Tag Archives: law enforcement

I Am the Nine Percent

If us land were divided like US wealth
I think the land is already divided like this. There is no "if".

Today I posted Cops Have No Morals, a depiction of one of the most eye-opening conversations I’ve ever had. It’s a story that is as much about corporate America and our capitalist society as it is about a police officer. Spoiler alert: in 1998 a police officer insisted that there was no such thing as a cop who cared about right and wrong, then went on to reveal the secret to success in Capitalist America.

I’m sure if you’ve looked around this site you can probably guess that I support Occupy Wall Street and my local version, Occupy Seattle, but at the same time I don’t particularly feel as though I’m one of the ninety-nine percent.

In the last few years, the economy has been very good to me. My income has steadily increased. I bought a condo after the housing bust and got a great deal at a low interest rate. I have a fancy corporate job with full medical and dental, doing something I love. I can sometimes spend nearly a thousand dollars in a month on restaurants alone. I have a sun room overlooking a golf course… well, a driving range and mini-putt. I have a guest bedroom with a liquor cabinet and I buy my weed by the ounce.

Then the other day, I saw this picture posted to Facebook and thought it was perfect, because I think that’s where I am. I am one of that nine percent.

I’m not a millionaire, of course. I’m not part of the one percent, but I don’t have any kids and have made good investments, but I see so many others out there who are struggling to feed their families, who would be devastated if they lost their job, and have no clue what they’re going to do about retirement. I don’t need to worry about any of that.

The main difference I’ve noticed between them and me? They chose to make careers out of things they felt would help society, things they felt needed to get done. I made a career out of something fun that would make money.

The reason I was able to do this, to think of only myself, to “look out for number one”, was because of what this officer told me. He taught me how to be selfish.

For years this speech creeped me out. I ran it through my head over and over again for years, and was horrified. But what’s truly horrifying about this speech, I found out years later, is that every word he said was true.

I had promised myself that I would never work for another corporation, that I would always do something to contribute, that I would always be humble, I wouldn’t do destructive things like drive a car or eat farmed fish and all that. After a few years, however, society beat me down. Every time someone tried to tell me the police were the good guys the officer’s speech ran through my head, telling me I was a fool for caring about right and wrong, and over the years, I simply gave up.

Since then I’ve worked for several companies that I felt were ripping off their customers, knowingly selling faulty products as well as companies whose sole purpose was to manipulate people into buying things. I’ve sat in meetings where we cracked jokes about how rational people should see us as evil. In one meeting with hundreds of people, a corporate representative literally told us that it didn’t matter what was true or not in our sales pitches. I can deal with this because of that officer who taught me how to shut off my sense of right and wrong.

I see teachers, firefighters and plumbers out there who saw a gap in society, something that needed to get done, and used that to guide their career decisions. They cared about society before themselves. A friend recently got fired for failing a pee test and had a hard time getting another job as a result. Turned out he was listing the job on applications because he felt some kind of moral obligation to be honest about his work history. I had to tell him, this is the real world. Nobody’s gonna reward you for honesty, and nobody’s gonna care if you tell a few lies. Manipulation and lies are an integral part of the financial game in America and every one of the one percent and the majority of the nine percent have accepted that and have blatantly exploited it, at the expense of the 90 percent. And they did it right under your noses.

And I’m part of the problem. I’m an anarchist and a socialist, but I behave like a capitalist. I’m a hypocrite. I know it’s wrong. I feel bad, but not bad enough to stop, because I love my job, I love my condo, and I love sushi and creme brule.

So just remember occupiers, those police surrounding you and the one percent they represent, they don’t care about right and wrong the way you do. Just remember that. Otherwise you will be truly shocked at what they are capable of.

Destroying Lives Based on Time of Day

Someone sent this around an email chain today, kind of as a joke about wanting to only work half days. This is an article about “decision fatigue”, the idea that if you make tons of decisions in a day you just kinda get worn out and your brain just doesn’t want to keep going. It’s an interesting idea, but my point has nothing to do with this.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? – NYTimes.com.

The article is talking about a parole board in Israel who judged the prisoners, not by what they had done or how they had improved, but by what time of day they appeared for their hearing.

Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.

