Quarantine Diaries: Day 68

Saturday June 6th 2020 

Coronavirus Cases: 6, 974, 721 

Deaths: 402, 094 

Recovered: 3, 411, 281 

Good news. The protest went well. No one died. Great turnout. No riots. Amazing. My cousin went with a cute handmade sign that said “My Afro Latino kids’ lives matter”. I took a picture with the girls holding the sign. Freaking adorable. Also, the friend that gave my friend intel about the lethal force command was contacted by the police and questioned on how she knew that information. What the hell? Meanwhile the firemen and EMT medics come by Whit’s all the time to get custard. Very wholesome. We found a picture of my sister standing with a BLM protester back in 2018 in Asheville in front of this huge statue commemorating a slave owner. It’s so amazing to see that single woman be constantly committed to her cause, even when no one else was. I hope she’s been to the Asheville ones lately to see how many people are supporting her now. Her name was Dolores. Very nice woman.  

Now on to something completely unrelated and immensely less important. It suddenly dawned on me that people I know in my real life might be reading this live as I post it, because although it might be a history book for you. I’m posting it on a virtual blogging site. My old boss told me he read it. Hi David and Suzy! They said it was really funny. Also, Suzy’s high school friend is Cynthia Erivo’s talent manager and previously managed Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne. Hook me up! I need someone to get me to the top. I’m tired of slumming it with these peasants. JK…. 

But seriously. If you are only reading this because you’re hoping to find some juicy information about myself or hope to see yourself mentioned, you are sorely mistaken. I have a separate and secret blog where I talk shit about everyone who has wronged me. *Evil laugh* I am a writer. I enjoy putting my thoughts on paper. And I have a lot of them. Otherwise I just end up talking to myself and I refuse to go back to therapy. That’s sort of a joke. Mental illness is ok. Anyway, some of you have fake Instagram accounts or” finstas” where you cry to no one at all because no one is going to watch all 50 minutes of your stories, and some of you create playlists with songs you know will make you cry because you want to feel that catharsis. That’s the same with what I’m doing. I post it publicy because I need that accountability. I’m so obsessive that I haven’t missed a day of posting once since the NC quarantine began. One day when I’m old and grey if the world hasn’t fully ended, I will enjoy looking back on this. If I had the journals I made stories in when I was elementary school, you bet your ass I’d love to read them. I’d reboot the stories into full fleshed novels too. Maybe it’s nerdy to people, but I’ve never tried to be cool and I regret the times I did. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to be different. I don’t do the same things other people my age do, and I’m glad for that. YOLO as Drake said, and I want to make that life unique.  

So, if you are interested in life during a pandemic and social movement, continue reading. If you are reading to be a chismosa (gossip), then get a life.  😉 

With all sincerity, Oscar.  

Ew since when did I start having a signoff at the end of these things.  

Today’s Entertainment: 

Watching baby Mias eat mashed potatoes 

Quarantine Diaries: Day 66

Thursday June 4th 2020 

Coronavirus Cases: 6, 692, 087 

Deaths: 392, 280 

Cases: 3, 228, 666 

I had a day off. Yay. Still tired though. We went to Walmart. As my mom caught up with a friend, this old lady with a bowl cut walked by and mumbled “And they don’t have masks. Great.” 

…First of all, my mom and I did have masks. Second of all, my mom’s friend and her daughter work at Walmart and always wear masks when they’re on the job. They just didn’t have one at this moment. I know this woman wouldn’t say anything to our faces. My mom’s friend is covered in tattoos and is intimidating upon a glance, but she’s really nice. Asking about family and telling us about hers as Mexican women do when they find each other in public. I kind of wish I saw this woman get beat up by a chola, but you have to kill them with kindness. That’s why you see most of these protests be peaceful. Protesters are protesting. Looters are looting. Two different groups.  

