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Even the best of us fall prey to our blinders
The you-know-what hit the fan last month, after the RCMP moved in to enforce a court injunction against First Nations protesters in New Brunswick.
But this column isn’t about that incident at all.
It’s about the reaction on Facebook that littered my news feed, and the beating I took if I dared call to question anything the responding armchair-activists posted.
Before I get into the meat of this — lest you attack me for anything I’m going to say here — let me state my position on a couple of important issues.
I am in favour of First Nations’ land claims, and against fracking (what was being protested.)
But how is it that people who support a certain cause get so focused on their cause that they lose sight of both common sense and reality?
And then fail to question or think critically about (and blindly re-post) anything that comes across their news feed?
Tunnel-vision, that’s how.
I have a friend who is essentially a career student — intelligent, educated, and passionate about issues.
He hates Stephen Harper, loves science, and is an atheist.
I would have previously thought of him as a career skeptic.
But Thursday, he started posting some ridiculous claims and news (I use the term loosely) from extremely biased special-interest sources.
These, in turn led to even more ridiculous claims being made by other supporters.
I weighed in, and within a few exchanges was promptly told I was, “being a f---ing retard,” who had, “missed the point.”
All I was doing was dealing with arguments that had gone so far off the rails that the following was in the mix: New World Order, U.S. Delta Force operatives, the equivalent of “The Man,” fascism, military snipers, Illuminati (spelled as “illuminaty” by the poster) etc. etc. etc.
All of it — in the end — was, and still is, sensationalist B.S. whipped-up to further a cause.
It’s not much of a secret I work in the paintball industry. There’s a term we use in gun-fighting that I mentioned earlier: “tunnel-vision.”
That’s where you completely lose focus on the game going on around you, and just do everything you can to eliminate what’s in front of you.
Timed appropriately the effort is admirable, but any coach that’s good at his/her job will rip you in a heartbeat for doing so because 90 % of the time it ends badly for you, your team, or both.
The same can be said for discussions on controversial topics.
But the paintball analogy probably isn’t the best now that I think about it. If you get focused on just one opponent and lose sight of the other flanking you, you get shot up from the side. Lesson learned.
If you get focused on one issue or one opponent in a debate and ignore crucial details, fail to question sources, evidence, bias, media filter, and a myriad of other variables, apparently you can just call the person who holds a differing opinion “a f---ing retard” and move on.
Without learning any lesson at all.
Jay Siska writes monthly in the News Leader Pictorial. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.