Abuse of Power Under a Guise . . .

This month, in a few days, the death penalty may be carried out in Utah by means of a firing squad.
In Utah . . . in the United States . . . in 2010!

A man who volunteered to be on the firing squad, who has been on a firing squad before, and is currently a law enforcement officer in Utah . . . spoke to CNN* about the use of firing squads for death penalty cases, and about his experience of being on a firing squad.

Here are some of the things he said:

“How often does this come along? 100 percent justice.”
“The process is instantaneous and carried out with the utmost professionalism.”
“It was anti-climactic. Another day at the office.”
“I’ve shot squirrels I’ve felt worse about.”
“There’s (sic) just some people we need to kick off the planet.”
“The death penalty is nothing more than sending a defective product back to the manufacturer. Let him fix it.”

Does it take your breath away to hear this?  It does mine. Does it break your heart to hear this? It does mine. Imagine!

The abuse of power often takes place under a guise . . .
under the guise of taking care of people,
under the guise of helping people,
under the guise of serving people,
under the guise of justice. **

I urge you to see through the guises . . .
so you aren’t abused under a guise,
so you don’t collude with someone under a guise,
so you don’t remain passive in the face of a guise.

And here, in the form of a firing squad, is a guise for sure.
100% justice . . . that’s the guise.
The signs of the guise . . . what the law enforcement officer said:
“Another day at the office.”
“I’ve shot squirrels I’ve felt worse about,”
“There’s (sic) just some people we need to kick off the planet.”
“The death penalty is nothing more than sending a defective product back to the manufacturer. Let him fix it.”

If you experience being on a firing squad and shooting someone to death as “another day at the office,” you are numbed out and your heart is hardened and closed . . . abuse of power under the guise of professionalism and objectivity.
If you feel worse about squirrels you’ve shot than a human being, you are so disconnected from and misusing your feelings . . . which feeds the abuse of power you are committing.
If you have decided some people need to be kicked off the planet and set yourself up to participate in deciding who and how . . . you are not valuing human life and you are revealing your commitment to destroying what you don’t value. And kicking someone off the planet is abuse of power no matter how you describe it.
If you have decided “the death penalty is . . . sending a defective product back to the manufacturer,” you are abusing power under the guise of a belief and relationship with God.

We need to understand this. We need to know it, hear it, see it, and feel it.
We need to not be fooled by the guise that attempts to justify or hide abuse of power.
We need to understand this and not be fooled by the guise that attempts to justify or hide abuse of power anywhere – including in the bedroom, the living room, the classroom, the boardroom, the legislative halls, and the halls of justice.

* http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/06/09/utah.firing.squad/index.html?hpt=C1

** In my book, Power Abused, Power Healed, I state:

“Every form of power can be used well or misused.
“The law has been used to manipulate as well as to serve justice. Parenthood has been used as a means of captivity, and it has been used to nourish a soul, helping it grow into fullness. Sexuality has been used as a weapon to rape and dominate, as a substitute for unmet childhood bonding and physical touch, and as an exquisite sacred expression of love and union.
“Even God’s name has been used both to destroy and to heal. Christian Inquisitors burned midwives at the stake; zealots have committed acts of violence all over the world in the name of religion. In contrast, people of many religions pray for peace; practitioners all over the world speak different names for God as they lay hands on suffering bodies to touch hearts and souls and restore them to health.”

(c) Judith Barr, 2010

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