-old kid knocks on the door of the wrong apartment, tries to apologize, and is murdered for his troubles.
A mother is without her son, a girlfriend is without her boyfriend, and all those who loved Omarian Banks will never get to see him alive again.
Sometimes I wonder just what kind of world I’m bringing up my sons in. I really do.
**Next up today, I’m a few weeks late on this but I must share this remarkable piece from a recent “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” episode about public shaming. During his long segment about the dangers and horror of people who become “viral” for often incorrect reasons, or have one mistake they made in their life follow them forever on social media, John Oliver sat down with Monica Lewinsky to talk about this subject, which obviously she knows so much about.
Incredibly, it’s been 21 years since the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, and for whatever you may think of Monica, she has endured a living hell over the past two decades.
Remarkably, based on this interview she did with Oliver and some other research I did on her after watching it, she seems to have come out the other side braver, wiser, and committed to trying to be a positive light in the world.
I really, really enjoyed this 10-minute interview, and feel badly that she had to suffer as much as she did. I think if you watch it you’ll find it very revealing, and find yourself rooting for her in life.
**Finally today, a couple of recent stories have me pretty freaked out about the future of tracking technology, and people knowing where we are at all times.
First, “60 Minutes” did a story about Pegasus, this amazingly accurate software, sold by an Israeli company to governments around the world, that can crack any smartphone and trace just about anyone it wants. Of course the NSO Group, Pegasus’ owner and developer, said it doesn’t sell the software to terrorists or other groups seeking to do evil. But after watching this, not so sure I trust them on that one.
The other story much closer to home and one that actually affects our lives, was revealed to me almost off-the-cuff, in a profile of a writer named Lauren Duca, who I have kinda sorta heard of because Fox News moron host Tucker Carlson seems to have an odd obsession with her, talking about her articles in Teen Vogue and other places and denigrating her way more often than a non-obsessed person should.
But anyway, my point is this: In this profile on Jezabel.com was the following paragraph:
Duca repeatedly viewed, but did not respond to, six emails I sent her requesting comment over a period of nearly two months. Duca has an auto-reply that reads, in part, “Due to the absurd volume of emails I receive here, I am not able to respond to everything, and I also miss a lot of stuff. I will try to get back to you, but, if not: good vibes only!!” However, I know she opened them because for professional emails, I use a tracking service, which shows how often they were opened; the service showed that Duca viewed every email multiple times from her iPhone, her Gmail account, and another mail client.)
Wait… what??? There are email tracking services that show how you when and where a person has viewed an email you sent them, and how often?
That’s just creepy. And very, very odd. And disturbing. I think I’m going to try to go to sleep now. I’m not confident I’ll achieve success.
If you’re interested and brave enough to check out how these tracking services work, click here.
I’m going to climb under my covers now, thank you.