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Live murder, abortion, Ashley Madison: numbing effect

Couple watching television bored (Credit: Eelnosiva via Fotolia)Around 6:45 on a Tuesday morning, Vester Flanagan fumbled with his phone, walked towards a local TV crew filming a segment on tourism, pulled out a gun, and murdered Alison Parker and her colleague Adam Ward on live TV. Earlier last week, the infamous website Ashley Madison was hacked and millions of names were released— names of married individuals who were interested in extramarital affairs. Last month, The Center for Medical Progress began releasing a series of eight videos that depicts Planned Parenthood officials nonchalantly discussing trafficking fetal tissue and organs from aborted babies. All of this is happening while, across the world, ISIS continues to kill innocent people, kidnap children, and embrace a theology that justifies rape.

Each one of these tragic stories falls upon our conscience and triggers a type of emotional fight-or-flight response. One can take flight—refuse to acknowledge the evil in Roanoke, downplay the prevalence of infidelity, ignore the national conversation concerning aborted children, or be aloof towards the atrocities overseas. Or one can fight against these atrocities. Research indicates, however, that the desire to fight is increasingly harder the more inundated we are with these acts of violence.

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When words and actions meet: Operation Blue Shield

Operation Blue Shield badge declaring 'I'm all in, 24,7,365' (Credit: Operation Blue Shield)Last month, members of the grassroots movement #BlackLivesMatter disrupted a Bernie Sanders campaign event to the extent that the candidate would not even take the stage. Last week, the movement gained an unexpected meeting with Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton after they threatened to disrupt her event. And word is spreading that the group is planning to disrupt the Minnesota State Fair, a traditional gathering that features politicians, livestock, and the necessary fried food.

What started as a Twitter hashtag, seeking to engender support, has turned into a grass roots organization, seeking to bring lasting change. They are claiming that this is more than a moment, but a movement. In a time when racial tension is palpable in the air, #BlackLivesMatter has deemed the status quo unacceptable and does not appear to be relenting anytime soon.

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Hilton Hotels nix on-demand pornography

A woman laying in a hotel bed, pointing a remote control at the television (Credit: ChenPG via Fotolia)Hilton Hotels & Resorts recently announced that they will stop offering on-demand pornography in their hotel rooms. Because of existing contractual obligations, the hotel chain says it cannot immediately remove the adult films from all of its sites. However, they will no longer be permitted in new or renewed vendor agreements as of September 1st and will be phased out entirely by July 1st of next year. The change will apply to all of its roughly 4,300 properties around the world.

The move was made after meeting with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) to gain a better understanding of the potential harm associated with providing such adult films. Following the decision, the NCOSE took the hotel chain off of its "Dirty Dozen" list, a collection of the "12 leading contributors of sexual exploitation." The group's reasoning is that "Pornography not only contributes to the demand for sex trafficking, which is a serious concern in hotels, but it also contributes to child exploitation, sexual violence, and lifelong porn addictions."

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