Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why We Are Not Free

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

While it may be true that all societies indulge a process called 'criminalization', it seems that in the U.S. the process has been to an even greater extent institutionalized. Both crime rates and the profits of the so-called "Prison Industrial Complex" (P.I.C.) depend upon the criminalization of various behaviors, most notably, the cultivation and/or use of marijuana, a so-called 'drug' which many believe and support is not only hamless and non-addictive, its many uses could be of tremendous benefit to society.

'Criminalization' is often 'race-based', perhaps intended to justify endemic prejudice or bigotry. There is no reasonable doubt that persons of color are more often targeted by law enforcement. A study conducted in 1996 focused on Interstate 95 in Maryland; it found that almost 75 percent of motorists stopped for alleged traffic violations were 'black' though 'black' motorists constituted less than 18 percent of all motorists on Interstate 95.

Minorities are, likewise, more often to be surveilled! Such surveillance includes 'electronic monitoring' --video, audio, mail, etc. These tactics are often employed as devices of intimidation. That is most often the case with 'political dissidents'.

The answer to the question --'who gets watched' --defines the sweep and depth of surveillance as a means by which the 'state' may monitor and restrain citizens of any color or political persuasion. As a result, the mere present of police becomes an omnipresent means by which 'social control' is maintained. The presence of 'police' is a constant reminder that 'big brother' is watching. The message is clear: the police may routinely resort to violence to maintain a status quo beneficial to but a mere segment of the total population.

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