“Tell me, Will… How would you end the third season of Hannibal?”

Ask any of my friends, I am a huge, huge fan of the TV series Hannibal. In fact,I’ve been a fan of the Hannibal Lecter character for years. I wanted to rent Silence of the Lambs when I was 6 at Blockbuster. So naturally when the series came out I was hooked from the very first episode. It’s very beautifully done, the character development is strong and they carefully stay within the lines of how Hannibal Lecter should be. Unfortunately, about half way through the much anticipated Season 3, NBC canceled the show and I’m sorry to say I’m glad they did.

The two powerhouse characters of the show are, of course, Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. The show revolves around them but unfortunately both characters took the back seat for this last season so that more irrelevant and poorly executed characters could shine. I don’t blame the acting, I blame the writing when I caught up with the latest episode “Digestivo” (3×07) yesterday. This episode really clenched it for me that there just was no effort being made in this series at all anymore.

spoileralert

No one is supposed to like Mason Verger. If you’re familiar with him from the movie Hannibal, then you already know that he’s that annoying but useless villain. Unfortunately, they focused a lot of time on him during this third season despite leaving things open as to how and why Hannibal decided to go to Florence with Bedelia. There was a few quick moments of Hannibal killing rude dinner guests and various people he needed out of the way, then it flashed to Will having some sort of mental breakdown over Abigail and ultimately Jack showing up in Italy to pursue Hannibal.
Then the show became about the Verger family. Alana Bloom decided she wanted to side with Mason in order to get revenge on Hannibal and in the process decided to become a lesbian with Margot. Mason spends a lot of time and money gathering people to hunt down and bring Hannibal back to the US and is successful for some reason. Meanwhile, Will has to try and come to grips with whether he actually forgives Hannibal or wants to kill him. Which puts Hannibal in a blind rage…again.
I don’t understand how Mason ended up getting the two of them at his farm or why the writers decided to slap-dash the whole ordeal together in one episode. Mason quickly loses control of the situation when Alana and Margot decide they’re not on Mason’s side and cut Hannibal loose and beg him to take revenge. There’s also an inexplicable 8 month old fetus inside a pig. Because, you know, pig surrogates can carry a human baby to nearly full term but the baby will conveniently die causing the two women to lose their shit. Hannibal-Season-3-StutterWhat?
Hannibal does his magic, frees Will and Margo and Alana kill Mason in this accidental sort of way and manage to–with Hannibal’s help–harvest a pathetic amount of sperm from Mason via prostate stimulation and hope that somehow that teaspoon amount will give Margot a “Verger baby” so she can keep the family fortune.
Chiyo teleports across the world to follow and “protect” Hannibal as he carries Will from Maryland to Wolf Trap, Virginia to put him safe and sound back in his fold out bed.
Will doesn’t want to play Hannibal’s game anymore, tells him to piss off and Hannibal, feeling butt-hurt, turns himself into the FBI.

Yep. I’ve seen better writing in fanfiction.
Probably one of the most frustrating things about this season is how they sort of let the relationship between Will and Hannibal deflate. They built it up in a huge way in the last two seasons, only to let it get buried under nonsense. The pair got such little screen time this season that it may as well have been an entirely different series that they got a cameo role in.

Honestly, they could have left it alone and be done at the second season. It ended in a shitty, cliff-hanger way but it didn’t go on to borrow seasons from movies that took place years after all of this happened. Why did Hannibal go to Florence to kill someone he would end up killing much later on during the events of the movie when the plot focused on Agent Starling? Why would they jump ahead like that? Hannibal had escaped from prison in the movie and here in the series he’s just now going in. Same with the whole Mason Verger plot. He tried to enact his revenge on Hannibal during that same movie years after he was almost killed. His sister was never a part of the movie or talk of a family heir.
They could have just let the second season end with Hannibal being arrested as the FBI swarmed his house after he attempted to murder Will, Alana and Jack. That would have made a lot more sense. Instead however, they’re now going to focus on the Red Dragon movie.