Now think about that. This isn’t just one judge. This article is talking about a trend in human thinking, something that may be affecting all judges and parole boards all over the world. 70 percent versus 10 percent. That’s a ridiculously big difference, and when you’re dealing with human lives you’re talking about phenomenal levels of unfairness. If you compare black and white people going to parole boards I doubt you would see a difference that huge. Why is race-based unfairness such a horrible crime but time-based unfairness is just a light-hearted side note?

What I find amazing is that we can have these kind of articles and information printed for all to read and yet people still try to tell me that criminal justice is fair.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior.

Seriously? Nothing unusual? And sure it wasn’t malicious but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s cruel, wrong, and makes a mockery of our sense of justice and fairness. (Upon re-reading this, I remembered that putting people in prison is inherently malicious. That’s the whole point. It’s designed to make people suffer.)

It’s funny too that the New York Times can start off an article describing a horrible injustice, but because it’s an injustice against criminals they just move on to the psychology and how it affects our lives, never stopping to care about the human lives. I think this really illuminates society’s total lack of compassion for anyone labeled, for whatever reason, a criminal. We don’t even see them as people. How can we seriously expect them to reform and have respect for society when we treat them like this?

Criminal Justice Extremism

After reading a few articles recently about some extreme acts of criminal justice, I decided I needed to write another post examining the fundamental attitudes that allow humans to feel so justified in bringing others intense suffering. The first is about a 14 year old Bangladeshi girl who was lashed to death for adultery. The next is a story from Ireland about police threating to rape some women protesters in order to intimidate them. The third is about a Pakistani girl who was gang raped as a sentence for her brothers alleged crime of having sex with someone from another clan.

Now, first of all, these kinds of things are not isolated incidents. If you pay attention to the news long enough you find story after story like this of criminal justice gone to extremes. It’s not like these are the only stories I could have used as examples.

It is my belief that every person who supports the core concepts of criminal justice are in turn supporting, and putting their stamp of approval on all of these acts of criminal justice extremism. You may not like it, in the same way the average Christian does not like the Westboro church. You might wish things like this didn’t happen, but if you support criminal justice in general, you are also supporting the extremists of that concept, in the same way that all Christians are supporting the Westboro church, even if they don’t agree with the specifics of it. The real question is, is it worth it? Do the ends justify the means? At what point does it go too far? Is this kind of extremism a reasonable sacrifice to make for the feelings of safety that criminal justice provides? I say no, it is not but even if you don’t agree with me, we owe it to ourselves to ask these questions and to try to imagine a world where we don’t need to make these trade offs.

Now the first, the girl whipped to death for adultery, most of us in America would probably argue that it would never happen where we live. Sure, we don’t incriminate people for adultery, but we do for drugs, even though it could be easily argued that adultery is worse. The people whipping the Bangladeshi girl did not really intend to kill her, and sometimes peaceful drug dealers are killed in American prisons and nobody bats an eye. The prosecutors do not specifically intend for them to be raped or killed in prison, but that’s what happens occasionally and nobody seems to care. I don’t believe we as Americans have a right to feel that our system of criminal justice is fundamentally better when we have more people per-capita in prisons than any other nation.

Even so, it’s not hard to find someone who believes criminal penalties are not stiff enough. Just start talking about a teenager who committed a murder and you’ll quickly find numerous people who believe that the kid needed more discipline. The jail should have kept him longer. His parents should have hit him harder. When we put our faith in a system like criminal justice and it fails, our natural reaction is to take our faith to the next level. What we really need to do is reexamine our faith.

Now the second story, about the police threating rape, when you think about it from the cop’s perspective it’s really no big deal. Threatening rape is one of the most common and effective things that police do. Prison rape is one of the number one things that people fear about prison, so essentially police are threatening rape to nearly everyone they encounter. I once heard a radio show where there was a member of a group trying to expose and prevent prison rape and they received numerous callers who were angry over what they were doing, saying that people in prison deserve to be raped because it’s one of the biggest deterrents to crime. So why is it suddenly wrong when a policeman directly threatens rape? It’s not much different from what they do every day. The only difference is the identity of the rapist.

The third story, on the surface, seems insane. A girl is gang raped as punishment for her brothers crime. Now, obviously sex with an outside-clan member doesn’t seem like a real crime, but neither does marijuana, so we can’t really argue that it’s ridiculous on that point.

