Archive for November, 2015

Katie   I want to kill Katie Brown!

I want to tape her mouth shut, just like she did to that poor dog. Then I want to tie her to the back of my car and drag her down the street until she’s dead, dead, dead! I will stand over her torn and mangled corpse then say, “This is what happens when you hurt animals. POINT MADE!”

Did I Mention I Enjoy a Good Parody?
I really don’t want to kill Katie Brown. In fact, I don’t have any strong feelings toward her in any way. I don’t support what she did, either, but I don’t think it’s a killing/beating offense. Too bad nearly half of America does! And so do many of my Facebook friends.

Let the Madness Begin!
Nearly half of my friends list are screaming for Katie Brown’s blood! A scroll through my news feed reads like a serial killer’s manifesto. Otherwise normal people have turned into raving lunatics possessed with a bloodlust. The venom, hatred, and animosity got so disturbing that I was inspired to post this on Facebook and Twitter:

I have empathy for every one of God’s creatures and I’ll murder, burn, and hide the bodies of any humans who would hurt an animal just to prove how compassionate I truly am!

Needless to say, some friends got it. They know I get more enjoyment from a subtle, nearly coded dig than an obvious rant. Others didn’t get it. In fact, some even made the offer to help me in my “attack” on Brown. I hope I let them down gently.

What Bothers Me Most About Militant Animal Lovers
Cases such as this illustrate a problem in society. Too many seemingly-normal people turn into violent psychopaths the moment an animal is hurt. In my experience, these people cannot muster a shred of empathy for other humans. Call me crazy, but nothing about a frothing maniac says “compassionate person.”

Here’s a good example of a militant animal lover: Last week, a Facebook friend waxed poetic about what a nice, good-hearted person they are. I know this person quite well and he or she is far from nice. This same individual is threatening to beat, maim, and/or kill Katie Brown. Is it possible to talk murder and mayhem while telling the world what a great person you are? That seems to be the case with aggressive people and militant animal lovers. They constantly issue verbal press releases about what a great person they are. It’s almost like they’re trying to convince themselves.

What I Hope Happens in the Katie Brown Case
This is a matter for the police to investigate and the courts to decide. Plain and simple. It’s not something that should be solved by vigilante justice carried out by a bunch of psychopaths who consider themselves good people. Because if we open the door to that, then we have vigilante beatings and killings going on over even the slightest insults. Do you really want that? I mean, maybe you pissed off someone a long, long time ago and they want to kill you for it. But you wouldn’t do anything like that, right? You’re a good person.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

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blackfridaySince it’s Black Friday, I’m seeing a lot of Black Friday posts, memes, and videos on Facebook. Most criticize the greed and rapaciousness so typical of this consumer holiday. I, too, feel disgust when people devolve to an animal-like level in pursuit of material things.

I also know why they do this, and it’s not as simple as just greed or materialism.

Introducing the “Zero-Sum Game”
Zero-sum game” is the name for ugly, Black Friday behavior. A basic definition is: “a situation, especially a competitive one, which there is no net gain among the participants.” Quite simply, it is the belief that if one participant acquires something, others have lost.

I believe the zero-sum game mentality goes back to our prehistoric ancestors. It was a time when food and resources were scarce and hard to come by. (It took a tribe to bring down one mastodon.) Thus, any resource gained by one tribe was seen as a loss by other, competing tribes. This made a “zero-sum game mentality” a survival instinct. It’s locked into our genetic memory and drives us on a primal level.

Why a Zero-Sum Game Mentality Looks Ugly on Black Friday
In first-world nations, there is no shortage of goods. This is why a brawl over the last coffeemaker seems ignorant and savage to many. Manufacturers produce near-infinite amounts of coffeemakers. Anyone can buy them at a store or online. Thus, there is no need for caveman-like behaviors typically seen Black Friday.

What Type of People Engage in Black Friday Behavior
In his book You are Not so Smart, author David McRaney shares a valid observation: “Poor people compete with resources. The middle class competes with selection. The wealthy competes with possessions.” This applies to the zero-sum game mentality observed on Black Friday.

So I guess I blame poor people for the madness that is Black Friday sales. Only people with very limited resources – i.e., money – would fight in the aisles with others in similar situations. They perceive the Black Friday deals as the best way to make the most of their limited resources.

So why wouldn’t the middle class get into a Black Friday brawl? Like McRaney said, they compete by selection, aka taste. Most middle class people wouldn’t be caught dead at a Black Friday sale. They are more like to spend money on a Keurig and brag about what amazing coffee it makes. (And how it’s not “too mainstream.”)

Would wealthy people go to a Black Friday sale at a big-box retailer? Not on your life! They are most likely to buy a restaurant-grade cappuccino machine and hire a barista to serve them. That’s how you compete with possessions – only the most lavish and expensive possessions are worth talking about at the country club.

The Ugliest Example of a Zero-Sum Game Mentality
If a cage-fight in the housewares aisle is ugly, keep in mind that it only happens once a year. People who play a zero-sum game for intangible things are horrible human beings all year long! These are people who consider things that can’t be measured – status, popularity, etc. – as a limited resource. If these people see someone gaining these “resources,” they will criticize, slander, and belittle that person to gain their “share.”

