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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectwho's responsible?
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=23618
23618, who's responsible?
Posted by guest, Wed Jul-19-00 07:53 PM
In lieu of certain events in my life and in the media recently, I have been haunted by the notion of personal responsibility or liability. It just seems to me that no matter what goes on in the world or right next to us, we tend to blame anything that goes wrong on the next guy. It's like passing a moral buck, or at least something to that effect.
For example,
I work for a company that thrives on passing the buck. I'm a manager, and when something comes up that I'm not quite sure of, I ask. Now once I ask, that's it. I never get a response and then get chastised months later because I did something wrong. It seems ILLOGICal (sorry for the plug) So maybe it's an issue of common sense. Maybe a little of both.
On a grander level, I heard a story outta NY a few days ago. I don't know the specifics or how old it is, if any OKP does, let us know. Anyway this woman and her child were living with her boyfriend. Protective Services were called in, 'cause the boyfriend was beating on the kid. The mother may have been guilty as well. Anyway, to avoid jail time, they agreed to go to parenting/sensitivity classes. The night after this was agreed upon, the boyfriend beat the child to death. Now the mother and her family said it was NYC's fault and is suing the city for a ridiculous sum of money. Now answer me this. How is it the city's fault???? Not the parent's? the boyfriend's?
Also, in my home town, Philly, the recent news of the controversial arrest tactics......
Check the threads "City of Brotherly Love" and "Police Brutality Caught on Tape" for opions, reactions, and some specifics. Now some people, OKP's included, have stated that the police have a responsibiliy to being professional. I agree, but what about the accused? Does a person or suspected criminal have the right to just do what they want without fear of retribution? And if they are caught doing something, be able to criticize the next man, in this case the police, for doing what is EXPECTED.
Look, there are expectations and limitations set on us every day by ourselves and others. But it's beginning to seem to me, that we as a community, nation, world, don't really keep ourselves in check. We don't fear repercussions. It's as if we can manage to avoid the guilt and reactions because we can simply pass the buck.

Is anyone feeling me on this? If so, what do you think the problem is?
23619, RE: who's responsible?
Posted by guest, Thu Jul-20-00 03:05 AM
Now some >people, OKP's included, have stated
>that the police have a >responsibiliy to being professional. I >agree, but what about the
>accused? Does a person or >suspected criminal have the right >to just do what they >want without fear of retribution?

Of course people don't have the right to do what they want. That is precisely why the guy who was arrested and beat upon will now likely go to jail, regardless of whether he was beat after his arrest.

However, his actions do not serve to justify the beating he received. His "punishment" for resisting arrest, etc. is supposed to be jail time, not receiving kicks from a bunch of overagressive cops.


23620, Not to mention......
Posted by StirsDsoul, Thu Jul-20-00 03:47 AM
the fact that he WAS shot four times....
And why is it that they always use the excuse that "the suspect continued to resist arrest"?!?
Like, how many SUSPECTS are compliant with the adminstration of an ASSWHOOPN under the capable supervision of your friendly neighborhood officer/s????
23621, I agree, but...
Posted by guest, Thu Jul-20-00 07:52 PM
if the man threw his hands up, and just let them take him in, would the outcome be different? I certainly don't know. But if a perp is resisting arrest and endangering not only himself and the police, but the public as well, what are the police supposed to do?
Yes, I agree that the courts are in place to distribute "just" retributions not the police, but in a case similar to this, how is an Offi-C-er supposed to take the man without force? What are the alternatives to a situation like this? I mean come on, while they were trying to hand cuff him, he bit one of the police. He exasperated the situation as well. And that is what I'm talking about. He played a role in this too. It wasn't just the police this time and I think people lose sight of it because of the relationship the public has had with the department. So where is the middle ground?
23622, RE: I agree, but...
Posted by Re_Alief, Fri Jul-21-00 10:47 AM

He probably ran cuz he knew he was gonna get an ass whipping! As of right now...no gun has been found! HMMM, suspect!! They shoot an un-armed man 4 (F O U R) times and then say he resisted arrest?? SUSPECT!! A dozen officers surround him and kick/punch/beat the shit outta him for THAT long?? SUSPECT!! Pigs always use that bs line "the suspect was resisting arrest" whenever they're caught out there applying their brutality on people of color (and others as well!!)

