Re: OJ Simpson and the Question of Blaming...

Cal Eastman (shiva@FREENET.SCRI.FSU.EDU)
Thu, 7 Jul 1994 15:38:32 18000

> exactly my point, Cal...the prel.hearing is meant to determine whether
> the 'act of accusation' is in itself reasonable...simpsons guilt or
> innocence will be determined question remains...this focus on
> the act of accusing rather than on the actions of the accused strikes me
> as interesting precisely because it speaks to how blame is ascribed
> rather than to how guilt is determined....
> it is, as someone else noted, meant to be a safety barrier between 'the
> people' and 'the state' but my questions remain...why are americans so
> afraid of their 'state' and what does the use of victimization in
> challenging the legitimacy of accusation itself say about the u.s.
> justice system....
> dougl

Americans are afraid of their state with good reason. The US has the
largest percentage of its population in jail of any country in the
world. That is a frightening statistic for what is supposed to be teh
"freest" country anywhere. I love america, but america the idea is
harder and harder to find inside america the reality. Increasingly the
policed hold an us and them attitude. Law and Order are being
trumpeted above and beyond personal freedom. There is an old chinese
maxim.. you become your enemy. The enimies we have defined for
ourselves in teh last half century were fascist germany and stalinist
russia. The ideals of democracy as pursued overseas were such that
democracy became defined as anyone who hates communism. We lost the
spirit of america in the business of making her safe from our enemies.
NOt only do ends not justify the means in such a case, but the means
themselves ARE the ends. You cannot police and legislate people into
freedom, you cannot beat them into peacefulness.
For a personal example, i was standing outside a concert at madison
square garden on a friday night, the grateful dead. The police decided
that seeing as everyone there must've been some sort of indigent
hippie freak, and thus unworthy of our rights as citizens, they would
clear the street, 7th avenue, by violent means. Note that until this
moment there had been no hassles whatsoever in front of teh place. So
a line of officers teh width of the avenue started shoving people
back, causing a dangerously packed sitruation. They did not care if
teh people ahd tickets or not, or even if they were people heading for
the main entrance to penn station, they just sweot them up. I saw an
office4r push o amn from behind,who was toatly unaware the officer was
there. I saw this and tried to intervene to stop this guy from being
hit, for absolutely no reason. I said "hey you dont have to hit that
guy." For this i was descended upon by 5 police who threw me to the
ground, cuffed me none too gently, and arrested me on teh trumped up
charge of resisting arrest - i guess saying you are innocent as tehey
hit is resisting.... and i guess i did not land on teh sidewalk neatly
enough, for i was also charged with disorderly conduct.
Oliver wendal holmes said that teh ability to criticize the police was
one of teh hallmarks of a democratic society. So much for democracy.
This is not the america my parents, who fled here from slavery and
death camps raised me to believe in.
NOw, i still think this country is one of the freest around, its why i
still live here, but over teh last 10 12 years there has been a
gent;le gradual undermining of teh constitutional protections we
enjoyed, and a rise in law and order above freedom. The outcry in
favor of caning during the faye incident ought to have been enough to
scare anyone.
In new york there was just a 2 year investigation which found
WIDESPREAD corruption and abuse in the police department. Policemen
were beating up drug dealers, stealing their money and drugs, and
reselling them on the street. The used organized inteimidation and
threats to create and maintain a system by which they profited.
We indeed are afraid, in a country where they can take you 100,000
dollar home for a 20 dollar bag of marijuana. A country where seeing a
beating on videotape is not enough to convict the perps.
Thomas Jefferson said teh govt. that governs least governs best. If he
were alive today, he'd be in teh clubs in the lower east side, at
meetings discussing how to reform america, hed be on teh streets
protesting injustice, he would be sickened to his stomach by how far
america has strayed from her vision

Boom shiva
mahalinga nataraj
(puffiness 4evah)