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Call of Duty

Banning TikTok may be the American Way, but Generations X-Z are ready to play.

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Sunday Morning / June 2, 2024

Some families of the children killed in the Robb Elementary School mass shooting are uniting to sue an AR-15 manufacturer, a video game called "Call of Duty,” and Instagram for their complicity in the mass shooting and murders of 19 school children in Uvalde Texas in 2022. More broadly, approximately 43,000 people died from gun violence in the United States in 2023. Roughly split between homicide and suicide, 50-70 people per day experience gun related death.

The litigation advancing against Activision, Daniel Defense and Meta demonstrate that Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder are in command of the Lone Star State’s code § 71.002 re: “wrongful death as a wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default that causes the death of a person.” Attorney Josh Koskoff explains:

This three-headed monster knowingly exposed the shooter to the weapon; conditioned him to see it as a tool to solve his problems; and trained him to use it.

The lawsuits intend to show that, over the past 15 years, three companies partnered in a "scheme that preys upon insecure, adolescent boys.” Moreover, the U.S. Senate has passed a divestment-or-ban bill for TikTok which comes due in January. Yet another snapshot of the dichotomy between civic duty and private enterprise, the legislation invites us to consider if or where we stand at the intersections of freedom and liberty. On balance, a debate now playing on ByteDance.

Digital Service Act

In January 2024, social media platforms and search engines across Europe had to begin complying with the Digital Service Act (DSA). Effectively an e-commerce directive, DSA aims to simulate national laws in the European Union addressing illegal online content, transparent advertising and disinformation. Few complied.

So the 27-nation EU recently opened fresh investigations into Facebook and Instagram over suspicions they’d abjectly failed to protect children online, violating the bloc’s digital regs for social media platforms. On deck, Meta Platforms. The EU explains:

We’re concerned that the algorithmic systems used by Facebook and Instagram to recommend content like videos and posts could exploit the weaknesses and inexperience of children and stimulate addictive behavior. We worry these systems reinforce the so-called “rabbit hole” effect that leads users to increasingly disturbing content.

U.S. Attorney General Raúl Torrez investigating, accusing, and criminally charging three men this month for using Meta’s social media platforms to solicit sex with minors conflates the forest with the trees, profoundly.
While age and identity verification tools in the U.S. and EU increasingly prohibit children under 13 from accessing Facebook or Instagram, along with the surge of pornographic content across the world wide web, EU regulators have gone further to ensure Big Tech complies with DSA rules requiring a high level of privacy, safety and security for minors.

“We want young people to have safe, age-appropriate experiences online and have spent a decade developing more than 50 tools and policies designed to protect them,” Meta confirmed in an official statement. “This is a challenge the whole industry is facing.”

Nevertheless, “we’re not convinced,” EU Commissioner Thierry Breton says, “that Meta has done enough to comply with the DSA obligations — to mitigate the risks of negative effects to the physical and mental health of young Europeans on its platforms Facebook and Instagram.”

While X and AliExpress join Meta now being investigated by DSA, TikTok stars like "Pilot Drew" have taken to the skies with their own "call of duty." Messages of inclusion, lifestyle coaching and rather sweet affirmations follow Captain Drew DeCosta aboard a Delta Airlines A220 to 6 continents and 290 destinations around the world. One follower observes, rightly, "Pilot Drew and a chivalrous few fly high."

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Follow pilot.drew on TikTok

A proposal from Britain’s Conservatives for every 18-year-old to do mandatory military or civilian service is sending Gen Z’s cortisol levels spiking and memes into overdrive.

Called “National Service,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak frames the policy proposal as “an opportunity for young people to gain valuable skills, make our country more secure, and build a stronger national culture.”
TikTok videos are rife with satire re: National Service campaigns to unwilling conscripts. “If you can fix your parents’ iPad, then you can fix an Apache helicopter."

According to the Pew Research Center’s “Teen, Social Media and Technology” survey in 2023, only 32% of American teens still use Facebook. Smaller still is their use of Twitter (X), WhatsApp, Twitch, Reddit and Tumblr. The vast majority at 67% or 170 million have joined 1 billion users around the world on TikTok for at least 1 hour per day. It is their modus operandi and preferred communique, and given their penchant for airdropping themselves into dance videos, perhaps a word on the more universal recital.

Seat of the Soul

Gary Zukav’s timeless and bestselling masterpiece “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” explored modern physics and quantum phenomena. Awarded the U.S. National Book Award for Science in 1980, Zukav conceptualized physics as a dance of the Wu Li Masters – teachers of physical essence. Zukav explains:

The Wu Li Master dances with his student. The Wu Li Master does not teach, but the student learns. The Wu Li Master always begins at the center, the heart of the matter.

A decade on, Simon & Schuster repacked the physics for dummies which went on to become a New York Times #1 bestseller. On its 25th anniversary, that work and its message seems relevant. Lets kick the tires.

In modern physics, there is an effort to understand the underlying processes of the interactions of matter using the tools of science & engineering. Ergo, there is only matter and its interaction with matter. For Zukav, applying the physics to human behavior there is the personality and the soul. For Gen Z, their reflection and the abyss. For both, a karmic struggle between external and authentic power.

That interaction or dramatic tension lies at the heart of the human experience. Its where east meet west, mercy meets justice, and where the world now meet online. Yet for the individual, a more intrinsic tango first stirs between their personality and soul.

While physical science is the study of the inorganic world, that is, it does not study living things, its four main branches — astronomy, chemistry, earth science and physics — have and continue to confirm an absolute. Scientific laws exist — if and only if — the evidence substantiates the law.

So as the data shifts so goes the reality, and as lawmakers in numerous countries struggle to ban, regulate and litigate sensitive user data we see the pursuit of external power against a growing concern. The next generation may be opting out of the conventional wisdom.

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FA Bette Nash w/ American Airlines

Gen Z expects and is demanding a shift. They’re inheriting a set of very real complex problems — from climate change to inequality to racial injustice — and intend to fix them. The work/life balance > mental health > environment and world are their concerns whilst transparency > agency > and love, it seems, and adventure are their creed.

Recognized as the Guinness World Record's longest-serving Flight Attendant, Bette Nash, 88, officially passes the baton of an old guard with her passing this week. For 67 years, she set her alarm for 2:10 every morning to make the first flight at 6 a.m., cheerily greeting passengers with her signature warm welcome. "For caring for our customers in the air, and for going above and beyond the call of duty—we thank you," American Airlines wrote on social media. "Fly high, Bette."

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