Tag Archives | Accountability

The Scapegoat: A Brief History of Meaning

Be it personal, political, or otherwise. Scapegoating erodes through a lack of accountability.

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic...

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic, goatlike demon, from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris,1825). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Megge Hill Fitz-Randolph @ suite.io

According to Sir James Frazer’s turn of the century classic, The Golden Bough; A Study in Magic and Religion, scapegoating has existed in every culture since the earliest times. Animals such as goats, snakes, and lizards as well as human beings were used to carry the village sins away from the community.

Either through sacrifice or banishment, the chosen victim carried the guilt and blame for the entire population. The perpetrator’s story is slightly different, however.

Historically Speaking

Historically what was chosen to carry the sins could be animal, vegetable or mineral.

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What This Man Did After Police Killed His Son Ten Years Ago

 

English: Pistol Glock 30 caliber 45 ACP, strip...

Michael Bell describes how his unarmed son was killed by a police officer, who was immediately excused from accountability. The excuse of excessive force may be familiar, the officer claimed the victim went for his gun. Bell later went on to campaign for outside reviews for unarmed police shootings in Wisconsin. This approach adopted across the board combined with ending the war on drugs, demilitarizing,  and personal cameras on all officers would be ideal.

Via Politico:

After police in Kenosha, Wis., shot my 21-year-old son to death outside his house ten years ago — and then immediately cleared themselves of all wrongdoing — an African-American man approached me and said: “If they can shoot a white boy like a dog, imagine what we’ve been going through.”

I could imagine it all too easily, just as the rest of the country has been seeing it all too clearly in the terrible images coming from Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown.

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Rethinking Privacy: Google Glass Harassment & The Coming Age of Sousveillance

PIC: Antonio Zugaldia (CC)

PIC: Antonio Zugaldia (CC)

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” – Dalai Lama

A woman was recently accosted at a bar in San Francisco for wearing Google Glass, and while I can sympathize to a certain degree with those disgruntled patrons who had not agreed to be recorded while out in public, I cannot help but wonder:  do these same individuals share a similar sense of outrage over the illegal monitoring and recording of all our digital data by the NSA? Many view Glass as a further intrusion of privacy, and as wearable/recordable tech becomes increasingly ubiquitous we are probably going to start seeing signs like these popping up in stores and restaurants all over the place.

This tech will force us to reconsider previously held notions of “public versus private” and that is not necessarily a bad thing, but another question worth asking might be: could this tech – when used responsibly – potentially help us to regain some sense of equilibrium and empowerment against the current surveillance state?… Read the rest

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Epictetus On How Perception And Accountability Can Render Freedom

Epictetus

Epictetus (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (PD)

How perception and accountability can render freedom.

The Stoic Epictetus famously believed that his mind was free even if his body was enslaved, and this was enough freedom for him.

The Stoic word for freedom, ἐλευθερία, emphasizes the freedom from external coercion that modern compatibilists argue is the only freedom in the idea of voluntary actions and “free will.”

But long before the Stoics, Aristotle had used “depends on us” (ἐφ’ ἡμῖν), to describe the kind of internal freedom Epictetus prized.

Epictetus knew that some actions in the world were external to his will and out of his control. Like all Stoics, he said we should not be bothered by anything out of our control. Our emotions should only respond to things that we can control, that depend on us, and these he called προαίρεσις.

For Epictetus, good and evil were exclusively involved in things under our control, not in external events.

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Houston Cops to Wear Body Cams

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 10.22.18 AMCop Block reports that some Houston cops will be waring body cameras. Step toward public accountability? Latest signs of an encroaching surveillance state?

Via Cop Block:

Over the past few weeks 100 Houston police employees have been given wearable body cameras. The head of their outfit – Charles McClelland – said that, “in trying to be accountable to the public, and being open and transparent, we’re very excited about this” and listed as benefits a lessening of citizen complaints, more convictions in court, better attitudes adjusted on both sides of the camera, and an officer safety enhancement as the video can be used for training purposes. But are body cams a step in the right direction or just the latest attempt to try to maintain authority?

As 90% of police interactions happen away from the area captured by dash cams, McClelland noted that that these body cams will make moot that need.

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