Outrage! I mean Outage!

National Landline Telephone Day

outrageSometimes, when I see a certain word, I read it as another. For instance, I read the word Outage more often than not as Outrage. I wonder if it’s because many folks are outraged when there is an outage – there’s a blackout after severe weather.

Sometimes, it’s warranted, such as after the Maui, Hawaii fires of 2023, which cost people their lives.

I’m sure the massive AT&T outage in February 2024 was problematic for some. But I felt more outrage when people called 911 to check if their cell phones worked.

I was also puzzled by media stories suggesting that those with cell phones—97% of Americans—should have some redundancy. Were they suggesting we should have…. no, it can’t be that… landlines? Either that or walk to your nearest fire or police station in case of emergency, we were told. I’m only a block and a half from the nearest police station but I can imagine several scenarios where walking for help would be inefficient at best, impossible at worst.

This article had some interesting statistics:

  • 34% of homeowners still have a landline. Only 15% of renters have a landline.
  • There is a big geographic difference in households that only have cell phones… The states with the lowest percentage of homes that only use cell phones are New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The whole northeast has fewer homes that rely on only cell phones than the rest of the country.

We’re Both Of The Above people, New York State homeowners with both cellphones and a landline.

Missed the holiday

Related: March 10, 2024, was a holiday. “Let’s take a step back in time and celebrate National Landline Telephone Day with our activity, The History of the Telephone. This activity introduces students to Alexander Graham Bell and shows the impact of his invention – the telephone – on the U.S. population and how phones have changed since first introduced in 1876. For added fun, encourage students to make a list of people they know who still only use landline telephones.”  Fun for your favorite seven-year-old.

In case you have forgotten, this was how you dialed your telephone in 1936 and 1954.


Regarding the March 5 event, I laughed quite a bit when people marked themselves Safe after the Facebook and Instagram outage. I understand folks tried unsuccessfully to reset their passwords multiple times, and that certainly would have been extremely frustrating. Somehow, I had missed it altogether until someone emailed me. Elon Musk was experiencing WAY too much glee over it.

In the outrage category, a friend I’ve known IRL since the 1960s noted they disputed a few Amazon claims they didn’t recognize. Amazon immediately locked them out of their account, disconnecting the Fire TVs,  Alexa, AND access to Kindle. So they couldn’t turn on any of the lights in the house, watch TV or read. All of these devices/media were items they purchased! Amazon shouldn’t be able to disable them. This DID get resolved, but it’s rather Big Brother.

This got me thinking about the vulnerabilities we experience, from technical glitches to bad actors hacking into governmental, educational, and medical facilities. Those outages do generate outrage, especially the ransomware attacks. Do you ever wonder if the technological networks we’ve built our lives upon could come crashing down?

Outrage and the “war on Christians”

“To be clear, this case had nothing to do with ‘persecution…'”

outrageEd Stetzer, Executive Director, Billy Graham Center has written a book released in the fall of 2018 called ‘Christians in an Age of Outrage’. I haven’t read it and don’t know if I will.

But he penned a piece about WHY he wrote it, and it makes some sense.

“In Fall 2017, it seemed like the world was on fire. Everywhere I looked, I saw anger — anger towards Christians, anger by Christians, anger by Christians towards Christians. People whom I respected as voices of patience and forbearance were being ignored or sucked into the hostility.

“I want to help Christians engage an outraged world with discernment and wisdom, seeing the world as the mission field to which God has called us.”

Stetzer wrote in the introduction of the book: “What do we do when the anger becomes too much? When our righteous indignation at injustice morphs into something completely different? How do we know when righteous anger has made the turn into unbridled outrage?”

I should note that, very recently, I became aware of the aftermath of a bout of Christian versus Christian outrage. One was actually more irate, the other one more wounded, both ironically coming from a place of love for each other.

The former, I’m sure, believes that there has been a war on Christians in America. I can imagine that person would applaud former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “religious liberty memo”. The 20 guidelines include the notion that employers are ‘entitled’ to hire only those whose ‘religious beliefs and conduct are consistent with their employers.’

The other would see the state trying the codify Christianity, creating what I too would consider a violation of church and state.

I’ve been thinking about this in part because of a story you’ve probably heard about. A guy named John Chau who “was killed by indigenous people with bows and arrows after visiting the island of North Sentinel in India to convert people to his religion,” that being evangelical Christianity.

The group International Christian Concern, “a nonprofit that aims to draw attention toward Christians suffering throughout the world,” wants the locals to be charged with murder.” Now there are places in the world, including India, where it can be dangerous to be a Christian.

But as Patheos notes: “Not only does this group call what happened ‘murder,’ ignoring the fact that they aren’t bound by our laws and were acting out of self-defense, but they go even further by suggesting they can be tried in our courts. These remote villagers have had no contact with the outside world, and it is illegal to travel there because it’s dangerous for visitors and residents.”

I believe that when an arrow pierced his waterproof Bible on an earlier trip, he truly believed God would protect him from harm. I’m suggesting ICC is engaging in unjustified outrage, beyond offering condolences to his friends and family. Chau’s action was neither heroic or admirable but potentially dangerous to those he wanted to “convert.”

“To be clear, this case had nothing to do with ‘persecution…’ It’s well known that the Sentinelese people are hostile toward all outsiders. In 2006, two Indian fishermen were also killed while illegally traveling to the island. In other words, he wasn’t killed because he was a Christian; he was killed because he traveled to a prohibited island and endangered the locals…

“What better day than Thanksgiving to threaten the lives of indigenous people. This is how genocides start.”

BTW, on that list of the 50 countries where Christians ARE most persecuted, the United States does not appear. In the USA, I’m much more concerned about the potential loss of freedom of the nonreligious and those practicing non-Christian religions.

Not incidentally, a new bill wouldn’t ‘literally’ ban Bible sales in California.

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