Jason Lawrence Bell
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03-27-20 Shelly


      ‘Shelly, why not cooperate with the police. They’re only doing their job. Your life is more important than some cause. What you are doing is dangerous. Please reconsider.’ Shelly hung up the phone from her sister. She looked across the flat bluff where her sister stood with local police who were keeping a safe distance. She looked at her sister and knew she had no clue what was important. Her sister happily lived in a bubble of white privilege. She never questioned why life seemed so much easier for her. But Shelly was different. She was willing to acknowledge the inequities in society and she has become an activist for change. Her activism has matured over the years. She marched for farm workers, held sit-ins for women rights, spoke out at rallies for gay rights, created blogs for black advancement and Native American sovereignty. For now, she was spending her energy on the Technological Assault on Human Existence. That’s the name of her current blog and the reason she was sitting in the cab of an 18-wheeler on the bluffs.

Shelly was having a very difficult time getting attention. Her blog was stagnant with few followers. When she pushed others causes, there was always a distinct group of victims that she could join or create groups with. Gays, blacks, and farm workers had inherent groups to work with. But technological activism talked about everyone. The effects were universal and created damage throughout all of society. However, society has not awakened to the radical changes and the disastrous future that was rapidly advancing. Shelly’s task was no less than opening the eyes of every human and showing them their future. But these eyes would be hard to open, because the world has become addicted to the personal technology of smart phones and computers. Her challenge required her convincing the world that the very thing that they adored was secretly destroying them. She has become so frustrated that she felt she was screaming into the wind and no one heard. However, Shelly with her desperation and her fiery determination has created a plan.

It was a Hail Mary plan that would challenge Shelly’s resolve. Shelly stole a large shipping truck and drove to bluffs end. She stopped a few feet from the 200-foot cliff and pointed the truck toward the cliff. Then she called the media to declare her plan. Immediately the media arrived with cameras trucks and reporters, but the police also came. Shelly threatened to drive over the cliff unless her manifest was read on national news. Shelly directed the media to her blog where the manifest was. Shelly’s manifest was rather long due to the details needed to accurately document the damages and show the trajectory of technological assault. Shelly showed the factories once employing thousands are now employing one tenth doing more work with automation. She listed all the industries that have disappeared or radically shrunk due to technology. Shelly showed the new books being written by economics about a future where there are many more people than jobs. Then she showed the reports of truck manufacturers developing driverless 18-wheeler shipping trucks. Shelly detailed how truckers would be replaced by technology and a complete industry headed for demolition. That was the main significance of Shelly’s determination and how she now found herself in the 18-Wheeler on the bluff.

Could she awaken the American truckers and their unions to act? Shelly saw in the crowds a gathering of a few men who could be truckers. Her plan may be working. She had her phone listening to media reporters of her actions. Shelly’s manifest had been described and some TV shows were debating. But once the media started losing interest then the crowd became smaller. The police and her sister remained but it was starting to get boring and it was at a standstill. What was next? Shelly saw the Truckers Union bosses talking on the news about how they might bring up the topic of driverless trucks at the next convention, but health insurance and disability were more urgent.

This disheartened Shelly. They don’t understand the urgency. So, from her phone Shelly recorded a segment for her blog. I tried, but it looks like I have failed. I am certain in my heart that my manifest is an accurate prediction of our future. I am so afraid for the honest hard-working people who just want a fair job that supports a family, and an opportunity for happiness. If we don’t control technology, it will control us. They have already developed robots who are smarter, stronger, faster and unaffected by human emotion. Our superior replacements are near. But you’re not listening and are not willing to understand. What would it take to grab your attention? Obviously my little 18-wheeler stunt was not enough. There was one action remaining to be tried. God bless the human race.

With that Shelly ended the blog and turned on the truck and drove the 18-wheeler over the cliff. One media camera caught the truck tumbling over the edge. What Shelly didn’t know was the Truckers Union bosses were not the Truckers themselves. The truckers were organizing within themselves. A thirty-truck convoy was just a few minutes away and headed to Shelly. When they reached the bluff and saw Shelly’s truck at the bottom of the cliff, they immediately formed a memorial shrine. That bluff became a sacred location for truckers to visit for years. The Union bosses were all fired and union activists would replace them. The truckers were able to reverse technologies advancement and made certain no driverless trucks dared appear ever. And universally all truckers thru out the world began calling their 18 wheelers, their ‘Shelly’s’. Peace***