The fact that the person punished was not the person who committed the crime also seems wacky on the surface, but in a way it’s not too far from what we already do in America. It’s often the family members of a convict who are hurt more than the convict himself. When someone is charged a fine it’s the whole family who must make sacrifices to pay it off. When a man goes to prison, it’s his mother who collapses into hysterics because she isn’t going to see her son. It’s the wife who must take a second job to pay for the kids while dad’s in prison. The criminal knew what he was getting into and had time to prepare. His family did not.

So while these three stories may seem extreme, they are not fundamentally different from the things that criminal justice is doing here in America. If we didn’t have the resources to imprison people for years, what would we do with our criminals? Can we be certain it wouldn’t involve whips and rape?

Last Week’s story, Amtrak Weed

I haven’t been posting much this week because I’ve been working on my short story called Pioneers, about a bunch of children colonizing a planet. I probably shouldn’t talk too much about it since you’re supposed to have to figure out that they’re children as you’re reading 🙂 and because if all goes well, I won’t be posting it on this site. I’m actually gonna make an attempt at getting published again.

Anyhoo – last Friday, as promised, I posted another true short story called Amtrak Weed, and didn’t bother writing an entry about it until now.

So this story’s overall theme–other than the drunken humor–is about how easy it is to diffuse tense situations if you simply come at it from the right perspective. So spoiler: in this story I’m on the Amtrak and I somehow get between this guy with a knife and the dude he was threatening. Huge, screaming, possibly dangerous fight seems eminent. Long story short, I ask if they want to smoke some weed, crack a few jokes, and I laugh off the little knife-threatening incident like it’s just a childish fight. This all catches the knife-dude off guard, and his emotions and perspective suddenly shifts, as often happens with drinkers, and suddenly everyone’s friends again.

However, law-enforcement types would have come into the situation with force, never stopping to understand where the guy was coming from or what was really going on. They would see that knife and see him as nothing more than an enemy, and not as a person. Knife-dude never would have had the perspective shift. He never would have shaken hands with or apologized to his victim, and ultimately everyone would have been more traumatized by the whole situation.

This is one of the core reasons I am an anarchist, because I believe there are far better ways to address scary situations than war or police force.

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Tomorrow comes another true story that has influenced my anarchism called My Intro to Capitalism

Taco Bell Promotes Drunk Driving

So on Friday, as promised, I posted another true story, The Sacred Rules of the Drive-thru. It seems pretty self-explanatory, how banning bicyclists and walk-up guests at the drive-thru is promoting drunk driving because drunk people need to eat. Sometimes getting food is a health issue if they haven’t eaten anything in a long time and have a belly full of alcohol, but the real issue is that this rule forces drunk people to drive and sometimes forces people who don’t have cars to go hungry and feel as though they are not equal members of society. The insurance companies and lawyers make their rules regarding whose at fault in the unlikely event that someone is actually injured, so the fast-food companies must put their restrictive, and in my opinion discriminatory rules onto the people. People without cars are people too and should have the same right to get food late at night.

Now I’m not talking about this as a real issue that we need to seriously address. It’s just one example out of many of how our obsession with rules has become counter-productive to a fair and orderly society. People too often forget that rules should always have a human purpose and should always solve more problems than they cause. I don’t believe that it should be okay to cite the existence of one rule to justify another. We’ve gotten to a point where we care more about the organization and enforcement of laws than we do about people’s lives.

Do Suicidal People Deserve to be Punished?

Whew… so many of my entries are so depressing. I promise I’m not this depressing in real life. I wrote this piece several years ago, just a few days after it happened.

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I recently visited an old friend who happened to be having some dramatic fights with his girlfriend who was also the mother of his child. At one point she called on the phone and threatened to kill herself, and my friend responded by telling her that she was a horrible bitch, a worthless person, a horrible mother, and called her all sorts of horrible names that I believe are worse than I have ever heard directed at another human being in an attempt to punish her for even thinking about suicide.

Now, to you and me I’m sure it seems obvious that telling a person she is a worthless human being and a horrible mother is counter productive to convincing her not to commit suicide, however, you must understand my friends perspective.

