VICE: “Evolution of a Plague” / “Campus Coverup”


Overview:  Last year, the worst Ebola outbreak in human history swept through West Africa, killing more than 10,000 in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The disease spread so quickly in part because the international community was slow to VICE_DannyGold-300x176respond, and also because these countries lacked the infrastructure, funding, and street-level awareness to combat the virus. Danny Gold went to West Africa to see how people there have stepped up to control the outbreak, and to learn whether the world is prepared for the next major epidemic.

Media reports of sexual assaults on U.S. campuses have risen dramatically over the last few years. More and more survivors and their allies are coming forward to denounce a pervasive culture of sexual violence they say is out of control. But the controversy around the sheer number and frequency of these attacks has overshadowed a companion problem: that universities are handling these cases in their own makeshift justice systems, behind closed doors. Gianna Toboni visited several campuses to gauge what’s really going on, and why many students feel that their safety is not their schools’ real priority.

Expectations: I admit I am fascinated with the natural world. One of the most ferocious types of organisms out there is the nasty viruses that dominate the globe.  One of the most dangerous has proven to be Ebola.  I’ve talked about this before. I VICE_CampusCoverup-300x169shouldn’t be praising how something so minute can be so dangerous but focus on how humans need to battle the nemesis. That is surely the angle new correspondent Danny Gold is going to take. I’ll fill you in once I see the segment. As for the other topic of the episode well, we shouldn’t even have to report this sort of thing. Sexual assault on campuses should never happen, but what is worse is the academic culture that doesn’t handle the situation properly when it does happen. Let’s see if our correspondent cannot just call them out, but cite positive ways to curb the problem.


Gut Reaction: We start with Evolution of a Plague by correspondent Danny Gold. Not only can we say he is a prolific journalist, but Mr. Gold is actually the Head Staff Writer for Vice Media. He specializes in breaking news like this topic, and criminal justice issues. It was only a matter of time before he also appeared on VICE on HBO. Now to the topic of the segment which was the deadly Ebola virus.VICE_EvolutionofaPlague-300x225

Danny Gold didn’t focus on the virus itself except to say it thrived due to bats in an old tree grove. Nor did he focus much on the diligent care people required. His main focus is how it bloomed into a major threat in Western Africa and even made it to America and how we let it escalate to that stage which has killed thousands. Sadly, that should not be all that surprising.

Come on, we all know that it takes one deadly incident to change or minds; it always takes a brutal lesson before we learn; we always seem to be reactive as opposed to proactive. Look at 9/11 and look at this Ebola outbreak. This natural disaster proves that not only the individual countries but the international health organizations involved were totally unprepared. Viruses are relentless and out for their survival as well. They will threaten us again. This deadly scenario hopefully has hopefully alerted us to stay on task and not forget about it until the next bout comes around. You saw how quickly it could spread around the globe. Do you think we were given enough of a scare?

Campus Cover-up by correspondent Gianna Toboni. She has been covering a lot of ground this season and this time out she went to campuses around the country to meet the unsettled students riled up over violence on the quads and in the dorms. Not to take away from the issue of sexual violence, but there have been a rash of troubles of other sorts on campuses around the country as well. it seems that the justice system model that universities and colleges use across the land are pretty ineffective in general.

VICE_CampusCrime-300x174To focus specifically on the topic Gianna addressed here we can find a heated debate. The crux of the issue seems to be, by this report, the lack of response the institutions pay the matter of justice on campus. Though I agree that the system is broken I was surprised that the focus was on punishment not deterrents. Follow me here; what this report says is that there is fault in the way internal affairs handles the punishment for these types of crime on campuses. It is like our Ebola scare in that we worry about to handle the problem after it happens. Why isn’t the focus on deterring such crimes from happening in the first place? Why not teach that the actions won’t be tolerated and repercussions will be meted out? Why not the buddy system and blowing of whistles and increased security? I realize it is not an easy process, but it seems better than waiting for the crime to occur and getting into this “he said/she said’ arbitration that goes nowhere after the fact.

The whole thing is a huge frustration for all involved. The institution wants to save face and also look good for the future students. The student body wants to balance its education with a fun, safe environment for their allotted stay. Hell, shouldn’t the tuition fees include guaranteed safety? Crimes are still going to happen because a university is just a microcosm of society. It does seem like priorities need to be keep in check here. Evidently federal legislation is forthcoming to help deal with it, but it is a shame it takes the government involvement at all.


In Conclusion: I guess the drum I am trying to beat here at any rate is that it is best to be proactive and not reactive. The damage is already done if you wait to learn what to do after the fact. Our brains just aren’t hardwired that way I guess. We need to be more alert on how to handle the plagues that could take us down. Act fast and methodically to eradicate the viruses and staunch the threat before it escalates. Campuses need to value the students and future alumni while they are attending their hallowed halls. If they are worried about protecting their image than protect the people that attend. A student raped at the Student Union is not going to further promote the alma mater that is for sure.

What is for sure is a Debrief and Danny Gold’s piece gets the honor.


Is follow-up was a bit more optimistic thank goodness, but something that we should not turn our back on. I concur with his comment that U. S. media did blow it out of proportion here. Surprise, surprise.


Next Week: Season 3 Episode 12 of VICE debuts FRIDAY, JUNE 12 at 11:00pm. The installment looks at Saudi Arabia’s efforts on the war on terror and the reason behind why foreigners are joining the Islamic Stare (ISIS).  Until then – Peace.

Find Episode # 32 here. 

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