As society evolves, watch out for scams
I saw one of the most hopeful signs of spring last week: the tiny green leaf sprouts of a daffodil. It was no surprise where these early risers chose to show their heads. The warm, sunny side of a brick building is the best spot to see such new growth.
Oh, I know winter weather can still be a part of our lives these next few weeks, but the first sprouts of spring shout to me to ‘Hang on. Be of good cheer. The hope of warm and balmy days is alive.’
I must admit I find these rapid changes from frigid temperatures to calm, warm days to be quite exhilarating. One has to stay flexible and alert to dress and act appropriately. Such weather makes us aware of the changing world in which we live. The earth is truly alive and is always evolving. We are dazzled and awed at the power of natural forces that dictate our civilized agenda.
I am baffled by denials that climate change is caused by human activity. Sometimes I find it confounding that we as residents on this planet often dismiss our impact on the environment when it is inconvenient. Many of the discussions about complying with standards set up to limit emissions from our soft coal-burning factories fit into this category. Often people rationalize a decision not to comply with such restrictions by discussing only the economic impact of a practice rather than the implications for our health or that of our planet.
Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader in the United States Senate, represents the coal-producing counties in Kentucky. His explanation for defying the order to curtail production is that ‘we need the jobs.’ When he reveals only this one aspect of the complex situation, I feel he is scamming the public.
We are aware these days of scams that are sent to us by email and via our cell phones.
There is a phone scam that continues to circulate in Southern Indiana. It goes something like this: An adult gets a phone call falsely saying their grandchild is in jail. This is followed up by an imposter calling over a crackling phone saying he or she is the grandchild and is so embarrassed by being arrested that no one is else is to be contacted. Grandmother or grandfather is to pay thousands of dollars immediately to get their loved one released.
The scammers want to control a person’s decision by giving false or incomplete facts about a situation.
In the case of allowing pollutants into the air, it is suggested it is the only way to preserve peoples’ jobs. In the case of the lie about one’s grandchild, the suggested action is to save the grandchild from jail and embarrassment. In both cases, our defense against such types of scams is to ask questions, talk to other people who are informed and to uncover the false premises.
Our world and how we function in it is changing so fast that it is hard to keep up with all the discussions and events. It is difficult to know what you can believe and whom to trust. Anyone can post almost anything on social media. We are told of the powerful effect social media and its messages can have on people. Post a message that fascinates or intrigues people on YouTube or Facebook and, within seconds, millions of people can know about it.
We have seen the power of this form of passing information during the current presidential campaign season. Sometimes accountability or reliability is missing. Scams flourish on misinformation, but the other side of the coin is that instant messaging can be used to alert others to be on the watch for scammers.
With all the continuous changes going on around us ‘ be it the weather in the changing seasons or calls to follow a certain form of behavior ‘ we need to be alert. We need to be informed, trust our good old common sense and be flexible.
Southern Indiana stands at a point where many changes are possible. We can be lazy and leave all the decisions to others or we can extend ourselves and help to create the future we need and want.
It isn’t easy to be a well-informed and responsible resident these days, but it is well worth the effort.