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Writers Roundtable Interview With Dale Brown
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Dale Brown Interview With: Peter Anthony Holder
When a former pilot turns his hand to thrillers you can take their authenticity
for granted. His writing is exceptional and the dialogue, plots and characters
are first-class... far too good to be missed.'
--Sunday Mirror

‘Dale Brown is a superb storyteller’
--WASHINGTON POST

‘Dale Brown is the best military adventure writer in the country’
--CLIVE CUSSLER

DON'T FEAR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
by Dale Brown, [IMAGE]2014

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED AT DaleBrown.Info, 02/18/14

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I am a big Bill O'Reilly and "The O'Reilly Factor" fan. The guy is a great writer and interviewer, and he obviously has a crack staff because he seems so utterly prepared for every guest and topic. Folks call him a bully, but I think the key to a successful O'Reilly interview (which I would gladly do anytime, sir) is simple: answer his questions directly and succinctly. As he says, don't "bloviate."

Bill O'Reilly has a few topics that he is very passionate about: long mandatory prison sentences for sex offenses against children; life at hard labor instead of death sentences being two. But a topic he has railed very hard against lately, both in print and on his show, is the Internet and the negative effect it is having on the nation's youth.

To me, it seems Bill O'Reilly feels the Internet is the beginning of the end of American society. The "urchins" as he calls them interact with one another only through the Internet. The urchins don't go outdoors anymore. The urchins--and many adults as well--live their lives through video games or through impersonal fantasy creations--avatars that become too real. What I hear O'Reilly saying is that the Internet is a seductive cesspool, a fantasy trap that will eventually lead our nation into ruin.

I think Mr. O'Reilly needs to take a second look at the Internet and American youth today, and I think he'd have a much more positive outlook.

The Internet is many things. It is both good and evil. It is a source of truth and misinformation. It can be used to reach out to family and friends and also a way to immerse, even isolate onesself in a fantasy, delusional, or even psychotic world.

In other words: the Internet is like our neighborhood--our world just a few blocks from where we live and work.

You step outside your front door and enter your neighborhood, the public areas that, at least for now in America, are mostly free and unregulated. As a resident of your neighborhood, you can go outside and interact with your neighbors or strangers you meet--greet, speak with, and even spend time with them--or you don't have to do so. If you meet a stranger, you can choose to introduce yourself, talk with them, learn more about them, even exchange personal information with them--or you don't have to do so.

You can visit various shops in your neighborhood--or not. Your kids can visit those shops, even ones that you might find objectionable. Who's responsibility is it to keeps kids away from those places? The parent's, of course.

Are there bad guys in your neighborhood? Certainly. Predators? Thieves? Con-artists? Molesters? Are there folks with contrary or dumb ideas, guys who just want to sell you something you don't need, or folks who are just plain idiots? Probably. What can you do if you discover bad guys? You go to the others in your neighborhood and warn them, or go to the authorities.

Or...

You can choose never to step outside your front door--just don't go into the neighborhood. If you do, you can choose never to talk with anyone, never reveal any personal thoughts or opinions, never speak out or protest, never contribute to the endless universe of dialogue going on out there.

That's what I hear Bill O'Reilly coming from. Mr. O'Reilly seems to ignore all the good and positive things about the Internet and focus only on the evil things.

The main thing that bothers me is: when Bill O'Reilly speaks, tens of millions listen, and if Bill O'reilly is concerned about something and voices his concerns over and over, it could create fear and panic. And in our political government-knows-all world right now, mass fear means additional government censorship, regulation, control, taxation, and denial.

Now I don't have any idea what it's like to live in the world of the guy who has the most popular show on cable TV for 14 straight years. His privacy is undoubtedly a precious thing to him, and it is certainly very limited. But that's a choice too. Going out into the public neighborhood means giving up a part of your private life--but you get to choose how much. If you're on worldwide TV five hours a week, you're going to give up a lot.

Now let's talk about the "urchins" that Mr. O'Reilly fears are being mentally poisoned by the Internet and electronic gadgets:

Come with me, Mr. O'Reilly, to a Civil Air Patrol cadet speak-off contest, where cadets as young as 12 give solo three-minute speeches and presentations that would petrify most adults. Come with me to a Boy Scout troop court of honor where the Scouts run the ceremonies and the Scoutmasters say just a handful of words. Come with me to the Carson All-Star Shootout and watch hundreds of youth soccer players as young as 5 compete all weekend in all kinds of weather.

And I'm sure just about all these kids play their share of video games and spend a bunch of time on the Internet. But they are also future leaders, pilots, athletes, parents, politicians...maybe even future talk show hosts.

So, with all due respect, Mr. O'Reilly: lay off the Internet. I remember the adults saying that television was going to poison my generation's minds as we sat transfixed in front of the tube every night, and color TV would poison it even worse. Some succumbed--but most of us made it through OK. I think our kids will make it through OK too.

The Internet is not the poison...it's what you DO, or ALLOW TO BE DONE, on the Internet that is the danger.

Skybird clear.

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