ABUSE OF POWER UNDER A GUISE . . . REVISITED

This post is a follow-up to my previous post on this subject.

The man who was to be executed by a firing squad . . . was, in fact, executed.
The man who volunteered to be on the firing squad was one of five law enforcement officers on the firing squad.

Who can imagine this makes us feel safe?
Who can call our society civilized when such a thing could happen?
Who can imagine we are society of mature human beings if we can’t see through the guise?
Who can call us a society of healthy human beings if we can’t see through the guise?
The guise of justice covering abuse of power.
The guise of justice covering such deep wounding.

I posted a comment on a blog about the incident, and then went to read others’ posts to the blog.
My heart hurt so to read the responses. To see such hatred, rage, violence, and venom come from people
toward the man who had been executed . . . again under a guise.  And toward other people who responded without hatred, rage, violence, and venom.

I wondered who from their own early lives they were transferring onto this man who was executed, and onto others.
I wondered about the abuse in their early lives . . .
the cruelty in their childhoods  . . .
the punishments and other pain they suffered as children . . .
and under what guises?
Punishments that now they flung at others.
I wondered about the revenge someone took out on them during childhood,
revenge from a previous generation’s experiences of cruelty, hatred, punishment.

I wondered how to gather the help in larger numbers
so that together we can help to awaken and heal
our wounded, suffering, society.

(c) Judith Barr, 2010

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