In our society, if you burglarize a store you are sent to jail. The idea of jail is that it is a place that makes you feel really bad so that you realize there are consequences to burglarizing stores and won’t want to do it again because you won’t want to face the punishments.

When a child misbehaves, he is spanked or sent to his room or otherwise punished, and parents and would-be parents all over the world insist that there must be consequences for misbehavior, just as most of society insists that there must be penalties for people who break the law.

Now, this same concept can often apply to language, and we will call people names to punish them for things they have done or said. We’ve all done it at some point where we say something we don’t mean in order to get justice on someone who said or did something we felt was wrong.

So my friend decided that the right thing to do in this situation was to punish his girlfriend for threatening to kill herself so that she would feel so awful that she would never want to do it again. There is no doubt that threatening to kill yourself, especially when you have a child (this woman had five children, only one with my friend) is morally wrong and selfish, so doesn’t it stand to reason, under our normal concept of justice in this world that she be punished for her wrongdoing? There needs to be consequences for wrongful action, right? If he doesn’t punish her for what she was threatening to do, then she would just get away with it and there would be nothing to stop her from doing it again, and using his horrible words was the only punishment he had available.

Now, my friend’s reasoning seems crazy to you and I, but can you pin down exactly why it’s so crazy? What exactly is different about a mother threatening suicide from say, a burglar, and why do we react differently to them? Both burglary and suicide harm the people around you, and often times suicide can do a lot more harm. Both burglary and suicide are clearly illegal, and both are considered by society to be reasonably wrong in most situations. So what is different?

You might say that it is because the woman threatening suicide is suffering from severe depression and low self esteem, but a significant number of criminals in our society suffer from all sorts of mental disorders, and many criminals are just as depressed as our suicidal mother.

You might argue that feeling horrible is what drove the mother to want to kill herself, so that making her feel more horrible is only going to make things worse. However, the same is true of a significant number of criminals. They feel horrible about life and about society so instead of choosing suicide they choose violence or thievery, sometimes in an attempt to take out justice upon the society they feel wronged them somehow. So why is it so rational and normal to purposefully increase the negative emotions that caused a criminal to commit a crime, but it is not logical to purposefully increase those negative emotions that caused a person to want to kill herself?

In my opinion, there is no difference. I believe it is counter productive to tell a suicidal person that they are a worthless person, and I believe it is counter productive to send criminals to prison simply as a punishment. I know I might sound like a crime-loving monster here, but I truly believe that the most efficient and effective way of preventing a person’s suicide is to show them and tell them that you love them, and that you care about them. I believe the same is true for criminal justice. I know that sounds utterly backward to reward criminals with our love and compassion, but if you look at it from your own eyes, who is more likely to get you to behave the way they want you to: a person who cares about you and shows you compassion and understanding, or a person whose goal is to make you suffer?

So logically, you must forgive my friend for the horrible things that he says to the woman he loves, the mother of his children, because he was taught that with love comes discipline, which sometimes means making another person hurt. His parents at home taught him this and the police and criminal justice system in society taught him the same thing. You can’t really blame him taking those basic concepts and applying them to a situation that was slightly different.

My First Minute in Jail

Last year for Christmas I wound up spending the night at my dad’s house and after everyone else went to sleep I stayed up drinking glass after glass of Irish cream as I finished writing what I think is the most important story I have ever written, a true story about the day I went to jail for selling weed and had 28 hours jam-packed with eye-opening experiences. Since I finished this story on Christmas day, 2009, and the very first story I ever wrote, Austin Station, I finished on Christmas day 1996, I think it would be fitting to release my jail story, called Stockholm Syndrome, on Christmas day 2010. Here’s a teaser:

We took an elevator up a couple levels and the guard sent me through two sets of doors and I entered alone into a wide room with two levels of cell doors lining one side and a series of tables made of concrete staggered across the open space in front of me. In most of the seats sat other men in the same orange outfits.

They all stopped and for just a moment everything went silent as they looked at me.

“New guy!” shouted one guy as he slammed a hand of playing cards back on the table. “It’s my turn.” He pointed at the man across from him as he pulled his legs out from under the table. “This guy is mine. It’s my turn.”