Random example: Picture a bunch of guys are hanging out, playing basketball. One of them starts cutting up, telling jokes, and making the other guys laugh. This angers the one guy with a zero-sum game mentality. He ruthlessly criticizes and embarrasses the person… and he makes sure that he does so in front of all the other guys. In this person’s very small mind, he’s taken the resource – popularity, status, attention – from the guy who had it moments ago.

There’s a huge problem with this approach. Apart from being an asshole – and not a true friend – the guy with the zero-sum game mentality cheats himself. Things such as status and popularity are intangible – they cannot be measured, calculated, or weighed. They are ideas and as such, they are limitless. The asshole on the basketball court could’ve achieved the same status without having to humiliate the other person. Sadly, people like this will never get it.

Zero-Sum Game is Here to Stay… Unfortunately
This mentality  isn’t going away any time soon. Sadly, this mad scramble for (perceived) limited resources continues to be successful for so many. Thus, it is hard for us to rid ourselves of a behavior that continues to provide rewards. Because acting like this is so hideous, we rational, modern-day humans must fight to overcome this mentality.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

 

Some people believe that they are the highest law in the land. They do not recognize any authority above themselves. This societal problem is contributing to many alleged cases of police brutality.

Before I go any further, you need to see an example of what I’m talking about. Check out this video. It provides a unique glimpse of two individuals who believe that they are bigger than the law. Enjoy:

That Lady was an Idiot to Challenge the Judge
Anyone with a shred of common sense understands the power wielded by a judge. What’s more, they respect it. That’s because they understand that no good can come from challenging a judge’s authority.

We entrust judges and police to administer the laws that govern us. These laws exist to help discourage us from acting upon our base desires. This helps maintain a civil society. Those who choose to violate these laws must answer for their crimes before those who enforce it.

Fairly simple, right?

Not to people who live by another set of rules called “street law.” Based upon outward appearances, it operates quite different than  traditional law. Street law is law in any place where generational poverty is the norm. This means the hills and hollers of Appalachia to the city streets of urban America. Prison culture is the most extreme example, and it’s seen in schoolyards, too.

What “Street Law” Looks Like
You don’t have to look too hard to find video evidence of people who believe in “street law.” It’s abundant in many alleged cases of police brutality caught on tape. You also can find it on WorldStarHipHop.com and several similar video-sharing sites. View enough of these videos and you’ll likely pick out the following traits:

1. A grandiose sense of self that comes complete with a list of things no one can say or do to them. (“No one calls me a bitch, cunt, pussy, racial slur, etc.”)

2. The absolute refusal to recognize any authority above them, including police, prosecutors, judges, etc.

3. Using violence as the only resort against perceived threats to their grandiose self image. (“Motherfucker was lookin’ at me,” etc.)

4. A stubborn refusal to allow someone else to have the last word in discussion/arguments.

5. A deep distrust of police and courts to the point where they refuse to cooperate with them at all costs. (“No snitching,” “snitches get stitches,” etc.)

6. The unrealistic belief that “street law” is the only law they must answer to.

7. The inability to comprehend that their behavior leads to legal problems and/or injuries.

8. Blaming other people for the above behavior, particularly their decision to engage in violence. (“People makin’ me act the fool;” “People make me act out of character;” “Why did he/she have to make me go there?” “I told that fool I would go off,” etc.)

9. Transitioning from aggressor to “victim” when their actions meet someone using superior force.

“Street Law” has no Place in a Court of Law
Let’s circle back to the couple in the above video. They refused to recognize the judge’s authority. They also refused to accept the authority of the bailiff. They also attempted to settle this dispute with shouting and physical resistance. This approach might work where they’re from, but it was a recipe for disaster outside that bubble. (Yes, even “the streets” can be a bubble.)

Which Reminds me of Something I’ve Said
While you might think the above video inspired this post, it did not. Regular readers of Trauma Central know I get material from Facebook. Most discussions of “police brutality” on Facebook ignore the points I’ve made. It’s inspired me to post this:

“Excellent news, people! I’ve just been informed that no matter what you do, cops can’t arrest you if you don’t want them to. Just a few punches and/or shoves from you and they’re legally bound to back off and let you go on your way. They can’t take you into custody if your friends are shouting, “This is bullshit!” and “Fuck the police!” You can trust this. It’s from my Facebook legal team.”

My facetiousness is intentional. It underscores the foolishness of applying street law where it doesn’t belong. To the contrary, there are those who think that legal  laws will protect them no matter where they are. (That’s the subject of another blog.) Anyone who can switch between the two as situations dictate are the most deadly people alive.

People Who Live by Street Law Should Love the Police
Yes, you read that right. And I’m not being sarcastic, either. Think about it this way: Each year, many average Americans are beaten, stabbed, robbed, raped, and/or killed by those answering only to street law. Stray bullets also claim plenty of innocent lives.

What keeps everyday Americans from attacking criminals? The fear of legal retribution from police, prosecutors, and judges. Laws protect criminals from vigilante justice. Without the legal system, this country would become The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy.

Expect More Posts about Street Law in the Future
As long as people continue thinking they can shout down and out-fight the police, I’m going to blog about it. Consider this the first of many such entries. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and observations in the comment section.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.