We’re taking two full movie steps back to now focus on that plot line, taking the time line completely out. Hannibal has been freshly caught, murdered people he won’t kill for another 10 years and now we’re talking about the Red Dragon.
Since the average season lasts 12 episodes, that means we’re going to get treated with yet another hurried sequence of nonsensical events in order to make the show tie into every move except Silence of the Lambs. Knowing how this show is going, they probably will fast forward a bit to the introduction of Clarice Starling at the end of this season as another cliff hanger.

UEFGnimI’m really disappointed in this season. After they spent the first two seasons cautiously building up the characters it seems like the third season was written and directed by an entirely different team. I’m actually glad it’s being canceled. I’ve seen shows like Dexter start out really strong and cool only to get ruined by writers getting bored and creating scenarios that don’t make any sense to the flow of the story or the character. I don’t want to see Hannibal end up as a lumberjack in Canada alongside Dexter.

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‘Murica

Five US servicemen were shot and killed when someone decided to open fire at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, TN. It’s a tragedy and random acts of extreme violence seem to be on the rise as the years go by. It’s terrible any time someone dies, but once again we’re reacting incorrectly. Seven states have authorized National Guard troops to carry weapons, which is probably a good thing regardless if someone is going to shoot up a recruitment office or not. However, here in New Mexico we have one proud American who decided to spend his entire day standing guard outside of a recruiting office in Farmington with an assault rifle until he goes back to his job on an oil rig.

Some people really support James–last name not given–they feel safer having him standing there from dawn to dusk doing essentially nothing but anticipating his moment of heroism. Despite the fact that the chances of someone coming to this small town strip mall to kill recruiting officers and potential recruits is astronomically small. It’s as unlikely as someone repeating any of the tragic shootings that have occurred over the last few years somewhere else in the country. James doesn’t consider standing outside of a church catering to blacks, or a movie theater, or a school or even worrying about the fact that violent crimes happen in the state’s largest city daily. James would rather sit there like a typical American goon with his AR-15 outside of a recruitment office in Farmington because his son is in the Navy.
tq3zy2pThere’s something fundamentally wrong with this picture. Once again, people are cherry picking their causes and instead of helping to solve the problem they’re fighting fire with fire.
What is James going to do if someone rolls up while he’s busy with one of his many fans giving him lunch or a cold drink, and pops him right in the head, leaving him dead, clutching his assault rifle and then they proceed inside and murder everyone inside the recruitment office? Nothing, James will do nothing because he’ll be dead. Even if he were to see a threat coming and open fire on potential terrorists he’s still breaking the law. Sure, he’ll have people picketing and protesting his arrest, but he still murdered people.

“I’m not here for aggression, he said, “I’m not here for attention. I’m here to watch this lot and anybody that pulls in.”
Bullshit. That’s exactly what you’re here for, to make a statement and get attention and hope someone will be stupid enough to give you your moment of glory. Then someone will write a book about you and then eventually cast Bradley Cooper to play you in a movie like you’re the next American Sniper.

Americans are in love with ourselves and our attitude toward potential threats on our “freedom”. Our first instinct is to grab whatever weapon we got on hand and pretend like we’re going to defend our soil against foreign threats, despite how often we’re shown that the real threat comes from within, daily. We actively ignore when our own people hurt us. James isn’t going to go down to Albuquerque and stop gang members and random psychos from killing innocent people. He isn’t going to take the keys away from all the drunk drivers who kill people weekly in their vehicles. Nope, he’s going to sit there day in and day out until he goes back to work pretending like what he’s doing is the best he can ever do.

Good job, James, you keep being the typical American stereotype.

Mysterious Deaths: Elisa Lam

elisa-lam-bodyI first heard about the death of Elisa Lam on 4chan the day her body was discovered in 2013. The board /x/ was blowing up with theories and evidence as it gathered about how and why this Canadian student died in such a seedy hotel in California. Links to the security video taken in the elevator and images of rescue crews opening the water tank on the roof flooded the front page of the board for hours. People took various sides, agreeing and disagreeing that it was a suicide or that she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of her death. Regardless of who was right, we all waited for the autopsy report to find out for sure.

What Is On Record
The official story is that Elisa died of accidental drowning. There was no evidence of any other substance in her system other than the prescription she was taking for her bipolar depression, an over the counter decongestant and ibuprofen. Her body had been in the water tank for a speculated 15 days which slowed the decomposition process slightly, which allowed to take a more accurate toxicology report, although the amounts of any of those drugs were not listed.