And as he came jumping toward me, all sorts of scenes from prison movies ran through my head… and all the prison advice I’d heard as jokes on sitcoms. I’m gonna stand my ground, I told myself. Don’t back down. Don’t be nobody’s bitch, but also don’t fight. Act tough, but don’t fight… because I knew I’d get my ass beat. But it’s all about appearances, I told myself. Just look tough and don’t let them fuck with you… but also do everything you can to avoid acting like a dick… and always remain calm and collected… don’t let them get to you.

He stopped just in front of me and I stared him down, unmoving in my poker face, not knowing if I should smile and try to make friends or glare and intimidate.

But this guy was nearly a foot shorter than me, and up close, he was just a skinny white teenager wearing a goofy grin.

“Hey New Guy!” he said. “Welcome to the beautiful D-3 block, the most hard-core block of the lovely Whatcom County Jail. I’m Kurt, and I’m gonna show you around… get you orientated and situated.”

“Um… okay…” I said.

“Have you ever been in Bellingham jail before?”

I shook my head.

“Ever been in jail before?”

“Nope.”

“Well, wonderful then. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay. Can I show you to your room?”

And just for kicks, here’s another clip:

“I’d say maybe 65 to 75 percent of the people in here got in a fight with their wives or girlfriends… smacked ‘em around or something.” Abdul explained.

“That’s funny because I see almost everyone so eager to talk to their girlfriends on those phones.” I replied.

“Yeah, that would be them. I can’t think of any one of them whose girlfriends actually left them.”

“So do they go to counseling or something during the day?”

Abdul laughed. “What… like bring in some relationship counselors and have some group therapy… a little role playing… talk about your feelings… address the real problems and talk about ‘em with your loved ones… is that what you envisioned happening in jail?”

“Well, I figured there would be some kind of counseling or mental health… I don’t know… something… at the very least a wag of the finger and someone saying ‘you really shouldn’t do that again.’”

“Nope. Not at all,” he replied. “We just do this all day… shoot the shit and play gin rummy. You gotta pay through the nose if you want counseling… and even then it doesn’t help your case.”

“We haven’t even seen a guard since I got here like eight hours ago,” I said. “I thought jail was supposed to be about rehabilitation and convincing people not to re-commit.”

“Yeah,” Abdul replied, “that would make too much sense.”

News Stories about Police Destruction

I wrote this post months ago, a few days before I watched the shooting in front of my house and hesitated to post it because it feels like a personal angry rant… and because I’m scared of what the cops might do if I criticize them too vehemently. But the other day I noticed a headline saying that the Seattle police are looking to use less violent techniques after the death of yet another innocent dude, and instead were going to use more “verbal judo”, which, to us layman, means “lies, deceit and manipulations”. I’m sorry, but it’s hard not to think that their pledge to be less violent is just another example of “verbal judo.” So here’s my post:

One of the reasons I don’t watch or read much news is the fact that almost every time I do, I hear about some person who was beaten or otherwise seriously harmed by a police officer. I find it too depressing to see these things, knowing that most of the people I know support them in some form or another.

On my birthday last year, for example, someone actually told me, “The only people killed by police are people who deserve it.” I’m not sure if they realized how that would affect me. I’ve actually come terrifyingly close to being killed by cops on four occasions, three of those times without ever having committed anything that could arguably be considered a crime.

And I keep seeing these types of things whenever I happen to see or read the news. A few weeks ago I was waiting for my lunch in a little diner and the news was on. First I saw a story about a guy who was suing the police after being ‘stomped on’ by a police officer and having racial slurs shouted at him. A few minutes later I saw that another officer had locked himself in his house after killing his wife and kids, the standoff finally ending when he killed himself. Then today I read a story about a woman who quit her job to take care of her husband who was paralyzed in a mistaken police chase. (In trying to find this news story to confirm this, I found some others under the keywords ‘mistaken’ and ‘police’: “NY police tell parents that son is dead — he’s not“, “Police: Yakima farmworker, mistaken for gang member, shot“, “Jury Awards $55,000 To Woman, Child For Mistaken Drug Raid — Police Broke Into Wrong Apartment“, “1 year after officer tackled him, man is bedridden, wife is caretaker“, “Marines, Police Die In Mistaken Battle“, “Mistaken Identity — Disciplinary Measures Urged For County Officials Who Denied Medication” I wasn’t able to find the one I was thinking of, but came upon all these on just the first page of my first search. It’s no wonder that every time I see the news I see another example of police doing something horrible.