You’ll see footage of cops teargassing people with their hands up. They shot these medics who were carrying a seizing black kid who had been shot in the head point blank with a rubber bullet. The medic who was shot in the hand was sent to the hospital before the kid was. That teen is probably dead. Asheville was trending on Reddit and on several news outlets because of the footage of police destroying the city-approved medic and water tents at Asheville protests. I spoke to a Facebook friend who was at this protest when it turned violent. Someone went in there with fireworks, trying to start violence. That’s when the police retaliated. Turns out this man was from Georgia. The protesters were trying to stop him, once again proving that rioters and protesters don’t go hand in hand. People seem to be saying that a flood of new corona cases are a result of the protests, but Memorial Day was two weeks ago. Corona has an incubation period of two weeks. People were going to beaches and cookouts. Math adds up. Ugh…people. Even in other countries. While there are protests in solidarity globally as well as the 50 states (making this the biggest civil rights movement in history I think. IDK I read that online and nothing is ever true), my Italian friend posted some messages from a Russian friend of his saying the reason black people are killed in America is because they are uneducated.  

While it’s true education is harder to access for POC, mostly due to finances, formal education does not equate civility. I know plenty of racist people who are educated. In fact, several teachers and professors have been exposed lately for posting awful things online about George Floyd and other black people. Racism exists all around the world, even with in minority communities. Latinos can be racist. Asians can be racist. Even some black people are colorist, preferring lighter skin. There are way too many issues to be addressed, but my generation seems to be much more accepting and tolerable than the ones before us. We are uniting. We are a “woke” generation. Addressing a corrupt criminal justice system is a good place to start. LA’s proposed budget was 3 billion, and 54 percent was for the police department despite having the largest homeless population. The protests have worked, because some millions were relocated to black communities. LAPD still has 51 % of the budget.  

All four police involved in George Floyd’s murder have been charged. Ahmaud Arbery’s killers are on trial. The FBI have opened an investigation to EMT Breonna Taylor’s killing. Things are happening.  

Today’s Entertainment: 

TV – The Durrells in Corfu (I’m on Season 4 now. My mom and I haven’t been able to watch because I worked every day and I won’t let her watch it without me) and Ramy  

Film – The Wolfman (starring Benicio del Toro. Latino werewolves for the win) 

Quarantine Diaries: Day I want to say 100

Wednesday June 3rd 2020 

Coronavirus Cases: 6, 562, 500 

Deaths: 386, 784 

Recovered: 3, 161, 272 

I got into an internet fight with a racist troll this morning and that kind of set the precedent for the day. This person used eloquent speech, but essentially said that I’m being racist to white people for posting Black Lives Matter. Supporting one race doesn’t condemn all others. I’m Mexican. Doesn’t mean I don’t care about my own people if I don’t want black people killed. They also insinuated that I had something about autistic people because they had autism in their bio. See what I mean about social media. People go looking for a fight. I just left it alone. People are free to post their thoughts online. I simply didn’t respond to the tweets. I even went as far to personally message them to ensure I have no ill will towards people on the spectrum. Then again, even people with disabilities can be racist. 

I’m just exhausted. I feel sick reading what people in my own hometown are saying. Gross kids are posting photos of themselves kneeling on each other’s necks calling it “the George Floyd”. I’m disgusted by my fellow Americans. How can they not see they are the villains here? I used to watch the athletes at the Olympics wearing our flag and feel patriotism. Now the Olympics have been postponed and our athletes are having to post that Black Lives Matter as if it isn’t obvious. I can’t make people care for their fellow human. I had a panic attack in the car today with my friends while they talked about the new Tesla or something. I kept it silent. I choked it down. Took little breaths. I am torn between deleting all social media and avoiding the news and staying updated with this homegrown revolution. Footage was released of the police in Asheville destroying the water and medical tents. It’s pride month, but we can forget about celebrating that until black LGBT members are safe in the streets. Most of America is a minority in some way. Religious. Racial. Sexual orientation. Economic. Ability-wise. We shouldn’t be afraid in our own homes. We shouldn’t be shot in our own beds like Breonna Taylor.  

In other news, work was awful. It was like I kept doing everything wrong. My boss had me training three people at once and still scolded me for things I was doing wrong. On top of everything happening, I almost quit right there. Scooping custard seems like a waste of time. I have a headache as I write this. This will probably all be in your history books. Please tell me things get better. I feel like Anne Frank, to a much less degree of course. Writing amidst a war.  

