Telephone or Gun?

Is the Smart Phone a Weapon?

In control of the conversation on the phone or the gun in his other hand?

We have the mobile phone disease impacting everywhere now. Recently a video went everywhere when a South African immigration officer was filmed busy posting when supposedly checking passports ( Maybe a step up from the first time when I crossed the Tanzanian border and I was stamped in without a check so I could not witness the large transaction of cash to facilitate a very dubious looking passport and it’s holder getting in to the country.

Now we are seeing a greater menace as bored police, paramilitaries and military personnel are busy on their mobiles with a gun slung across their lap or held carelessly in one hand with full attention being paid to the latest online offering. Low and behold, maybe they will be laughing at the immigration officer caught too heavily involved with their social media to pay attention to the person filming them not paying attention to the passport they are processing.

And people wonder why machine learning, drones, robots and artificial intelligence are replacing them?

The US military found they needed to organise breaks for their drone pilots ‘flying’ long missions as they became bored. What a surprise flying from a distance and taking a full (decent) working day to undertake a mission. Add in the disembodied element to this and we have real issues of being able to kill without feeling.

Now we have the situation Gil Scott-Heron talked on, the revolution will not be televised ( ). Nonetheless are we now on the brink of everything not only being televised but streamed live with surround sound? Will it not only be streamed maybe you will be part of the engagements? It seems some who should be shooting with guns may well be setting up photo shots instead.

There are numerous conflicts, horrendous conflicts, on-going at the moment. D R Congo is a mess and, whilst acknowledging the good intentions of the UN organising yet another huge appeal (US$1.7billion to support 13million people — press the buttons on the calculator on your phone — this works out at US$130 per person), it is interesting the approach being taken by the Congolese Government in boycotting the pledging event as they seek investments of a more sustainable kind. Read into this what you will; perhaps this is the classic example where a place, a situation, should be streamed live to have people understand just what is being done by whom for who? Certainly, reports from Eastern Congo have implicated elements of the UN in becoming embroiled in the problem rather than the panacea that used to be expected of this all encompassing acronym.

There was talk, when the South African forces went in to Congo a decade plus ago, with phone coverage, the atrocities would diminish. No diminishment. Some more excellent work on corporate supply chain responsibility on the raw materials dug from DR Congo’s soil for electronic circuitry but no solution. And no better understanding either — surely the phone coverage should have improved data gathering?

Here we have the situation where dichotomies have opened further as people have been left behind by infrastructure, the relentlessness of Moore’s Law and quality efficiency gains in terms of the cost effectiveness of technology ( They are marginalised, exploited, left to the excesses of those with connections: those who have a phone and a gun. Or more appropriately people in power controlling the boys with phones and guns by smooth use of data, money and the manipulation of situations.

The very people who are able to connect to extract those minerals are also those who will facilitate spending some of the US$130 per person, US$1,700,000,000 the UN is appealing for. The rest of the money? Will go to people telling you of the horrible situation via their tablet, telephone and computer link as we go round this circle again.

A friend read the piece and made a further point: Surely cell phones (mobile phones, smart phones dependent on the culture you learn your terminology from) are the weapon of mass destruction now? Used to set off bombs, tracked to send in drones and the communication media to call in the targeted air strike on a particular place. You are tracked, you are vulnerable. Be connected to the right side when the shit hits the fan. This time the revolution will not be televised, but, most likely, millions, for a few seconds, will view your own demise. Before the football or basketball scores come up. Text on, nothing changes.

Guns, probably a phone but the capability to use either wisely?

The solutions? Telephones or guns — but not both

How to make this change?

Stop pouring money in when the system to spend money does nothing other than perpetuate the paucity of life for the marginalised people.

Either propagate a final war, guns,

Or, more to the point, offer people a proper future beyond guns and with a return from the work of all the telephones.

And use your telephone no matter the name you give it, only when you can truly devote time to the person the other end of the information you are reading, talking on, viewing.

No more guns and phones together.

No more phones when you should be paying attention to other things.

No more guns please.

Have a connecting day.

No phones plenty of guns



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Paul James Crook

Paul James Crook

Possibilities in mind, body & spirit opened by being in Fragile States: countries & inside my own head. Exploring one’s self & community Challenging boundaries