People who watch or read the news on a regular basis must be inundated with these kind of stories, yet no matter how many horrible things we hear, we always turn a blind eye, and continue to see police as the good guys. Some days knowing this is too hard for me to deal with.

Tacoma Dome Parking – Logistical Nightmare

This is a post I made about a month ago but hesitated to post because it seemed too much like a personal vendetta to publish it. However, I think it does a decent job of giving a real-world example of how capitalism is inherently unfair and makes life more difficult for the average person, and after I’ve given it some time, I still feel as though I (and hundreds of others) were victims of fraud at the hands of The Tacoma Dome and their parking situation.

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I went to see Lady Gaga Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington and felt that my experiences with their parking was worthy of a rambling, pissed-off blog post. (My first thought was to make an all-caps Facebook post.)

The show started at 8:00 according to the ticket. My friend and I arrived at the Tacoma Dome exit around 7:30. We then waited in a single file, poorly marked line for nearly two hours for a parking space. Cars frequently passed us, and we theorized that all of them were cutting in front of us. Finally, just before 9:30 we finally realized we weren’t going to make the show, so we decided to pull out of line and either park somewhere far away and take a cab (I didn’t stop to think that getting a cab would have been impossible), or, I was thinking I could just abandon my car and pay the impound fee later.

We pulled out and saw the line of cars behind us, disappearing into a point on the horizon. We drove forward, passing maybe 50 to 100 cars and arrived at the front of the line. At this point we we were so fed up, we decided to turn around and sneak into the front of the line. I know that’s a dick move, but sometimes you get to a point where you just can’t take it any more.

So we made a u-turn, right in front of the traffic police. Naturally they didn’t say anything to us and just let us through. We pulled into the parking garage and the attendant came to my window and said, “Ten dollars, and do not tell me you don’t have cash.”

Fortunately I did have cash, and I payed her without argument, though I wanted to scream at her about the ethics of charging ten bucks for event parking when you’ve already forced everyone to miss the majority of the show. The fact that she said, “do not tell me you don’t have cash,” implies that she went through that kind of ordeal with other drivers. Every car that pulled in spent probably an average of a minute talking to the attendant, and if not for that, no doubt we would have gotten inside in a much more timely fashion.

We parked, then ran several blocks to the stadium. Lady Gaga had already played nearly half her set, and obviously the opening band was long gone (some band called Semi-Precious Weapons that I was actually excited to see). We were able to find the row where our seats were supposed to be, but we looked through the darkness and saw that our seats had been taken. (To be honest, we didn’t realize that they were bench seats, rather than individual seats, because it was so dark and crowded at this point there was no way to see details like that.)

We went back down to talk to an usher, who refues to help, immediately accusing me of lying to her as though I was trying to avoid going to my seat. So my friend and I decided to simply stand at the front railing with all the other people who weren’t able to get to their seats. After ten minutes someone from seats behind us came down and started screaming at us (you can’t really communicate when Lady Gaga’s in the background unless you’re screaming) because we were blocking their view. We tried to apologize and explain there was nothing we could do, but ultimately we refused to move because there was simply no where else we could watch the show.

So they went and complained to management about us. The usher’s supervisor came to yell at us, and I wound up yelling back, asking him to help us get to our seats. He refused to help, so my friend and I refused to move from the railing. Finally, he agreed to assist and brought us up to our row and was able to get the attention of the others to let us in. We finally made it to our seats a little after 10:00 PM, just in time to see the last third of Lady Gaga’s set.

Getting out of the parking garage was not as difficult. It only took an hour before we started moving, which realistically is pretty reasonable.

(This is kind of unrelated, but on the way out, the police were directing traffic, but for some reason were not making much effort to make their signals understandable. When they waved us through it seemed more like someone jingling their keys by their side than someone actually trying to communicate, so I could never tell if they were waving us through or their hands were simply unsteady.

Now this personally bothers me because my greatest phobia is being beaten by a police officer, and last year someone was leaving a Seattle Mariner’s game and misunderstood a traffic cop’s signals. As he drove through the intersection the cop took out his flashlight and smashed the man in the face, giving him a concussion. The Seattle police settled with the man for, I believe $70,000, but the police department made a statement that the officer had acted reasonably.)