Today’s Entertainment: 

TV – Ramy (season two is back. It’s been a stress reliever. Media is important. It gives you an insight to other lives. For example, a Muslim millenial who’s attracted to his cousin. For real though, I’m learning a lot about Arab life) 

Book – Life Will Be the Death of Me ( I started listening to this audiobook. Chelsea Handler was crying as she recounted her brother’s death. The way she spoke about the moans of grief she’d hear from her parent’s room gave me flashbacks to my mother’s cries when she lost her father. Chelsea said she wished all bad news came in the morning, so you could have the day to process. It happened to me around sunset. My tears reflected the orange light as I whispered unanswered prayers. I had to stop listening to the book before I broke down in the middle of the park next to the guy doing tai chi) 

Quarantine Diaries: Day 60

Thursday May 28th 2020 

Coronavirus Cases: 5, 900, 527 

Deaths: 361, 764 

Recovered: 2, 577, 181 

Today was boring and all I did was watch Insidious 2 and eat. I walked it off at the park. Around 6 miles, but the whole time I just felt a deep pit in my stomach thinking about the George Floyd scenario. Everyone online and on TV is talking about it, as they should be. People are trying to divert the attention from the police brutality to the looting happening in Minneapolis. They are saying, “Stealing plasma TVs will not bring George back.” Yeah, that’s the point. Someone is dead. Nothing else matters. People will react how they will. Some will take advantage of his death for their personal or political gain. I have so many thoughts I want to post, but words can be misconstrued. I’m just sad for his family. I want justice for him and the hundreds of other innocent black lives taken. They deserved better. They still deserve better.  

I fear for my nieces and nephew. I fear for my friends. For the families I serve ice cream cones or check Disney DVD’s out to. They shouldn’t be scared of the ones who are meant to protect them. I know most police are good, but America has a lot of deep-rooted issues we need to get to the bottom of.  Some people abuse their power. From local law enforcement to the White House. We can all agree that there’s work to be done and change to happen. We shouldn’t be fighting violence with violence, but posting #RIP on social media can only do so much. I post this here and not on social media because people don’t care what I have to say. I know because I don’t care about most people’s posts either. I’m a white Mexican who grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. How can I possibly help the Black Lives Matter movement? Progress seems unachievable at times, but the resilience of black Americans has always been evident. I still want to have hope that a voice will rise to unite all of America, but it’s like we’re 50 baby countries pretending to be one adult one. 

Today’s Entertainment: 

Film – Insidious: Chapter 2 (we found a “mal de ojo” bracelet in a pile of laundry yesterday. It’s basically a handmade bracelet with an eye in the center meant to ward off evil spirits and bad luck brought on by other people’s jealousy of you. Later in the day, I found a picture frame on the ground. It was my sister’s elementary school portrait and the glass was shattered. It makes me think the house is haunted now like the one in this movie, Also, there should be a Conjuring and Insidious crossover because both have James Wan and Patrick Wilson. They can just say that Josh is a lost nephew of Ed Warren. See? Continuity solved) 

Quarantine Diaries: Day 16

Saturday April 11th 2020 

Coronavirus Cases: 1, 775, 206 

Deaths: 108, 544 

Recovered: 401, 517 

Today after the park, I stopped at the Ingles gas station. I wasn’t in any particular need, but I want to always have a full tank. Especially while it’s only $1.79, minus 30 cents a gallon in points I’ve accumulated during supply runs at Ingles. As I pumped gas, the woman on the speakers said “We’re all in this together.” It’s officially been 100 days since the Chinese discovered the virus. It’s only gone downhill. I wondered…are we? In this together I mean. I’m just waiting for the class wars to start.  

Bernie Sanders, an old man played by Larry David on Saturday Night Live, suspended his campaign for the Democratic Presidential candidate in order to focus on the more pressing matters facing America. We all know what he’s talking about. People saw this as him forfeiting, leaving only former Vice President to beloved Barack Obama: Joe Biden. People have the same problems with Biden that they do with Trump, sexual harassment accusations included. I didn’t favor any candidate over another, but Bernie’s dedication to fighting this disease really elevated him in my eyes.  

