Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. [Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson", 1894]


     the police system in this country must be scaled back.

     people have become so hysterical about crime that they're willing to be treated like criminals by the police in order to fight crime.

     but it doesn't seem to work; the more police there are, the more criminals crop up.

     it's become alright for the police to use advanced technologies to listen in on and examine citizens. how soon before new, unproven and possibly dangerous technologies are allowed to be used on citizens when they're just under the suspicion of criminal activity? how soon before no one is allowed to feel a sense of privacy about anything? it's here today in some respects.

     what's the solution? i don't know, but i do know that just throwing police at the problem won't make it go away; it might instead create the kind of environment in which we start serving the police instead of the other way around. who knows where this would lead? potentially even to the kind of power struggles and coups we've seen so often before elsewhere and might have thought america was somehow proof against.

     don't look to the constitution for help either. that noble document was said bye-bye to long ago; it's so currently heaped on with reams and boatloads of jurisprudence and modifiers which only lawyers understand that it's often no use in protecting the rights of the average citizen. and yet it's the only defense we have against our own leaders.

     i can only recommend the success of this century's civil disobedience movement in india, where a non-violent movement was able to eventually repel the foreign overlord. i fear though that americans these days don't have the same kind of stamina and belief that it takes to be beaten by a policeman because you won't move away from a sit-in. i fear that the american of tomorrow might even be more likely to be the nazi-style agressor than to be a peaceful thinker. widespread non-violence might have had more of a chance in the 60's, but the fact is that some careful thought and some definitive action are needed in the 90's and 2000's to avoid losing the land of the free permanently. before we pursue clinton's (and other's, like reagan and bush. it's not totally bill's fault) and congress's radical militarization of the wars on liberty (the dual wars on drugs and on internet pornography), let's just step back and think a bit.

     i have an idea. let's get back to the basics. what is it that is really wrong with human nature that should be dealt with by law? i think mainly the tendency towards violence. i can think of nothing that offends me more about being one of us than the fact that many of us are so violent. i myself have felt incredible rage in the past over minor slights and annoyances and know the propensity of the beast/machine that we're all wearing towards this state of mind and this disease of spirit.

     why not base the fundament of law on the prevention of violence? forget about the political flavor of the month. forget about the religious bases for hating this sex choice or that life choice. these are all objects of controversy that none of us can agree with each other on, sometimes even finding that we disagree with ourselves. the one thing that almost anyone can agree with is "i don't want to be killed" and most would also agree that "i don't want to be harmed". all other laws could emanate from this central viewpoint; "no one shall be subjected to undesired and undeserved harm". the unwriting of the current american spaghetti law could begin and continue until we arrived at the essential qualities of a free nation whose government is the source of peace, not the old-west enforcer of it.

     isn't this the most basic service that we want from government? isn't that something which, if it were possible, would make all of us sleep easier at night, maybe even those with minds of violence? and the violent mind always comes to rest someday and becomes the peaceable mind again... can't we all work toward that in some way?

     what i do know is that society can't just be healed by forces in government who feel external to it. and it can't be disciplined back into the imagined form of some golden age; a golden age comes from how people feel and what they achieve, not from being told that they are happy when they are not, not from frightening them into submission to a book of rules that is someone else's moral agenda, and certainly not from being treated like ignorant sheep by their leaders.

[Fred T. Hamster 1/9/1997]

A dream, it's true. But I'd see it through. [Phish, Billy Breathes, 1996]