The video of her taken in the elevator leads to the most amount of questions regarding her death. Her behavior is very unnatural, very strange and what originally led investigators to believe she was intoxicated. Taking that evidence away, the theory is she was suffering from some sort of psychosis. Psychosis is an unfortunate event that can happen in people with bipolar disorders, it involves hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling or tasting something that does not exist. Basically it your senses triggering and experiencing something false. Delusions on the other hand are false beliefs and put together these two things can cause some disturbing things to happen to the sufferer. It’s understood that psychosis occurs during the mania upswing of bipolar disorder and if the recollection of Elisa’s behavior according to the last few people whom she talked to are accurate, she could have been going through a manic episode shortly before her death. If Elisa was suffering from psychosis during the events of her death then her behavior on the elevator camera would make sense. However, that is only one speculation. Elisa was on prescription medication and it was in her system at the time of death, making the possibility that she was having an episode less likely.

Another question brought up about the video is the faulty elevator. It doesn’t seem to close until long after Elisa disappears from view and does not appear to be functioning correctly even if she would have hit an emergency stop button.

Unseen Attacker
One very good point brought up by amateur investigators is the alarm on the roof top door not sounding as intended. Workers at the hotel say the roof top door sounds an alarm if it’s pushed open, otherwise someone with a key can unlock it. No alarm was triggered during the entire time Elisa was staying there or the 15 days between her disappearance and being found in the tank. Meaning the door was either never alarmed, Elisa somehow had a key to the roof or someone with a key took her there.

The water tank itself had a very narrow opening at the top, one theorized to be oddly small for Elisa to accidentally fall in and drown. Because Elisa was found naked with her clothing and room key floating near her in the tank, and if we take out the idea that she was intoxicated the evidence here seems sound that she was murdered. It’s almost impossible to strip yourself naked while floating in a 1,000 gallon tank that is 3/4 full, which means her clothing had to be removed before getting in. If she had stripped herself, she would have thrown her clothes in first then got in, which also seems like a bizarre thing to do. But with no signs of rape, intercourse or sexual assault why would an attacker remove all of her clothing and put it in the tank with her?

Paranormal Influences
One popular paranormal game in Asia is something called the Elevator Ritual. The idea is by pressing a certain set of numbers in an elevator that goes up to at least 10 floors, you are led into an alternate dimension, one of which there is no escape if you stay too long. In the beginning of the video, Elisa is seen pressing various numbers on the keypad before the elevator refuses to move and she proceeds with her odd behavior outside. Some have speculated that Elisa had already completed the ritual and is seen in some sort of “thin place” between reality and this alternate dimension. Circumstances in this other realm may have either killed her or led her to her own death.

There is not enough evidence to get to the absolute truth. What is currently on record for Elisa Lam’s death is all we have for certain and although that seems sketchy because of the obvious missing pieces, we may never actually know what happened to her.

Neighbourhood – Afraid: A Reflection of Our Economy?

I want to make it clear that this post is merely an opinion based speculation on the lyrics of this particular song and how it could be interpreted.

If you are working for minimum wage or barely above it, then you probably already know that you are one of your company’s head counts that–in this economy–comes a dime a dozen. Because of the high unemployment rate you are easily replaced if management decides they don’t like you for whatever reason.

A lot of minimum wage jobs contain a hierarchy of people whom plateaued in their careers. Instead of getting a degree or using their degree for something better, they ended up in management at a retail or fast food chain. They also tend to have either a sour attitude about their life choices or act as though their position is the closest to the CEO of the company. Either way, they let power go to their head. They will punish and fire people left and right in order to make their perfect army of minions.

All that being said, let’s take a look at the lyrics of the song “Afraid” by Neighbourhood.

When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might take my place
When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might take my place

Paid that money, fake that dummy, ache my tummy
On the fence, all the time
Paid junk honey, face so sunny, ain’t that funny
All my friends always lie to me
I know they’re thinking

As someone who still currently works in retail, I can sympathize with the thought that today might be the day you get fired. Doesn’t matter if you’ve done anything wrong, all it takes is one minor slip-up and you’re gone.

