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When We Avert Our Eyes From The Data

Yesterday I had an exchange with someone about the strategic use of social media.

Do they measure engagement? Yes, of course.

Do they focus on content that serves a higher-level communication goal? Yes, again, for sure.

Do they attempt to find out, among their target audience, whether their higher-level communication goals have been achieved? And as part of that, whether social media had any impact whatsoever?

The person did not answer.

I felt bad afterward; maybe my questions were untoward. After all, someone was taking the time to indulge my curiosity in the first place.

But if we cannot have the data, with all its limitations and awkwardness, we cannot trust the results of any investigation.

Having a good understanding of data is fundamental to success. This is true whether you’re running a business, investing in a stock, working as a staffer, or even doing something as mundane as going on a diet.

Feelings are not facts, you must remind yourself. Facts stand on their own.

And many facts are inconvenient.

The other day I told my daughter about her great-grandfather, and his role in uncovering some facts that others wanted buried.

It was a week before Rosh HaShanah 1944. A bunch of Hungarian paramilitary Nazi-sympathizing murderers entered Sarmas, Hungary.

They spent a week gang-raping, among others, a beautiful, educated, and relatively well-to-do young woman, Vera Haas.

In the town square – in front of all the people who knew her.

They also tortured the elderly people in town, with all sorts of “dancing” and “gymnastics.”

When they were finished having their “fun,” they marched the people out, to a remote area.

Vera’s father could have escaped to the forest, but his soul was bound up in the brutal torment that had been visited upon his daughter.

He stayed, and stripped as they ordered, and was tortured to death with the rest.

What matters about this story is not only that it happened. But that the murderers warned the villagers who lived around the area to keep their mouths shut.

My Zayde came back to town shortly thereafter. When he heard, he decided he would do the following three things, no matter how long it took: bury the victims properly, put the murderers in jail, and make sure the Sarmas massacre was memorialized forever.

With God’s help, all three were accomplished.

I tell you this story because I believe that history repeats itself, unless we decide to act in ways that reflect our evolution as beings.

One of the things that is happening, right now, as we speak, is the flooding of the world with data. This, in turn, is fueling dramatic advances in every field of knowledge.

Unfortunately, though, the moral and ethical dimensions of data are often absent from the conversation.

And sometimes, data itself goes ignored, because some people don’t like where its conclusions might lead.

Right now, on social media, there are two people claiming to be victims of sex trafficking, mind control, and ritual abuse as part of a larger network. Their names are Sarah Ruth Ashcraft (nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter) and Christopher Cronsell (about 3,000 followers).

Perhaps their allegations are nothing more than a bizarre scam. The FBI did a study of occult ritual abuse in 1992 and concluded that essentially there was no there, there.

But as a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, knowing how active the denial community is, knowing much work the Jewish community put into preserving the data, I cannot turn away from their very compelling words, and the implications of them.

I hope that the law enforcement community will review what these two individuals are saying, and take all appropriate action.
Originally posted December 29, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. This post is hereby released into the public domain. All opinions are the author’s own. Photo credit: Dariusz Sankowski/Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

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