Compliance

Compliance has surfaced in the mainstream media, propelled there by authoritarian pundits promoting the notion that compliance is the key to innocent people avoiding getting killed by law enforcers. Then the cops shooting people sleeping in their beds led to a more objective consideration of what initially seemed like good advice.

From where I sit, the suggestion that because most of the victims of law enforcement aggression are brown or black or non-English speakers is not the evidence of hypocrisy, as is being charged. Rather, it is simply a consequence of looking for the cause of behavior in the victim, the done-to rather than the agent.

Moreover, the focus on the victim is not necessarily nefarious or even a consequence of the fact that action is much harder to see than results. Rather, it is the perception of an event as a binary process from which it is easy to dismiss one of the actors. That the action might be part of a larger (i.e. triangular) agenda has, so far, not penetrated social consciousness.

Victims and surviving relatives buy into the binary narrative and even into the focus on the victim, if only because the notion of collateral damage is repulsive, almost like adding insult to injury. And yet, that is my perception: that the culture of obedience requires exemplars to demonstrate the consequence of non-compliance and selects those exemplars wherever they expect the least resistance.

That, I would argue, accounts for the disaster at Uvalde where the gunman was accommodated for an hour because law enforcement perceived him to have achieved compliance in the classroom. The police perceived themselves on the same side as the shooter. Besides, school age children are the least resistant population. Which is why the culture of obedience tolerates children being sacrificed by the occasional hunter and Turning Point USA grooms teens just like the Hitler Youth in Germany.

There is something peculiar about the mainstream media referring to the rowdies as having been “radicalized” in that they are obviously not victims. But, like Trump, the insurrectionists perceive on a subconscious level that the compliance demanded by the culture of obedience is fundamentally unjust.

That Trump, albeit unknowingly, enmeshed himself in a web of restrictions and directives generates an empathetic response in his followers. Trump channels with his incessant whining a shared sense of being coerced. All sorts of people are enjoying his discomfort. It serves him right because, also unknowingly, he has unjustly coerced the country via his monetary excesses and lying. The money he is continuing to collect is insignificant, if not a token of disdain. More rope.