In this part I imagine a guy working minimum wage, probably in customer service where he has to put on a fake smile and deal with assholes day in and day out, and it’s slowly killing him. He thinks about quitting and the consequences of it probably every day.

You’re too mean, I don’t like you, fuck you anyway
You make me wanna scream at the top of my lungs
It hurts but I won’t fight you
You suck anyway
You make me wanna die, right when I

His friends are not noticing that he’s falling into a deep depression and assume his marked attitude change is directed at them on a personal level. Feeling too defeated from having to deal with his boss up his ass every day, he’s not going to try and put on the same facade he uses at work to keep his friends around.

When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might take my place [x3]
When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might end up being me

Yet despite all this, he gets up every day and goes to work knowing today might be his last day and someone might end up in his position, suffering the same way he does.

Keep on dreaming, don’t stop breathing, fight those demons
Sell your soul, not your whole self
If they see it when you’re sleeping, make them leave it
And I can’t even see if it’s all there anymore so

He tries to pretend as if someday it’ll pan out. His depression is worsening and the hallucination of the light at the end of the tunnel is getting to him. He’s thinking there’s got to be something better out there and just because he’s their bitch at work doesn’t mean he can’t be himself when he’s off the clock. Unfortunately, he sees it not as he’s making X amount of dollars per hour but selling his soul for that much per hour. At this point, he’s not sure if he even has anymore soul left to sell.

You’re too mean, I don’t like you, fuck you anyway
You make me wanna scream at the top of my lungs
It hurts but I won’t fight you
You suck anyway
You make me wanna die, right when I

When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might take my place [x3]
When I wake up I’m afraid, somebody else might end up being me

This time the chorus is directed at his boss. A total dickhead who makes him wish he were dead instead of having to go to work the next day. He can’t tell the guy off because he’ll lose his job.

Being me can only mean
Feeling scared to breathe
If you leave me then I’ll be afraid of everything
That makes me anxious, gives me patience, calms me down, lets me face this,
Let me sleep,
And when I wake up (when I wake up, when I wake up) let me be

An unfortunate thing that likes to tag along with depression is anxiety. There’s one person in this guy’s life who keep him going and he’s dependant on him/her to keep him afloat. There’s nothing they can do for him right now, he just has to tough it out for the time being.

5 Unsettling Events from New Mexico

1 – Taos Hum

© 2005 -- Ron Reznick http://www.digital-images.net [#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D2Hs Focal Length: 26mm Optimize Image:  Color Mode: Mode II (Adobe RGB) Noise Reduction: OFF 2005/12/27 12:28:04.4 Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority White Balance: Color Temp. (5900 K)  Tone Comp: Less Contrast RAW (12-bit)  Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern AF Mode: AF-C Hue Adjustment: 0° Image Size:  2496 x 1648 1/400 sec - F/8 Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Saturation:  Normal Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sharpening: Normal Lens: 17-35mm F/2.8 D Sensitivity: ISO 200 Image Comment:                                      [#End of Shooting Data Section]

Featured in several videos, books and television series, the Taos Hum is one of three known locations where an unidentified, low-frequency noise disturbs an estimated 2% of the population. The sound has been described as a diesel engine idling in the distance or a constant low buzz.

It’s estimated that around 2% of the population of Taos can hear the hum and most report that the noise is louder indoors, at night and does not decrease whether windows and doors are shut or earplugs are worn.
Studies have been conducted in the city of Taos in an effort to pin point the sound, however it strangely enough has never been able to be captured in a recording. It’s speculated that the 2% of individuals whom can hear the hum may be suffering from a disturbance of the auditory system called Tinnitus. However, this theoretical diagnosis does not explain why the hum is only heard is certain geographical locations.
To this day, the hum is considered just another oddity left without explanation.

2 – The Disappearance of Tara Calico

Calico5_metro Tara Calico, missing from New Mexico. The boy was originally suspected to be a boy also missing from New Mexico.  1989 AP FILE PHOTO  (PMCX1-JULY 30)--FOUND PHOTO   The mother of a New Mexico woman who disappeared during a bike ride nearly a year ago said the girl in this picture appears to be her daughter.  And another man, said the boy in the picture resembles his missing son.  The picture, which was found in Port St. Joe, Florida, was broadcast on the television show "A Current Affair" Friday.

