. . . by the DC police shooting and killing of an unarmed, mentally troubled woman? Will the perpetrators of this criminal act go unpunished? What can be done to prevent such brutalities? The answers to such questions are to be found in the nature of the state, which is defined as an agency that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. When the state begins to lose popular respect, and increasing numbers of people start to question the necessity for its imposed “order,” state officials invariably try to reinforce its wobbling foundations by exaggerated forms of violence. It is no coincidence that past empires have resorted to expanded warfare as ways of reconfirming their violent characters, just as the current American state eagerly seeks wars against whatever other nations can provide platforms to remind its citizenry that the uninhibited exercise of viciousness is what makes America “exceptional.” This mindset of uninhibited viciousness is also carried out by police forces across the country, providing Boobus Americanus with a daily “in-your-face, live-and-in-full-color” reminder of the fate that can be experienced by anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity when the lessons of obedience to arbitrary force are being visited upon another as a reminder of the state’s authority.
That this shooting occurred near the capitol in DC in the early days of the make-believe “shutdown” of the federal government, should be a tip-off as to how its imagery serves the needs of the state to reinforce its violent, life-destructive character.
Will this act go unpunished? Yes. Will anything be done to prevent future brutalities? No. An alternative answer to either of these questions negates the principle of the state enjoying a monopoly on the use of violence. To even contemplate the control of state power to restrain its arbitrary and unrestrained use of force – whether on the streets of America or within the borders of other countries – is to raise the question of whether societies should be organized on the premises of violence. To begin asking such questions is to place in the minds of the millions of people the thought that maybe, just maybe, there are principles and values that transcend the interests of the state and its supporters. Should that occur, it is only a matter of time before the reverence for systemic violence evaporates.1:14 pm on October 4, 2013 Email Butler Shaffer