I joke that I will never be bored enough to argue about politics online. The truth is there’s no point. The same about debating religion. People are dead set in their ways. No amount of slander, factual presentation, or personal anecdotes will be enough to convince someone of who their savior should be, philosophically or politically. I believe in God. I always will. Even when I prayed for God to save my Papi Hector, I knew he wasn’t going to make it out. I can’t blame God for every inconvenience and misfortune that happens to me, because I’d grow bitter. If anything, religion is a coping mechanism. It’s comforting to believe that there’s an all-powerful being looking out for me. Guiding me. The whole “everything happens for a reason” idea. I refuse to accept that everything is chaos. That’s no way to live. There would be no point to anything.  

Today’s Entertainment: 

Film – Avengers: Endgame (The conclusion to 20 films. I’ve seen it several times, but my mother never has, so we watched as much as we could between the baby’s tantrums. I used to attend the small local cinema in Brevard where I attended college. Alone of course. I’d eat at a local shop, walk around, and buy snacks and soda to watch whatever movie was playing on their one screen. Every time I watched a movie there, the cinema was empty apart from a few elderly customers. When this film played there, it was packed. This was an event. The feeling of comradery among the characters and the audience when Captain America says “Avengers assemble” was palpable) 

First Amendment Protections of Social Media

It is no longer up for debate. Social media are in fact some of the most powerful mediums in conveying information. Still, they are relatively a modern phenomenon. The Internet itself hasn’t even been around for long, but it has been the source of societal strides and progression in humans’ intellectual evolution. Because these media are so new, they are unknown territory in a legal sense. The common misconception about these sites is that users are free to post whatever they want without repercussions. That is simply not the case.

The first social media platform was in 1997. It was called SixDegrees.com and was followed by Friendster in 2002, both having moderate popularity. Eventually came MySpace in 2004, bringing the layout of social media to a new era. In the same year, came Facebook, the new kid on the block. Facebook has 800 millions users with a total of 1,851,000 updates every 20 minutes and at least half of those users visiting the site daily, making Facebook the 2nd most visited website after Google. In 2006, Twitter came along, with 1 billion tweets per week, 230 million user visits per day, making the site the 10th most visited site (Stubblefield). Since then, hundreds more social media sites have been created, with some of the more popular like Snapchat and Instagram becoming the most downloaded apps.

Unknown to most of the millions of users using Snapchat filters to turn themselves into cute deer’s or to change their voices, the app was originally created for sending nudes. The premise of the app is for users to send pictures to other users with the pictures only being available for at most 10 seconds. The idea being that nude photos could be sent without the risk of the recipient keeping the photo and distributing it, which was and still continues to be a problem, especially in youth. Still, users could “screenshot” the photos, averting the time restrictions of the app. What would happen if a nude photo were posted without the senders consent on social media? Would the victim be entitled to sue based on violation of privacy? Would the distributor be entitled to send the pictures based on freedom of speech that protects so many other social media posts? Because the app is so recent, coming about only within the past 5 years, there are few precedents to help make a valid decision on cases such as the one described. Still, similar cases involving “revenge porn” have occurred.

Revenge porn is the act of posting, sending, or distributing nude or sexually explicit pictures or videos of someone without their consent. Such videos or pictures often include the victims name or address. Although a serious moral violation, it is only criminally consequential in New Jersey and California. Some believe that the First Amendment should deem the act obscene, therefore not protecting it as free speech. Still, such actions are only legally persecuted under cases of child pornography, hackers stealing private files, and “peeping toms” or people who record others without consent. Of those affected, 47 % of victims consider suicide or develop depression. During Valentines Day of 2013, 43% of men and 29% in relationships sent nude pictures of some sort to their significant other (Barmore). This is often the beginning of the problem, as most of these cases occur among scorned ex-lovers. The People VS Barber was once such case.

