Sunday, April 15, 2012

Active Defense and Passive Aggression, Part 2.

“Handguns are instruments for killing people - they are not carried for hunting animals - and you have no right to kill people.” Ayn Rand at Ford Hall Forum, October 21, 1973.

It is not so much that legislation solves problems, but rather that the formal expression of social norms elevates them above being mere folkways. Homicide was not against the law in archaic Athens until the reforms of Drakon (c. 650 BCE). Even today, blood feud is the time-honored method of rebalancing injustice; and it continues in traditional societies. (See Vengeance is Mine: Justice Albanian Style by Fatos Tarifa; Chapel Hill: Globic Press, 2008.) In “Politics as a Profession” (1918) Max Weber enunciated the principle we accept today that the state has a monopoly on physical force.  That monopoly includes the right to assign proxy to others.  Thus, even in a state that forbids capital punishment, the police on the street can take a life. We give to the patrol officer the power of prosecutor, jury, judge, and executioner. I question that.
The Baker Batshield has your back
            Faced with the unequivocal weaponry of the state, criminals also arm themselves. For 150 years, the London Metropolitan Police were unarmed, as were the criminals. The conflict with the IRA and the rise of foreign gangs unsocialized to British folkways changed that. Now, when they knock to enter before bashing down the door, the bobbies announce themselves “Armed police!”  That only begs the question.  It is also true that those who would commit violence need no special excuse. Murder will not go away if the police are disarmed.
Moreover, the unarmed police will face armed perpetrators. As violence only begets violence, better solutions must be found to minimizing, ameliorating, and negating armed conflict.
            We organize our police as military.  Far deeper and far beyond the uniforms – though there is that – is the institutional structure, which reinforces the perception among the police themselves that they are an occupying army. 

A deployable net
            Waiting for a former instructor at my community college alma mater, I sat in on a class in “Police and the Community.” It was being taught by a police sergeant.  She said that there are good people and perpetrators; and the job of the police is to protect the community from the bad guys. . It was not my class, so I did not point out that the so-called perpetrators are in and of the community. As Newt Gingrich once reminded a Republican dinner, most Americans see the posted speed limit as a benchmark of opportunity. In that context, we segregate people in special clothing to commit acts, which if carried out by others, would be crimes. So, when a police officer accidentally kills the wrong fleeing felon, there is no restoration. The officer does not apologize; and the state which empowered the homicide admits no harm and pays no compensation.

A deployable net
The denial of responsibility is the first of five “Techniques of Neutralization” by which criminals excuse and justify their acts. (See “Techniques of Neutralization: a theory of delinquency,” Sykes, Gresham M. and David Matza, American Sociological Review, 22, 664-673.) These statements also apply to the state, and therefore to the police. (And, they also were heard from the civil rights movement and the anti-war protesters of the 50s and 60s, just as they come from the Occupiers today, all of whom engage in civil disobedience.)
  1. Denial of responsibility (The state responds to crime caused by perpetrators. You brought this on yourself.)
  2. Denial of injury (You deserve the consequences. Prison will be good for you.)
  3. Denial of the victim (Perps are not good people. If he was not guilty, he would not have fled.)
  4. Condemnation of the condemners (Do-gooders are soft on crime. Courts are too lenient.)
  5. Appeal to higher loyalties (Thin blue line and new centurions. In God we trust. E pluribus unum.)
Ayn Rand famously said that no political change can come without a shift in the dominant philosophical foundations of our culture and society. Gun control laws can be no more effect than drug control laws, and for the same reasons. The deeper needs for guns and drugs are found within individuals with unworkable, irrational personal philosophies – and often a complete lack of any formally defined credo.
            It is not necessary that everyone change. The golden age of Greece, the Islamic Golden Age, the European Renaissance, the Three Kingdoms and later the Southern Sung of China, in each case, most people changed nothing of themselves, though they accepted the new social contexts around them.
           In our time, perhaps the greatest potential for a better future comes not from any single philosophy, but from the plethora of them. Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies was a plea for tolerance based on the admission of ignorance. No one has a monopoly on truth. Ironically, the large number of competing owners of absolute truth has created for us a complex matrix of beliefs, assertions, claims, philosophies, and religions. As long as none can dominate, all can flourish.

Bulletproof fashions from Miguel Caballero

Survival of the Fitted

The rise of bulletproof couture.

by David Owen The New Yorker, September 26, 2011

by Jim Wyss The Miami Herald
Q: What is your opinion of gun control laws?
A: I do not know enough about it to have an opinion, except to say that it is not of primary importance. Forbidding guns or registering them is not going to stop criminals from having them; nor is it a great threat to the private, non-criminal citizen if he has to register the fact that he has a gun. It is not an important issue, unless you're ready to begin a private uprising right now, which isn't very practical. [Ford Hall Forum, 1971]

Q: What's your attitude toward gun control?

A: It is a complex, technical issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people -- they are not carried for hunting animals -- and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don't know how the issue is going to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim. [Ford Hall Forum, 1973]
From Ayn Rand Answers: the Best of Her Q&A, edited by Robert Mayhew © 2005 by The Estate of Ayn Rand.
“FBI agents alerted police about their interest in late October, shortly after the Travis County medical examiner's office released a report saying that 20-year-old Byron Carter Jr. had been shot four times, including once in the head.
            A teenager who drove a car toward two police officers on East Eighth late May, leading to the fatal shooting of his passenger by one of the officers, will not face criminal charges, the Travis County District Attorney's office said Thursday.  A grand jury completed its review of the incident and declined to indict the teen, officials said. The teen was not named in court documents because he is a juvenile. Police have said he is 16 years old.”

Holding back tears, San Angelo police Sgt. Matt Baldwin recounted stories about the kind of police officer his friend Jaime Padron was. 

The time Padron ran into a burning house with his partner to save two children trapped inside. The time Padron entered a business when a gunman was inside. The time he and Padron were outnumbered in a fight with several suspects, but persevered and made the arrest. 

"That was Jaime the cop," Baldwin said Friday at Padron's funeral Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church — a service bursting at the seams with Padron's fellow officers from Austin and San Angelo and with family, friends and well-wishers. "He loved being a cop. He was good at it." ... much has been written and said about "Jaime the cop" in the week since he was fatally shot at a North Austin Wal-Mart ... Padron was shot after confronting a shoplifting suspect about 2:30 a.m. April 6. The suspect in the shooting, Brandon Montgomery Daniel, remains jailed on a charge of capital murder.”
Active Defense and Passive Aggression, Part 1.
Shifting the Paradigm of Private Security
Private Security in the 21st Century
Physical Security for Data Centers (Slideshare View and Download)

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