The main issue for me is that all of this was based on money. If the promoters hadn’t felt the need to rake in every last dollar they could, they wouldn’t have over-sold the show. They could have sent out emails telling everyone that they didn’t have parking capacity, but that would have discouraged some people from coming. They could have stopped charging for parking to allow everyone to see the show, but they knew that Ticketmaster would not be refunding our money, so they didn’t care if they caused hundreds of people to miss a show that cost $100 per ticket. Basically, it’s all about profit and nothing about serving the community. As an anarchist, I believe the opposite. Community should come first; profit second.

Hmmm… so at $100 per ticket, at 20,000 fans, the concert promoters brought in 2 million dollars for that show.

During the show, Lady Gaga said something about how Hollywood and the media build up pop stars to be larger than life, which in turn allows those stars to treat their fans like shit. I personally can’t blame Lady Gaga for this mess because I doubt she even knew about the parking problems, but I found her statement quite fitting.

Then, the next day, I found this article: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/08/21/1309803/no-repeat-of-junes-parking-traffic.html, which basically makes the claim that parking was not an issue at the show at all. I can’t help thinking that was a deliberate lie.

I asked for my money back, just to see what they’d say. Naturally both TicketMaster and The Tacoma Dome officials refused, but the answer from the Tacoma Dome blew me away as their letter was filled with more lies, specifically, the lie that all other stadiums have the same kind of parking issues, as though I’d never been to a sold-out stadium concert before.

What I don’t understand is why the general population thinks that this kind of financial manipulation and deceit is more acceptable than a normal thief who steals in a more direct and honest manner and has more need for what he’s stealing. For me, this experience was more hurtful than any of the three times my home has been broken into.

Crime is not Logical

For this post, again, the word ‘crime’ is loosely defined to include obvious crimes, and does not include things like marijuana, j-walking or software piracy.

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Someone pointed out about my recent article, 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime, that I am making an unfair assumption that crime doesn’t pay, therefore assuming that crime is not logical and that logical-minded individuals are less likely to commit it. I’d like to take this opportunity to present my evidence that, with a few exceptions, crimes like murder, rape, burglary and assault, are not logical and are rarely the actions of a logically thinking individual.

First, the vast majority of the population from the western world to African tribes agrees that rape, murder, assault and burglary (or similar forms of personal-property violations depending on their culture) are morally wrong. All these different people from wildly different cultures all came to the same conclusions. This indicates either that non-violence is inherently logical, or that we have a genetic predisposition to viewing these things as immoral. Personally I believe it’s a little of both. Even rapists and murderers tend to agree that rape and murder is morally wrong, as they most likely formed their moral beliefs while thinking logically, but committed their crimes while following their passion, or what some might call ‘faith’.

Some might argue that crime really does pay. Perhaps in some cases, white collar crime does pay, but for the majority of crimes for which people are sent to prison, no they certainly do not pay. I did a blog post a few months ago on a video about crack capitalism that presented some statistics showing that not only do crack dealers on average make less than minimum wage, they also have a shorter life expectancy than people on death row. Considering the sacrifices they’re making, I wouldn’t say it’s paying off for them. The profit/danger ratio is probably a little better for a car thief or something, but it’s still not nearly as good as someone working in an office or even someone working the McDonald’s drive-through. People may be caught up in the fantasy of becoming a rich gangster, but I think the more someone is devoted to logic, the more likely they are to see that they have a significantly better chance at becoming rich and successful in the legitimate world than they do at becoming a rich, successful criminal.

And that’s just talking about the logical profit-danger ratio. The true fighter of crime in our society is guilt. Guilt may be an emotion, but if we look at it logically, we know that we either can’t escape it or we’ll spend precious mental energy trying to escape it. Either way, a life of crime is not going to pay off in an emotionally and spiritually satisfying life.

Then there’s the social aspect of being a criminal. If you look at it logically, being a criminal will not get you as much respect in society, will add stresses between friends and family, unwanted drama, etc.

So if our ultimate goal is happiness and a fulfilling life, crime just does not pay on a purely logical basis.



Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
Even More Atheist-Theist Debate
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
About My Page, 22 Ways