Ep. 4: Jim Buckles in “The Machinations of Fear”
A routine murder investigation takes Detective Jim Buckles further from L.A. than he’s ever been before!
Sketchbook comic about Kajieme Powell’s death at the hands of police on August 19th.
The video that the bystander recorded and the police released, apparently to exonerate themselves, is very disturbing. The police go to their guns too easily too often. There is less than half a minute between the time they pull up and the moment where this man is shot to death. Again, they must have had some knowledge of his potentially disturbed mental state - the reason the police were called seems to be because the man was acting strange. Other police arrive on the scene within a minute.
For more thoughts on this incident I thought this link was good.
I saw this video too, and it shook me very deeply. In this society we hold institutional authority too dear and human life far too cheap.
It is important to note that although U.S. women kill their husbands almost as often as the reverse (and in some groups, such as Chicago blacks, even more often than the reverse), this does not imply symmetry in wives’ and husbands’ actions or motives. Men often hunt down and kill spouses who have left them; women hardly ever behave similarly. Men kill wives as part of planned murder-suicides; analogous acts by women are almost unheard of. Men kill in response to revelations of wifely infidelity; women almost never respond similarly, although their mates are more often adulterous. Men often kill wives after subjecting them to lengthy periods of coercive abuse and assaults; the roles in such cases are seldom if ever reversed. Men perpetrate familicidal massacres, killing spouse and children together; women do not. Moreover, it seems clear that a large proportion of the spousal killings perpetrated by wives, but almost none of those perpetrated by husbands, are acts of self-defence. Unlike men, women kill male partners after years of suffering physical violence, after they have exhausted all available sources of assistance, when they feel trapped, and because they fear for their own lives.
One line is sticking out to me, one I specifically don’t agree with. “….Exercising their rights, but what about my right not to feel terrorized?” I understand that he’s making a point, and obviously he’s not referring to an…
I think a really big issue in the logic here is an entanglement of “fear” and “respect.”
I’m interested in this idea. Could you clarify what you mean?
One line is sticking out to me, one I specifically don’t agree with. “….Exercising their rights, but what about my right not to feel terrorized?” I understand that he’s making a point, and obviously he’s not referring to an actual right but still. To keep and bear arms is a right and my right to protect myself is something I don’t want infringed upon by the government. I know people who conceal carry and nobody ever knows about it, no one is bothered. The people who open carry to make a point are also not people I agree with, as that just causes panic and floods the 911 lines. However, it is their right, they don’t need to flaunt it but it’s still their constitutional right. If guns make you upset or uncomfortable I’m very sorry but why is it necessary to infringe upon my rights and ability to defend myself for your peace of mind? Sorry if that sounds cruel but that the way I see it. If you could please explain your reasoning I will be more than happy to listen.
If you’re really interested, I can share what seems to me like solid reasoning on the subject which came out of a discussion another Tumblr user was having with someone who was asking similar questions to what you’re asking.
"Right to not be terrified." What? Show me where that is written down.
That would be in the UN’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” To which the United States are a signatory, btw.
After reading through all of that, I still see nothing that has to do with people wanting the government to cater to their every fear even if it is as ridiculous as someone carrying a gun around them. Could you please point it out to me?
Now you’ve now gone and changed the question. Which is alright, I can try to answer the new one, but I just want to mention that that’s happened.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes “freedom from fear” within the preamble as the highest aspiration of the common people, and one of the reasons for which we have human rights. This is, again, a statement to which the United States government has subscribed. The language is borrowed from Franklin Roosevelt, who stated freedom from fear as one of his famous and much-lauded “Four Freedoms.”
The more specific mention is in Article 3, which identifies as a human right “life, liberty and security of person.” The word security is important, because it has a different meaning from safety. Security does not mean actual safety, it means an belief or feeling of safety. A right to security is synonymous with a right to freedom from reasonable fear.
I suspect you believe that fear of guns is not a reasonable fear. As another commenter earlier on this post said “Why would you be afraid of an inanimate object? Are you afraid of a rock?”
Speaking for myself, I’m not afraid of a rock. But I am afraid of a large rock hurtling toward my head. I’m not afraid of a tall cliff, but I’m afraid if I’m teetering on the edge of one. I’m not afraid of a gun, but I’m afraid of a stranger holding an assault weapon in a crowded place, like the comic shows.
