While most of us are not binary thinkers, we do imagine/expect that our relationships are bilateral. People do unto others as they want to be done to. I suppose that is basic to reciprocating individuals. Self-centered individuals do not behave that way. They impute their own actions to others and then, in effect, respond to themselves. The result is an entirely fictional existence. That is bad enough, but there is another group whose behavioral relationships are effectively triangular. Their behavior towards one person is designed to affect the behavior of a third party. It is the mode of the kidnapper and the terrorist and the culture of obedience. The entities acted upon are innocent victims; have to be innocent and unsuspecting (children, nuns, modest minorities) for the very practical reason that they are both unprepared for an assault and least likely to retaliate. From which we can deduce, almost certainly, that triangulators/instigators are first and foremost cowards. None of this is any help or comfort to the innocent victims. But, it does account for why we have so many innocent people languishing on death row. The culture of obedience requires exemplars with which to impress on witnesses that they had better do what they are told, if they do not want to suffer the same fate. The culture of obedience depends on compliance. Even though, or because, obedience is a virtue, the culture of obedience is coercive. Voluntary obedience does not count and is not appreciated because it lacks the power which the authoritarian is after. It all seems very complicated, but when you consider other virtuous behaviors, such as reproduction and ingestion and perambulation, it is not difficult to see that the addition of force is what transforms a virtue into a vice. Some people suggest that the military has influenced the agents of law enforcement, but I would argue that coercion is endemic to a population that is incompetent and fearful and resorts to exploitation and aggression as a default. And when authority stands silent in the face of abuse, then abusers tend to escalate out of habit to murder. This is not a consolation to the abused, but I do think that, if consider abuse a more serious infraction and impose restraints, then escallation can be minimized. It is because abuse is not recognized as a serious violation of rights that we are constantly having to identify special categories (child, elder, handicapped, spousal, etc) to indicate that it is. I used to ask, “if animals have rights, can humans be far behind?” but the answer, it seems, is “yes.” Property rights still trump human rights. Indeed, in the law, minors have no rights since they are still the property of their parents. ‘Tis an echo of slavery we are still contending with.