On September 20th, 1988 Tara Calico went missing not far from her home in Belen. At 9:30 that morning she told her mother she was going for a bike ride as she usually did and if she did not return by noon to come out and look for her. When 12pm came and went with no sign of Tara, her mother Patty searched along Tara’s usual bike path and found nothing. She immediately called the police. Further up the trail, pieces of Tara’s Walkman and a cassette tape she owned were found but no other evidence from her disappearance.
On June 15th, 1989 a Polaroid of an unidentified girl and a boy whom were gagged and bound, was found in the parking lot of a corner store in Port St. Joe, Florida. It’s speculated that the girl in the photo is Tara and the boy Michael Henley whom also went missing from New Mexico in 1988.
Patty believed that the girl in the photo was her daughter because of what appeared to be a scar Tara would have had on her leg. In addition, a copy of V.C. Andrew’s “My Sweet Audrina” is seen lying next to the girl who happened to be one of Tara’s favorite authors. Unfortunately, the identity of the girl in the photo was never verified.
Two other Polaroids were found that might have been of Tara over the years but were not released to the public.
To this day, Tara has not been found.

3 – West Mesa Bone Collector

trench-icon_vice_670On February 2nd, 2009 a woman walking her dog in West Mesa stumbled upon the remains of a human. The remains of 11 women and one fetus were unearthed in the area, ranging in age from 15 to 32. Most were involved in drugs and/or prostitution.
Police suspect all of the bodies were buried by the same person(s) and identify this as the work of a serial killer. Fred Reynolds and Lorenzo Montoya were initial suspects in the killings. Reynolds was a pimp who knew at least one of the missing women and reportedly had photos of other missing prostitutes however he died in 2009. Montoya lived less than 2 miles from the burial site and in 2006 he strangled a teenage prostitute in his trailer but he was shot to death by the girl’s boyfriend that same year.
In 2010 police searched several properties in Joplin, Missouri that belonged to a local photographer and businessman. Tens of thousands of photos were recovered of women at the State Fair in Albuquerque.
As of 2015, no official suspects have been named and a reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the West Mesa Bone Collector.

4 – “Larry”

chevrolet1-wreckSomewhere in New Mexico on August 7th, 1973 a boy named Larry was heard calling out to anyone who could hear him over CB radio for help. He said he was out in the wilderness hunting rabbits when his father had some sort of accident with the truck. The pickup was overturned, his father was dead and he was alone and scared.
The broadcast was believed to be coming from the Manzano Mountains, however the boy’s panicky channel-switching caused the broadcast to be heard in several other states making the ability to pinpoint Larry nearly impossible.
Days went by with a weakening signal, Larry was able to give information as to what had happened before the accident. He said his father might have had a heart attack as he collapsed at the wheel. The truck flipped over in a ravine and caused both doors to be jammed shut, making it impossible for him to escape.
On August 12th, an Army Sergeant was able to speak with Larry for 3 hours but could not get information from him such as Larry’s phone number, address, his last name or even his father’s name.
On August 13th the search was called off and authorities began to speculate that Larry would have died before the transmission did and that any further broadcasts were hoaxes, including the one on August 12th.
Unfortunately, it is not known if Larry was a hoax or a real little boy who died alone out in the mountains.

5 – The Toy-Box Killer

1b3ce9a4a1080635e50d83943b84f370While living in his trailer in Truth or Consequences, David Parker Ray was suspected to have killed up to 60 people from Arizona to New Mexico in a span of approximately 40 years.
Using his “toy-box” a $100,000 homemade torture chamber, Ray sexually and physically tortured women using whips, chains, leg spreader bars, surgical blades and saws. It is thought that he tortured women for months, possibly even years out in T or C with assistance of accomplices.
The only reason Ray was discovered was Cynthia Vigil, one of his victims, was able to get away. All other living victims experienced drug induced amnesia and remained uncertain if their memories of the torture were real or just a nightmare.
In 1999 Ray was charged with the strangulation of a woman in Elephant Butte as well as the torture of Cynthia Vigil. Unfortunately, there are 0 confirmed victims. He was sentenced to 224 years but died in 2002 at age 62 in Hobbs of a heart attack.