In 2014, Ian Barber sent naked pictures of his ex girlfriend to her boss, sister, and posted it on Twitter. While Judge Statsinger of New York called Barbers actions “reprehensible”, Barber left the case unscathed. A study in 2013 showed that of those that threaten to expose someone’s private photos like the ones in this case, 60 % do. This just shows how often such actions occur, without any specific laws of repercussion (Barmore). The before mentioned New Jersey revenge porn law came about in 2004 and prosecuted those who recorded sex acts without consent. Because this law was so vague, it was valid enough to include revenge porn unless the participants gave permission. The law in California lame about in 2013 in response to a photographer lying about the privacy of the photos, causing the subjects of his photography distress (Barmore). Laws in other states pertaining to harassment could apply to such situations as well.

In People V Barber, it was determined that he did not participate in illegal distribution and was innocent of harassment, as he did not directly harass his ex girlfriend. The problem with these privacy cases is that it forces the victims to assert their rights, as no one else will do it on their behalf. They also have to spend large amounts of money on legal fees and for the limited amount of privacy specialist lawyers. Still, in many cases where violation of privacy is claimed, judges often deem that there is no harm caused and the victim is soley trying to save their reputation. Although the accused are not always presented with consequences, the First Amendment is not always implemented to protect them either. Another setting where First Amendment freedoms on social media are not present is academia and in the working field.

In Elonis V US, section of 875 (c) of Title 18 of the US Code criminalizes threat. Anthony Elonis posted on Facebook an original rap video with violent lyrics against his wife, co-workers, a kindergarten class and the police force. That amounts to 5 counts of threat violations. Because his lyrics were interpreted as such, his post was a threat and therefore not protected by the First Amendment. He still did not serve a long-term sentence as the judge ordered a mental state analysis (Huffman). A similar case occurred in Bell V Itawamba County School Board. A student posted, like the previous case, and original rap video with violent imagery. The judge deemed that the video caused disruption, but an appellate court decided that the lyrics were not directed at anyone and therefore did not qualify as threat (Barmore).

It is evident among these cases that not all posts are safe for the Internet. Even if there are no legal repercussions, users can still be punished in other ways for posts. In Graziosi V Greenville, police officers were fired after critiquing their superiors on the mayor’s public Facebook page. The judge decided that the posts were not protected because they were posted on a public forum where everyone could see it. It would be the equivalent to physically protesting or yelling in a town square (Barmore). In 2014, Professor Steven Salaita was fired from his tenured job at University of Illinois at Urbana two weeks before he started the semester. He had previously been an English teacher at Virginia Tech since 2006. The reason for his termination was a controversial tweet. “Let’s cut to the chase: If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being”. Many interpreted this as support for Hamas, a foreign terrorist group, which has then been fighting with Israeli forces. This less that 240 character message could have resulted in jail time. If he had family, friends, or any ties to the terrorist group he could have not only been supporting the group but also could be considered to be recruiting for the group according to the Material Support Statue. The Humanitarian Law Project protected him against those claims by insisting that they were only words of thought rather than words with intention to recruit or incite support for the terrorist group (Pierce). Thus far, there have been few cases where the First Amendment protects posts of audio or word on social media. What about short films posted on the Internet?

Cindy Lee Garcia was hired to act, as the star in a film she was told was a “historical adventure film” called Innocence of Muslims. What she didn’t know was that this film was purely anti-Islamic propaganda. Garcia was bombarded by death threats for her participation in the film, along with everyone else that took part. She tried as hard as she could to get rid of all of the remaining evidence of the film after it was initially taken down. As the Internet goes, nothing ever disappears fully. Users had downloaded the film and would repost it on various sites, including YouTube, a video sharing site owned by Google. Garcia took one last attempt to eradicate this mistake in her life, hence Garcia V Google. Garcia filed a copyright claim to get all of the replicated videos removed from YouTube and Google search results. The Ninth Circuit ruled on Garcia’s behalf. Copyright is not “categorically immune from challenges under the First Amendment”(Huffman).

