. . . And, Lester Jackson on Benny Lee Hodge, Sonia Sotomayor, and Apologies for Mass Murderers
Great Leader chatter about Obama healing the nation is engulfing every network news station — including Fox — following the mass killing in Connecticut. Was it always this way? I’m thinking back on Columbine, David Koresh, Oklahoma City — is anyone else getting nostalgic for mere partisan political jabs in the wake of grim and senseless violence? There is something profoundly creepy about the bureaucratic/therapeutic/paternalistic vibe emanating from Washington. Of course, this is part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to expand their mission beyond crime control . . . to social control. Flying under the flag of “anti-bullying,” “hate hurts,” “restorative justice,” and “prisoner re-entry,” the Department of Justice continues its Great March behind the Great Leader into people’s lives, this time using the excuse of a nut with a gun.
The goal isn’t merely gun control. Gun control is a speed bump on the way to social control.
In order to align law enforcement’s activities with the agenda of collectivism, it is necessary to either therapeuticize or politicize every crime. One or the other: a school shooter is generally therapeuticized. He falls into the category of “victim,” probably of bullying, so long as he didn’t express any of the select group of “hatreds” that are deemed atrocities and thus politicized. Luckily for school shooters who target females, that particular preference has been slotted back into the inconsequential category, and as it is the only category of shooter choice that has manifested in recent school shootings, school shooters generally just get counted as victims of social suffering — the therapeutic slot. The Department of Justice is making noises about social bullying today, for example — it’s the stuff on which they can build expensive and intrusive bureaucracies without violating Eric Holder’s allergy to incarceration and law enforcement itself.
So, expect a lot of talk about bullying from the nation’s federal law enforcement agency — and everyone else — in coming weeks. Ironically, early reports suggest that the killer in this case may have been systematically encouraged to see himself as a victim of “bullying” and social maladjustment. There’s something to contemplate as the experts descend on schools throughout the nation to cash in on the actions of one unstable individual: might we produce fewer school shooters if we had fewer school professionals encouraging children to see themselves as victims — of garden-variety bullying, social slights, and social exclusion?
For if there’s one common thread that ties together otherwise diverse killers, bank robbers, terrorists, street thugs, and assorted psychopaths, it’s self-pity. So as the armies of school psychologists and grief counselors and other soft-soap contract-remunerated social engineers fan out across the land, think about both intended and unintended consequences. It’s bad enough that the federal government is using a tragedy to grow the bureaucratic-therapeutic federal government machinery, but is it even worse than that? Are we growing future criminals in the process of therapeuticizing violence?
I was driving through South Georgia when the news reports of the Connecticut shootings broke. It may be Terrific in Tifton but it’s darn hard to get A.M. radio reception from the highway there, so we had to listen to public radio. ”Obama Will Save Us” positive visualizations popped up immediately, with NPR devoting its earliest hours to Dear Leader chatter and gushing praise for the FBI. Why the FBI? Because the federal government was on the way to save the day. Not that they actually did anything. But the purpose of NPR is to justify federal powers and federal funding — for themselves and for actual government officials. So they talked obsessively about how wonderful it was that the FBI was doing this and that for local law enforcement, even though local law enforcement was doing the actual work.
The therapeuticization of justice dictates two responses to crime. Offenders are transformed into victims of society, and victims are transformed into suspects, at least until they demonstrate that they are also willing to blame society and not the individual offender for victimizing them. Once everyone agrees that society is at fault, the experts can step in to dictate the cure, which involves creating more therapeutic non-incarcertive responses to crime. Response is an artful term: it expresses the bureaucratic view that we are one enormous sensate organism reacting with animal reflexes to pain or shock. If criminals are simply part of the sensate whole, how can we blame them for their actions? It’s like blaming us . . . well, we are blaming us. We are all responsible: nobody is responsible.
The alternative view is to accept the existence of moral choice and individual responsibility for crime, followed by judgment and consequences. As readers of this blog have learned from the anonymous Professor Dunderpants of CUNY’s Media Studies Department, merely believing in such things is considered terribly primitive these days, and not the sort of good primitive that stimulates the anthropology department. It is bad primitive to harbor a secret belief in free will these days, let alone express it publicly.
The power to transform criminals into victims and victims into suspects — to dictate not just the administration of justice to the guilty but the emotional responses of everyone to crime — is a tremendous, intrusive power cupped in the hands of the bureaucrats calling the shots. Fascist power, one might say. Soft fascism. The creepy kind.
Therapeuticizing criminals is the end-game of the social roots-theory of crime. Roots theory was invented by sociologists in the 1960′s who wished to displace responsibility for criminal actions away from the criminal himself and onto society — onto injustice arising from poverty and prejudice in particular. Poor and minority offenders, the story goes, are not responsible for their actions: they are merely reacting to injustice directed at them when they steal your car or mug your husband or rape your sister. And social engineering is, of course, the only known cure. Forty years later, the roots-theory movement has expanded to the point that it may even be applied to a young white male from an upper-class suburb who just slaughtered 20 innocent schoolchildren. In coming days, even the most rational expressions of anger at the shooter will be quickly smothered by ministrations of therapeuticized justice in the government and the media.
Let the intensive policing of the innocents begin.
Related: Lester Jackson has a compelling article about Justice Sotomayor and judicial sympathy for repeat killers in American Thinker today. It’s a timely read:
As detailed elsewhere, pro-murderer media suppression of the truth has played a major role in enabling a wholesale evisceration of capital punishment. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently provided a graphic example, one that would be excruciatingly painful to survivors of murder victims if they knew about it. Many people unfamiliar with the practices and philosophy of the current Supreme Court would very likely be shocked to learn just what values some justices hold. . .
When pro-murderer justices seek — often successfully — to focus upon criminals rather than crimes, the result is to grant certain perpetrators greater protection against punishment for their brutality than others who commit identical or less serious acts without Supreme Court succor. The reductio ad absurdum, of course, is the Court’s fiat proclaiming a Constitutional right, nowhere to be found in the real document, for the most depraved and vicious barbarians . . .