Moreover, I put to you that even when guns— handguns and assault weapons; I consider hunting tools a different category— aren’t instruments of pain and death, they are instruments of fear. And as every gun advocate who claims that gun ownership is a deterrent to crime knows, that’s the point. Having a gun says “You should be afraid of me. If you mess with me, I have the power to kill you.” That message seems to me to be a major purpose— perhaps THE major purpose— of gun ownership.
So, to tie it all together (and to remove a little of the contempt from your language) you ask some people think the US government should act to protect them from their fear of guns. The answer is twofold:
1. The right to freedom from fear is well understood in American and global politics. While it may not be codified in American federal law at this time, it is recognized by America as a fundamental human right and a universal shared goal. I’m not sure, but I bet you could find reference to that right in any number of speeches by American presidents and presidential hopefuls in opposition to the goals of terrorism.
2. Fear of guns is reasonable. While gun violence only claims about three American lives per hundred thousand per year, it’s hard to argue that guns are designed and purchased primarily for the purpose of causing fear.
Now, this is a complex issue, I’m not denying that. For one thing, while buying a gun may make other people feel afraid of me, it might help me and my family to not feel afraid. I don’t think there’s any reliable way of measuring whether the widespread availability of guns and concealed carry licenses causes more fear than it prevents, or the other way around. I’ve got my own beliefs, but that’s not the same thing as knowing what’s best for the country.
But ultimately, that’s not what this conversation has been about. You asked where the right to be free from terror was written down, and I answered. You asked what gives people the sense that they can ask the government to control the thing that frightens them, and now I’ve answered that to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for your interest in this conversation!
Thanks so much! Sorry if I sounded contemptuous I didn’t mean to come across that way. In response, firstly I believe fear of guns is a perfectly rational fear. The are weapons designed to kill and for that fear is healthy. When I was talking about the right to peace of mind I meant more constitutional rights but I still see your point. I am a bit fuzzy on the second part though, about the government taking control of what makes people afraid. Could you please reiterate what you meant?
Oh hey, I guess this is kind of a question for me, since I wrote the post that Mr. Dawson was quoting here. Incidentally, it was the person I was responding to that sounded kind of contemptuous, not you. Sorry for the confusion there.
What is basically being talked about here is that two rights are in conflict— one that is written into the Constitution, and one that isn’t. Of course, conventional wisdom says that the right that’s in the Constitution should trump the one that isn’t, so many people think that the right to bear arms is more important than the right to security of person. But of course, the Constitution is an imperfect document that has admitted a couple of dozen changes over the years, including one (the 21st amendment) that repealed a previous amendment. So we can’t just say that what the Constitution says is automatically right, we actually need to discuss it.
The people of the United States ostensibly elect and support a government primarily for the purpose of protecting the rights of its citizens. When rights come into conflict, as they necessarily will (for instance, the right to free enterprise conflicting with the right to to adequate healthcare), the government has to make a decision.
And, like I said, it’s a question on which reasonable people can reasonably disagree. Polling data suggests that opinions on the subject are split about down the middle among the American people, with just a tiny bit more than half supporting more strict gun control. Globally, we can see in other countries that stricter gun controls have reduced violence and fatal accidents. Personally, I think the 2nd amendment should be repealed and replaced with a much more comprehensive set of gun control laws at the federal and state level. I truly believe that would both reduce crime and violence, and lead to a general increase in security and community in America. That being said, I also recognize the validity of arguments on the other side. I’m not going to pretend that people who disagree with me are just stupid or don’t understand the issue.
This is the nature of politics— to try to direct the policy of your nation to reflect your needs and your understanding of the needs of others. Mike’s comic expresses the viewpoint (apparently shared by a little more than half the population) that the need for safety and security is more important than strict adherence to a 200-year-old Constitutional amendment.
A little note to think on with regard to concealed-carry weapons: People think that allowing concealed carry, and the possession of firearms within your home, is a deterrent to crime. If you think like I do, this might be confusing at first, because if you can’t see the gun, how can you know not to commit the crime? The answer, I believe, is that if you don’t know who to be afraid of, you have to be afraid of everybody. If any person might have a gun under their jacket or in their bag, you can’t commit crimes against anyone. Which would be fine, I guess, if we had reason to believe that guns are only used for personal protection. But we don’t. We know guns are used all the time in interpersonal disputes, in road rage incidents, to murder Black children who walked down the wrong street, and so on. So instead of the sharp fear spike of actually seeing a gun in someone’s hand, we all get to deal with a constant, low-level fear knowing that any person we pass on the street might be able to kill us. That’s a fear that I could do without, too.