“You can’t sit on your pity pot and eat your cake too”

As an American citizen I’m often ashamed and embarrassed by my people because of the stupid things my fellow Americans say on a daily basis. Since the ban on the Confederate flag, I get a daily dose of protest in the form of meme style images all over my Facebook feed. Apparently quite a few of my friends are Southerners or self proclaimed Confederates who are upset at the fact that a national symbol is being banned because of a white versus black mass murder happened in South Carolina. Now I’m not saying that my friends are stupid for questioning the ban on a flag because yet another mass murder happened, in fact I applaud the fact that they are bringing to trial the validity of whether or not a symbol is to blame for one incident. I’m actually going to use this as a reference for why I believe people in my country are making ignorant decisions.

I recently commented on a comment chain on a Reddit post. The post was a video of a woman recording a telemarketer and his subsequent meltdown after she told him what she was doing. I replied to a comment of someone expressing pity for telemarketers. I don’t and I said that. Another user replied to what I said, comparing a telemarketer’s choice to get a new job as difficult as that of a child forced into slave labor in China. Two completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

This comment made me reflect on how often I’ve heard people use the old saying “Don’t cry, someone else has it worse than you” in so many, many words. I agree that I, like lots of other Americans, deal with the internet coined term “first world problems” on a daily basis. Things that seem like a tragedy to us aren’t even fathomable to people in much poorer countries. That being said, our most dire situations still don’t equal out to problems in other countries aside from being dead. But, Americans like to try and make their square peg fit into that round hole because it makes them feel better about themselves.

We cannot know what our situation on the other side of the planet would be like because we are born and raised in a completely different society. Our laws, customs, culture and even our common sense can’t conform to that of another country. Granted, there are some extreme cases where an illegal, harmful, horrible situation can happen to a person and go unnoticed causing them a person a lifetime of suffering, but comparing a telemarketer to a child in a sweat shop is absurd.

I replied again to that user and explained how comparing these two very, very different situations is insane and I used examples to drive my point home like: If I miss lunch today I’m not going to compare my life to that of a starving child from a third world country who hasn’t eaten in 3 weeks. Or if I have to work over time this week I’m not going to assume that the company I work for has turned into a forced labor camp. Sitting an air conditioned office, working an average of 8 hours a day with meal breaks, making at least minimum wage which is still about $7.00 more an hour than a sweat shop worker would make in China and having the freedom to just get up and walk out, quitting your job and not getting gunned down by the armed guards in the doorway is a situation a thousand times better. Yes, that miserable telemarketer may hate his job and if he quits it may be difficult for him to provide for his family for a while but he is 100% capable of finding something else.

My friends who stand against the banning of a symbol, a flag, because a white teenage boy decided to go out and shoot several black people in a church in South Carolina are not trying to compare one event to a volume of other events in our own history. Especially when that symbol is not even the correct one used during the time that countless other Americans are trying to reference to. It’s the confusion over the Aztec and Mayan calendar thing all over again.

Not only is the unfortunate death of 9 people at the hands of one mentally unstable person not even remotely equivalent to the suffering and countless death of thousands of slaves during the earlier days of American history, but using the Confederate flag as some sort of focal point of anger isn’t doing anything to correct the problem. Removing the Confederate flag for purchase or off of the flag pole at the Charleston Capitol building isn’t going to prevent someone from committing a hate crime in the future. Not in South Carolina and not anywhere else in the country.

The problem stems from the fact that for some reason we as Americans want to be entitled, privileged and powerful but at the same time want to be pitied and coddled. We want a better job than being a telemarketer but instead of going out and getting one we want to compare the job to that of slave labor in another country. We want to correct the amount of tragic deaths that happen within our cities but we don’t want to address the problem and work on that specifically, we’d rather just get upset at a flag.

We forget that we are the capable of changing things we don’t like in one form or another.

The Internet’s Illegal Market

Back when I was first using the internet in the late 90’s, early 00’s, it was considerably difficult to find information. Search engines like Google weren’t around yet, not to mention the search engines available to you were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are today. Adding words or phrases like “+, and/or, -” drastically changed the results you would get. Say you wanted to search for information on feline AIDS. If you typed in “feline AIDS” you would get significantly different and perhaps fewer results than typing in “feline AIDS + HIV”.

