Advanced essay #4: Technology Changes Everything..

​My goal for this paper is to answer the question "what is the difference between the "truth" and the "story"? I used many sources and quotes to try to answer this question. When I finally answered the question, I came with all of these other answer like race, technology, story and truth. Writing this paper made me think a lot of this question and all these other topics. It really made me think and think. Same thing that happen to Trayvon Martin can happen to anyone included myself. I think this piece was the best piece that I wrote. I can feel it. I took my time and made sure everything is perfect as I see it. 

Truth is a fact or something stated that is accepted as true. A story is an account of past events in someone’s life. The truth can’t always be true and a story can’t always be true. Technology can help us support stories and the truth but even technology doesn’t show hundred percent of the story. What is the actually difference between the truth and the story?

For example from, "What WITNESS does is create, support, and sustain a global network of people who use video as their tool, as their weapon. This network reminds us that we are not a single voice; we are not alone." Another example is “WITNESS identifies ways for citizens to capture and preserve footage to improve its chances of it being used in the courtroom. Through tools, training, and advocacy efforts, we aim to help activists capture and use video as evidentiary material.” Another example was “The WITNESS Media Lab is dedicated to addressing the challenges of sourcing, verifying, and contextualizing eyewitness video to advance its use as a powerful tool for human rights documentation and advocacy. Visit the Lab for curated footage, analysis, cases studies, and resources.” The last example is “WITNESS responds to crisis situations around the globe by providing on the ground trainings, coordinating with local citizens and organizations, and making online resources available in multiple languages. Our aim is to help human rights defenders film more safely and effectively in dangerous and unpredictable environments.”

Technology can sometimes be usefully by showing video evidence of what happened during an incident. Other times technology isn’t as useful. It wouldn't be useful in a situation where it only shows one or a single part of video footage of an incident. Video footage doesn’t always tell the full story or the truth. That’s why technology including cameras outside in the streets or in stores shows some evidence but don’t at the same time.

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Here is a young African American male. This young African American male is about 17 years old. He is taking a picture and looking directly into the camera. He has a white hoodie on top of his head. His name is Trayvon Martin. As Trayvon looks into this picture his eyes look like he has fear and innocence in them. Martin facial expression makes him seem like he is a little bit angry or upset about something.

Technology was a big key in the Trayvon Martin case. Trayvon Martin was walking back from the store going back to his location when George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman, claims Trayvon had his hoodie on and was high. He called 9/11 and said something about African American being high walking around in the rain and he thought Trayvon was up to something. The cops told him not to follow Trayvon but he followed Trayvon anyways and then claimed they began arguing and then started fighting. After, he claimed Trayvon tried to grab his gun and then he pulled out his gun and shot Trayvon Martin in the chest.

CNN website gave us the whole story and everything with details including phone calls, maps, and more. CNN stated “The same analysis also didn't reach conclusions as to whether Zimmerman used a racial epithet to describe Martin on his own 911 call, as some have alleged. Martin's family have said they believe Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, profiled the African-American teen.” Another example is Zimmerman's voice, meanwhile, comes through on a 911 call he made around that time, telling a dispatcher about "a real suspicious guy." "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining, and he's just walking around." Another example is “The dispatcher asked Zimmerman, who'd called 911 at least four times previously for other incidents, if he was following the person. He replies, We don't need you to do that," the dispatcher responded. But Zimmerman followed him anyway.” Last quote is “Federal civil rights charges are difficult to press, let alone get convictions for. In its press release about the decision, the lack of charges against Zimmerman are said to be a result of being unable to meet the standard of proving that the "defendant knew his acts were unlawful, and committed those acts in open defiance of the law. DOJ officials said they would have had to have proven that Zimmerman approached Martin in a threatening manner before the fatal shooting because of Martin's race.”

Technology helped us know where Trayvon was coming from and all the extra details. He don’t know if George Zimmerman shot him because he was a young African American male with a hoodie on. Even the police calls when George Zimmerman called the cops of him talking to them that part even helped the case out by the cell phones. We don’t know if this was the full story or if it was even the full truth. George Zimmerman got charged for murder that he committed. Then later on they released him because they didn’t have a whole lot of evidence to charge him with murder. People till this day still talk about this case because this wasn’t right and they let a guilty man let go.

Technology was also a big key in the Kevin Garner case. Kevin Garner was 43 African American male. Kevin Garner was a front of a store. A fight broke out with two other males. New York City Police put him in a chokehold and slamming his head to the pavement. He keep telling them he couldn’t breathe but they didn’t listen at all. He continued to choke him. They claim he was selling untaxed cigarette which is illegal. There is still a question if he was selling cigarettes or not? The police say yes and some of the witness say no. People say the police are saying yes because they would have a reason to arrest him and by killing him that they don’t get in trouble.. After all this talk the police officers were never charged. Technology played a role in this case, it didn’t give us the outcome that we wanted but in our heads we know the truth.

Simple Justice gave us the whole story with updates and a full video of what happen with police and Garner asking them multiple times to stop. Simple Justice stated “New York City police officers killed a man Thursday after he had broken up a fight between two other men, insisting on placing him in a chokehold and slamming his head to the pavement, piling on top of him as he gasped for air and as he continually told the cops he couldn’t breathe.” Another example from the website is “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he resisted being handcuffed.” The website also stated “The entire incident was caught on video from a witness who kept telling the cops that the man had not committed a crime.” Another example is “Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, ceased struggling and appeared to become unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.” They stated “He referred to police rules that forbid chokeholds and define them as including “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”

Technology helped us by giving us a clear view. It had recorded full video from witness smartphones of police going over to Kevin Garner getting choked up and getting over abused by officers. The smartphone video also helped us by giving us a story about what happen. It also had the part when Garner pleading to the cops that he couldn’t breathe at all. Did the officer do this because his skin color?

What is the difference between “story” and “truth”? Race, technology, story and truth all comes together as one big topic. By using technology like cell phones videos, store camera videos, police officer body camera videos, cop car dash cameras videos, we can actually see what is happening than someone saying their side of the story and some of the truth and not the full truth. With the world advancing we can catch the little stuff now and now days everyone records everything and anything. We can catch abuse from officer or any abuse or anything now days just because of the improvement of technology. We can catch on video racist acts happening to any skin color by another person. We can use the video to help us in court or anything to watch what happen but sometimes we don’t get the full video of what actually happen and the full thing. We can capture moments of the video but we probably wouldn’t get the full video.

Work cited used:

  • "NYPD Kills Eric Garner on Video (Update)." Simple Justice. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

  • "Human Rights Campaigns & Projects from WITNESS." WITNESS. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

  • CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.