Some initial thoughts on the Snowden case. I think that the appropriate domain for the situation to be heard is within the intelligence community. There has to be some provision within the community for moving people around who may feel that some situation has not been appropriately addressed within their subset of the community. One wants to balance the need for global security with the individual need not to be persecuted.
I had come up with a few imaginative scenarios that might have worked for him, and even gotten him back to the States, forgiven, and reconciled with his family. I’m sure that others can do as much.
It strikes me that the fight over surveillance has parallels to the nuclear problem. If one power isn’t doing it, then another power might be doing it. It would be interesting to analyze this abstraction and compare the two contexts. As in, what are the options? On the one hand, my initial approach was to protect a kind of elite class of people. The transparency argument seems to me to give too many people control over one’s intimate and therefore actual life.
In some ways, this might relate to the Zimmerman trial. One apparently has an armed adult confronting (perhaps purposefully and politically, or perhaps politically in an entrapped manner) an unarmed youth, and the youth apparently losing his life in the encounter. I don’t think the issue of trace amounts of marijuana had any relevance to the young man’s interaction that evening – except to the extent that the prior use might have occasioned a certain kind of profiling, and possibly could have been interpreted as a youth bringing drugs into a community with this profile.
Should he have been profiled? The father had moved him 225 miles out of his original community and into a gated community after and during his suspension for a marijuana pipe possession on school grounds. In many families, the kid would not have been let out of the house. In yet others, these kids end up as refugees because situations become so strict. One never wants to blame the parents when they have lost the most precious thing that mattered to them. One doesn’t want to second guess their judgment. One yet struggles to understand how a young life was lost, and what might have been done differently, to save it. Most moms probably differ from most pops on this question. After all, they go through labor.
The incident in my current (and maybe erroneous) thought might be militant nonviolence, or militant surveillance. And here is where the relationship to earlier questions comes into play. It is quite possible that a certain level of surveillance produces a feeling of invasion which might produce a “psychotic” reaction. The same way that a police officer might feel invaded when an unknown comes into his/her beat (whether justifiable or not), an individual may feel invaded when their privacy has been compromised. Adolescents struggle, and they also need some privacy to sort things out.
One must be careful in the analysis to understand the position of a youth confrontation with authority. One questions the often commonplace practice of “on-site” profiling of unknown people’s reaction to authority. It’s often a “police” declaration of territory, animalistic in a way, like one dog barking and rushing another dog that he doesn’t know. Martin was outside of “his” territory, that where he is known, maybe negatively profiled, maybe unknown. Should he have been subject to this? Did he need structure and exposure to community authority to not fall away from school? In a way, it is his right to drop out if he wants to. But he’s still a kid, and if one is going to play the youth card, be prepared to address questions about where authority is.
So, now, I have done to Trayvon, what the court is trying not to do. I have taken information that should have been private in a young boy’s life, and analyzed it in the context of “justice” and “making the world and the child safer”. I think that society owed Trayvon another chance to make things right, and arguably even the option of getting into a bar fight in his adolescence, and experiencing consequences short of death from this, as he explored his limits. His dad (and mom) were trying to give him that chance.
There is indeed some question over the lack of bruises on the youth’s body if there were a physical confrontation – there should have been bruise marks from attempts to hold him before a gun got used. Also, there is no account of Zimmerman’s blood on the “sidewalk” which I could not find in any crime scene display of the body. One has sympathy for the youth, but there also seems to be a lack of what should have been some respect for the authority of the older person. It would also seem to me that Trayvon would have had the option of calling his father (who was close by) in the situation as a means of resolving the conflict. Who ended his last known phone call?
I guess there is some part of me that wonders if we are not all being profiled by our reaction to this event.
I just don’t understand how things escalated to the point where someone lost their life.