7f5Back then we dealt with browsers like Netscape and very slow, unreliable dial-up connections that would disconnect if someone in your house was on the phone and you didn’t have a dedicated phone line for your modem. I’m sure you’ve either lived through that era or have heard countless “only 90’s kids will remember this” rants about the differences between then and now.

In 2015, 70% of the population of the US has internet access, nearly everyone in the world has a Facebook account and things that would have been extremely hard to find back when I was a kid you can find with a simple Google search or through popular websites like Reddit. With access to this vast amount of questionable information and products as well as social media, terms like the Deep Web and Dark Web have become household words. However, there is a fundamental difference between the two.

National news companies refer to the anonymous, difficult to access illegal market of the internet as the Deep Web incorrectly. Although it is technically is, it’s also not. The Deep Web is anything a search engine can’t find. That sounds vague, but the key difference between the Surface Web and the Deep Web is how you access it. On the Surface you’re only accessing websites via links, the same way a search engine does. The Deep Web is anything beyond.

For example, if you want to do a search for Reddit you can do so on any search engine. However, if you want to find a specific thread on Reddit, you will have to search within Reddit’s internal search engine which places like Google can’t access. That is considered the Deep Web.

The Dark Web is something different. BrightPlanet defines it as “a small portion of the Deep Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers”. Only browsers like TOR give you access to see these hidden websites although you still may have to rely on link lists to find the illicit content you’re after as there is no way to casually search and browse. 

secret-web-cover-1113Unfortunately, the Dark Web has become something of a pop culture reference and some of it’s content has been brought out into the light and paraded around as if it’s never been possible to purchase drugs, guns, hitmen or see child pornography anywhere else on the internet ever before. You may or may not be familiar with the Silk Road, a Dark Web-site that offered a wide variety of illegal goods for sale. What people may not know is that you’ve been able to get illegal stuff for a long time now and Silk Road was not by any means the largest collection of it.

Pirate Bay has stood as a vigilant, unsinkable beacon for those wanting to download music, movies, video games and software illegally for years. More than a few attempts have been made to get rid of it, but it’s still here and easily found through any search engine. And Pirate Bay isn’t the only run-of-the-mill place you can find illegal goods on the internet. Craigslist sells sex, drugs and stolen goods under not so obvious names daily in your home town. The funny thing is, both of these websites are more easily accessible than the Dark Web.

So far, the only thing that the Dark Web has over anything else is the ability to access child pornography, guns and hitmen. Right? Wrong. You may actually have to know some people and negotiate in person to get someone killed, but you can buy a gun at Walmart and child porn is just as easily found along with much worse.

So what’s the big deal with the Deep Web if everything you could ever want there is easier to access? Some conspiracy theorists suggest that it’s not the actual goods being sold that are the main focus but the currency used. Bitcoin is a universal, nearly untraceable form of money bitcoin-logo-3donly available on the internet. It’s entirely out of the hands of banks, national treasuries and the government. I say “nearly” untraceable because it can show on your bank records that you exchanged your money for Bitcoin but Bitcoin can be used to purchase more Bitcoin, so after that first transaction you’re off the grid. People already buy a lot of necessary household items off of the internet and the rumor is once you can buy these items with Bitcoin, government regulated currency is dead and as we all know money is power.

So in reality, what’s so scary about the Dark Web? If you can buy everything listed on sites like Silk Road in your own neighborhood, what’s there to fear about buying it on the internet? Horror stories circulate about all the spooky, bad things that can happen to you if you visit the Dark Web, scenarios like hackers with almost supernatural abilities to gain all of your information from just one visit to the Dark Web, but being that browsers like TOR are anonymous both ways that’s impossible. Then there’s the stories about buying drugs on the Dark Web and ending up with a serial killer at your door; which I might add is not any more or less likely than buying drugs off the street and getting killed.

I don’t advocate the selling or buying of illegal things but I don’t think there’s much to fear in the dark recesses of the internet. Your kids aren’t any more likely to buy drugs and guns off of the internet than they are on the playground–and believe me it happens. When I was a kid there was an 8 year old boy selling meth to kids at his school in my town.

I guess the moral of the story is, don’t believe every piece of fear mongering hype. Get all the facts.