miss_kae_oz: (ban bush)
I know I am not in a great amount of company in my belief that when one accepts a position of authority, it is a responsibility. And when taking authority, limiting others authority means that it is your responsibility to wield that authority with extreme kindness, gentleness, and sympathy. When one has power over another acting from anger or ego is abusive and cruel. When one takes power in the form of authority, especially under the slogan "To Protect and Serve", it that persons moral obligation to put the well being of others above one's own. To not only act when others can't, or are not allowed, but to limit ones actions that might bring harm to one subjugated under that power structure. There are limits, of course. Anyone in authority has the right to shoot a gunman when shot at in defense of their own life. But overuse of force i.e. tasing of an unarmed, outnumbered civilian, or shooting a man waving stick, or the shooting of a man in the back when he runs off a plane as his wife yells to the Air Marshals "He is sick", is imperiously tyrannical. Not to mention cruel and bullying.

Stories like the one of Carol Anne Gotbaum makes me sad. As one commentary describes it "Contortionists worldwide must be mourning the death of Carol Anne Gotbaum. She was an artist of unparalleled talent, if you believe the cops who arrested, trussed, and imprisoned her at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. She died in their custody last Friday because "[she] had possibly tried to manipulate the handcuffs from behind her to the front, got tangled up in the process and they ended up around her neck," according to Sgt. Andy Hill.

Gotbaum had been cuffed behind her back to leg shackles then shackled to a bench, according the NY Daily Times article and the medical examiners report linked in the New Times article. Before she was arrested, her husband was on the phone with the U.S. Airways ticket agent, pleading to let his unwell wife on the plane and that she needed medication she had not taken. As she was tackled and arrested, she yelled "I am not a terrorist! I am a sick mom!"

In a like story, that was spun by U.S. officials and the media to make heroes out of the Air Marshals who took down Rigoberto Alpizar with 5 shots as he tried to get off the plane. But Time.com was one of the few that published an article quoting the witnesses as saying that he never said he had a bomb and did not deserve to be shot. They also point out the fact that the authorities on board were pointing shot guns directly at civilian passengers.

I know in psychology experiments, people given authority fall into brute and cruel patterns quickly. As was demonstrated in one of my favorite forays into the human psyche, The Stanford Prison Experiment (Standford was kind enough to revisit and display this experiment in the light of Abu Graib). And Milgram's study showed us that when given direction to commit acts of cruelty by an authority, the majority of people will go ahead and do so, and continue to do so despite their own better judgment and screams of the victim.

Yet I keep expecting, hoping for an evolution in humanity for the better.

Hmmm. I have used many "watch words" in this rant, think I am now on a "watch list"?


miss_kae_oz: (Default)

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