Among the most recent First Amendment questions is the question of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) involvement with athlete’s social media profiles. Marvin Austin has 1,800 followers and 2400 posts. Greg Little has 1,400 followers and 1700 posts. Both were football players for UNC Chapel Hill. Both of these athletes had a tendency to post their spending habits. The NCAA cited UNA for not monitoring their athletes’ social media. Loyola University in Chicago banned their athletes from social media resulting in a feud with the American Civil Liberties Union (Stubblefield). John Wall, a prospective athlete, had a fan page of people rooting for his recruitment by a certain university. The NCAA made him take down the page as to not violate guidelines. Both situations brought about the question of how much control schools should have over their athletes. The NCAA said “We don’t see it as a free speech issue. We want to be sure that we limit the level of intrusion that comes into the (athletes) lives”. Banning media restricts all speech, protected and unprotected. This is known as “prior restraint” or censoring speech before it is actually expressed. The intended purpose of the ban is “to protect morals, health, and safety” of the athletes. Still, the schools and the NCAA would not be violating the First Amendment as the students quite literally could have signed away their rights. In the Student Athlete Statement Contract, one of three documents all athletes must sign, schools could include a clause that bans or removes social media. Still, any banning or removing of rights must be stated clearly. If the document is vague, the courts tend to favor the athletes rights (Stubblefield). Signing something is obvious agreement and so is liking something on social media, but does the First Amendment protect the latter?

As of 2013, yes. In Bland V Roberts, 6 employees of a sheriff’s office were fired for liking and opponents post. The “like” was not protected as free speech as it is not actual speech, but clicking a button. Also known as “insufficient speech”. ACLU is back again and assists the employees by arguing that just because it was not audible speech the messages expressive nature is not negated. Social media is a market place of ideas and although it acts as entertainment, actions have meaning. Likes belong to the user not the owner of the page. Users can still unlike if they want. On the other hand, some actions don’t mean nearly as much. For example, “checking in” on Facebook, allows users to proclaim where they are at a moment in time. Rarely does this have a connotation, except when it is taken so. If a person or group of coworkers “checked in” at or near an office for human rights. Naturally, the boss would think the workers were filing complaints (Scher). Still, would what the workers do on off-hours even be the concern of the boss to begin with? Dies social media do more harm than good?

Social media are emerging Titans in the media industry. All other platforms rely on some form of social media for promotion. It interconnects people across the globe of all demographics. The lines are often blurred between justified punishment and violations of First Amendment freedoms. Those who invade others privacy often get away unscathed, but not because of freedom of speech, but rather because of some obscure clause or loophole. Schools and associations prohibit the use of social media or punish those for posts. Every click has a meaning, but sometimes those meanings are misconstrued. Social media has been around for more than a decade and has integrated itself into a vital part of society. Still, the legal system hasn’t quite caught up to today’s standards and is very much so learning from past mistakes. In a few more years, law will hopefully be caught up to the times and know how to adequately deal with related court cases. Very much unlike Snapchat, these issues wont just disappear after 10 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Barmore, Cynthia. “CRIMINALIZATION IN CONTEXT:

INVOLUNTARINESS, OBSCENITY, AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT.” Standard Law Review 67.2 (2015): 1–32. ProQuest Central. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.

Huffman, Brandon J. “Developments in Social Media: First

Amendment, Privacy, and Misappropriation.” The Business Lawyer 71.1 1–15. ProQuest Central. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.

Marcum, Tanya M, and Sandra J Perry. “WHEN A PUBLIC

EMPLOYER DOESN’T LIKE WHAT ITS EMPLOYEES ‘LIKE’: SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT.” Labor Law Journal 65.1 (2014): 5–19. ProQuest Central. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.

Pierce, Abigail M. “#TWEETING FOR TERRORISM: FIRST

AMENDMENT IMPLICATIONS IN USING PROTERRORIST TWEETS TO CONVICT UNDER THE MATERIAL SUPPORT STATUTE.” The William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal 24.1 (2015): 251–276. ProQuest Central. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.

Scher, David, and Scott R Oswald. “Notes On: ‘As You “Like” It:

Ascribing Legal Significance to Social Media.’” Labor Law Journal 65.2 (2014): 104–106. ProQuest Central. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.

Stubblefield, Patrick. “Chalk Talks- Evading the Tweet Bomb:

Utilizing Financial Aid Agreements to Avoid First Amendment Litigation and NCAA Sanctions.” Journal of Law and Education 41.3 (2012): 593–601. ProQuest Central. Web. 4 Feb. 2017.F