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Sunday, January 19, 2014

First Law of Consequences

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is Newton's 3rd law of motion—somewhat paraphrased—though apropos. People don't often consider it, but the same is true of decisions and consequences. Every decision affecting more people than just yourself has equal and unintended consequences, sometimes even opposite consequences.

Looking through the 20-20 hindsight of our armchair-quarterback backwards-facing viewfinder it's hard to believe that the decision makers didn't foresee some of these consequences. Drugs of all kinds were outlawed through the years and as a consequence a booming underground black market was created. Suddenly those unable to prosper in our civilized sanitized sophisticated university educated modern society were handed the keys to an underground kingdom where the slyest, the deadliest, the most remorseless, the strongest became kings.

The war on drugs was a war that never should have been declared. It was a war on our own citizens and the results of that war are in. Our constitutional rights have been forfeited. Our vast national wealth has been frittered away. Our children have been seduced and destroyed. We have an armed force of fascist police untouchables who are literally untouchable:
Wine did not agree with the painkillers Mr. Peltomaa, a professor of physics and math at The Art Institute of New York, was taking after having open-heart surgery a few days earlier on April 5. “My heart started racing,” he recalled on Thursday. “I felt nervous that something was going wrong with the repair to my aorta.”

Ms. LaFont dialed 911. She asked for an ambulance and told the dispatcher her husband had had surgery. “He’s on a lot of medication,” she said. “And he’s freaking out.”

Moments later, Mr. Peltomaa was in handcuffs and Ms. LaFont was under arrest

The confusion and trouble began that day when Officer Anthony Giambra arrived at the apartment door a few minutes after the 911 call, as an ambulance and fire truck pulled up outside. Ms. LaFont started to tell Officer Giambra about her husband’s condition, but the dog broke loose and raced into the street. She went after the animal.

When she returned, Officer Giambra had thrown Mr. Peltomaa up against a hallway wall and was trying to handcuff him. The professor’s surgical wound was pressed hard against the surface, she said. She gripped the officer’s shoulder and yelled at him to stop. “You’re under arrest,” the officer told her, as another officer hustled her back into her apartment and handcuffed her.

Officer Giambra, munching a candy bar, told her Mr. Peltomaa was fine and would be home before she would. “He said he needed to teach me the lesson that you are never allowed to touch a police officer,” she recalled.

Emphasis mine.
Our tax dollars and seized assets sold at auction have financed ever more elaborate and deadly military weapons and ordnance for the police state. Our "peace officers" have embraced the dark side of the force and have become power-mad megalomaniacs never more certain of their own infallibility and importance. As the police delve and pore intently through personal emailed documents, as they eavesdrop on personal telephone conversations, and follow us like digital bloodhounds through our trail of websites and digital forums, and flex their police muscle and make unilateral decisions concerning their own personal interpretation of the letter of the law, do we ever ask how much this drug war has really cost us?

Every dollar spent would have been better off burned instead, because every decision to spend a dollar on a war against our own American citizens has had unintended, yet equal consequences.

Take a rebellious child who does what his parents have told him not to do...take a man named Adam and a woman named Eve and give them this one fruit that they're forbidden to eat...and what you'll get every single time! is called rebellion.

Somebody tells us what to do or not to do: somebody bigger, somebody stronger, somebody older, somebody wiser, somebody with a title, somebody with a degree ... and we rebel! We have to rebel. We have to do the opposite. It's in our DNA! I don't know why. I think this rebellious imperative is hardwired in all of us.

My quick and dirty DNA rebellion theory goes like this: Imagine people ten thousand years and more ago. See them, these cave people. They were adults and children, leaders and followers, hunters and foragers, old dying and newborns nursing. They banded together, these our ancient progenitors, for protection against other bands of humans, for protection against dangerous carnivores and packs of carnivores. They banded together to help them take down game that would have been impossible to take down otherwise. They banded together to share warmth, to share learning, to mate, and share responsibilities. Each of them needed the others for shelter, for warmth, for resources.

When bands of strangers join together, immediately rules become necessary. The most important rule is that of private property. Mine not yours. My food not yours. My woman not yours. My spear, my club, my fur...not yours. We see this happening all the time in nature and what are the consequences? Rebellion. The survivors are those who successfully rebel. The wolf-pack leader is tested again and again by would-be rebels. One day a rebel succeeds and becomes the new pack leader. Deer and other horned beasts butt heads. The mating call sounds and the fights begin. Always there is the older seasoned patriarch and the young would-be rebel. It's been this way from the beginning.

Every human being on earth is descended from an eons-old genetic line of successful rebels. Watch how a teenager acts and then tell me that I'm wrong.

Let me share an anecdote with you. It's a story of two destructive young brothers who did nothing they were told, and everything they were told not to. They shared a primitive video game console and fought bitterly and constantly. Their parents were incessantly and constantly sought as arbiters in these their sibling struggles to vanquish once and for all, this their most bitter foe—each other.

One Christmas morning as they shredded wrapping paper tossing a tree's worth at their feet, they discovered that now they each had their own more modern gaming console. The parents considered themselves wise. Problem solved!

Not so fast...

"That's my game." "No it's mine." "No, you ruined my Legend of Zelda when you knocked the can of Coke over yesterday and so now this one is mine."

Yes, yes. I know... I'm virtually certain that you—dear reader—have knowledge of some magical formula which guarantees that—were you the parents of these rebellious little beasts—this anecdote would not be heading in this direction. Sadly their parents were not privy to the ingredients of any magical formula of instant child obedience. Nevertheless gamely they struggled on. They decided that there would be a new system. Each child would check video games in and out like in a library. Alas, their parents soon found out that libraries without fines, and libraries without full-time librarians, and libraries without government funding to replace missing and damaged library materials ... are doomed to failure.

Yes, yes...I know, but nowadays they're calling that "child abuse." The parents of these rebellious little darlings donned their thinking caps, once more.

There would be a new system. This time it was going to be fool-proof! Each child would have a record of ownership. He would be called upon at random intervals to show evidence of possession of each and every game in his inventory—said games to be in pristine working condition—before even the merest possibility of any new game acquisition could ever be considered. It was genius!

Not so fast...

"That's my "Goldeneye 007!" "No, it's mine." "You stepped on yours and hid the pieces in your happy meal box." "No dad, he's lying. It was him that did that. Plus, ask him where his Pokémon Stadium game is. Go ahead just ask him." "I have all my games, so I get a new game. You don't, so too bad for you." "No he's lying, dad. I have all my games except the one he stole!"

Well, dear readers, this story is as old as time itself. In this little fairytale nobody lived happily ever after, although they did live...barely. This world would be a better place if people didn't start wars. You can't win them, you know. You can win battles, win concessions, win territory, but as long as we live and breathe we never, ever, give up. The war goes on and on, sometimes to the point where nobody even remembers why.

As for the "war on poverty..." We can win that war. All we have to do, is make every single American as absolutely self-sacrificing as a wilderness full of saints, and as unendingly industrious as a hill full of ants... Yeah, sure.... that's gonna work out great.

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