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Monday, November 18, 2013

What Explains Such Behavior?

At Indian Country we read:

A U.S. senator has asked Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to direct his staff to “thoroughly and swiftly” complete a review of evidence that could exonerate four Native men imprisoned for the 1997 beating death of a teenager.
The request from Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) dated November 8, came after the state’s prosecutor asked the Fairbanks Superior Court for additional time to complete the review – six months, rather than the state-required 45 days.

Hoping for their convictions to be overturned are Alaska Natives George Frese, 36; Marvin Roberts, 35; and Eugene Vent, 33; and Kevin Pease, 35, who is Crow. Ages 20, 19 and 17 at the time of the crime, they are serving sentences ranging from 33 to 64 years.

They were convicted despite testimony that backs up their alibis; incriminating testimony that is questionable and, at one point, was recanted; and no fingerprints or DNA evidence that connect them to the crime.

The Alaska Innocence Project asked that their convictions be overturned after it obtained a sworn confession from a former Fairbanks man now serving a life sentence for murder in California. The man, William Z. Holmes, wrote that he and four other individuals, all high school friends, had been cruising around town that night harassing “drunk Natives” when they saw “a white boy walking alone.” During the ensuing confrontation, one of the friends stomped on the boy’s head; the boy died of his injuries in the hospital. Holmes’ statement identifies a friend who allegedly inflicted the fatal injuries. Bill Oberly, a defense attorney who directs the Alaska Innocence Project, said Holmes’ confession is backed by corroborating evidence.

But the state assigned the review to a prosecutor who had a vacation scheduled and was assigned to another trial...
Certainly the State moved speedily to charge and convict, but is sluggish when is seems that justice really was not served.

To a person who believes in the importance of justice, such behavior is grossly illogical.

So what explains it?

People are quick to point to racism, and other people are quick to deny such allegations.

Whatever the reason, whether it be racism or not, it is clear that the attitudes or motives that define the situation are, in a sense, "hidden" from the people involved: they cannot experience the feelings and thoughts and perceptions of some "higher" motivator or "greater power" that teaches their hands to the ways of injustice.

Well, who could? I mean, who could be content to act unjustly, unless they had a greater goal or motivator or belief that assuaged any possible sense of guilt?

I call such "higher powers" the "undiscovered" layers of the mind; they are undiscovered countries of the mind, hidden beneath a veil that is thin and light, yet opaque like lead.
They must be distinguished from Freudian Id, which is rooted in the genesis of the individual. The undiscovered layers are the feather light iron curtains which are the play of the unexamined lives of mankind.

As a note, another form of an undiscovered layer seems to me to be the ongoing marginalization of people who have served in our wars.

Even though we spend great effort praising the military, I recall my father telling me how disgusting some VA facilties were following World War II. During the Vietnam War the returning soldiers and sailors were ignored if not actively spurned, and Walter Reed Hospital continuously pops up every so often in stories of dirt and neglect.
Most recently, the government shutdown threatened benefits.

And is this the same type of cycle of  "love and hate"  that our natural world -  things like the Chesapeake Bay -  are subject to:  pollution, then clean-up; pollution, then clean-up, and so on and so on?

Is it an inability to focus, or is it a hidden and undiscovered disdain? Or some other reason or motive?
Do we dislike a military centralized system that is so different from the "free" markets in which the rest of us live and work? Do we actually disdain natural beauty, and need to deceive ourselves with great doses of feeling and emotion before the works of nature move us to protect and enjoy?

Something should explain our behavior.
An unexamined mind is a wasted mind.
That is what Plato was referring to: the unexamined mind remains burdened by the undiscovered layers of the neural chemistry left by our experiences, as if our experiences leave a patina of Un-Reason upon the synapses of the brain.

Un-Reason loses its irrational character when it is dis-covered, un-covered into the light of day.
It may still be odd, bizarre, and idiosyncratic, but one can see how the twigs were bent, and one can find understanding.


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