Ré Alief ~~~> A.L.B.C.

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Email?: http://www.okayplayer.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=email_user&userid=Re_Alief
23623, Poor Joshua.
Posted by k_orr, Thu Jul-20-00 03:43 AM
Now the
>mother and her family said
>it was NYC's fault and
>is suing the city for
>a ridiculous sum of money.
>Now answer me this. How
>is it the city's fault????

The social worker/child protective services is "trained" to know whether or not she should return a child to a harmful situation. Because city/state employees handle this job on a regular basis, they should have developed some sense of "This doesn't look right". This assumes a perfectly run agency. And if it's not perfectly run, it's the city's fault.

Often times there aren't enough resources to really handle a case like this. Which is really the city's fault. Which in reality is society's fault, because we as a society set up the laws and the administration of the law.

k. orr

23624, RE: Poor Joshua.
Posted by guest, Thu Jul-20-00 08:05 PM
WRONG! See this is what I mean, who's fault is it? Regardless if this is an example of a case falling through the cracks, the city DID NOT KILL THE CHILD. How dare anybody say it's the city's fault the child died and try to sue, ESPECIALLY the mother. The mother played her part. If she really gave a damn about her baby, there's no reason that she would have stayed, under any circumstances. Sue the family, friends, neighbors! They are the ones that witnessed it on some levels.
Ya know, we are always saying we don't like being controlled and get pissed about the government having too much control over the masses.......
Then why do we want them to tell us how to raise our children? How to act? to discipline? to care?
Where does it all end? People are the problem. We just perpetuate things.
23625, RE: Poor Joshua.
Posted by k_orr, Fri Jul-21-00 10:33 AM
>WRONG! See this is what I
>mean, who's fault is it?

Maybe on the justice level you might be right. But legally, the city had a duty to protect its citizen, the child in this case, and it failed to meet its duty.

On the real, the mother should have died before letting her child come to any harm, but life isn't about justice and symmetry. That is why we have laws.

>Regardless if this is an
>example of a case falling
>through the cracks, the city

It was probably the social worker's responsibility.

>How dare anybody say it's
>the city's fault the child
>died and try to sue,
>ESPECIALLY the mother. The mother
>played her part. If she
>really gave a damn about
>her baby, there's no reason
>that she would have stayed,

She could have been physically abused also. She could have been terrified of her boyfriend. It happens.

>under any circumstances. Sue the
>family, friends, neighbors! They are
>the ones that witnessed it
>on some levels.

The only responsibility lies with people in charge of the child. Parents and Social workers. everyone else is legally outside of that nexus.

>Then why do we want them
>to tell us how to
>raise our children?

It is us telling us how to raise our children. The govt is of your doing.

>Where does it all end? People
>are the problem. We just
>perpetuate things.

So why not kill all the people, so we don't have this problem.

k. orr

23626, RE: Poor Joshua.
Posted by guest, Fri Jul-21-00 07:22 PM
>Maybe on the justice level you
>might be right. But
>legally, the city had a
>duty to protect its citizen,
>the child in this case,
>and it failed to meet
>its duty.

That's what we're talking about here, or at least I am. You can only really be judged by God. This and the fact that people do not take responsibility for their actions or lack there of.

>On the real, the mother should
>have died before letting her
>child come to any harm,
>but life isn't about justice
>and symmetry. That is
>why we have laws.

Absolutely! Those are terms are man made. We have laws as social constraints. Laws are not necessarily right. But in my eyes, the mother should have done something more than participating either by hitting(I'm not sure if that was the case) or by remaining silent.

>She could have been physically abused
>also. She could have
>been terrified of her boyfriend.
> It happens.

Yes it happens, but does that make it right?
Physical and mental abuse is a fucked up thing, but it is still no excuse to watch your own suffer.

>The govt is of your

The gov't is and has been out of the hands of the people for quite some time. Remember this was NEVER a democracy. A Republic, yes, but democracy, no.

> >Where does it all end? People
>>are the problem. We just
>>perpetuate things.
>So why not kill all the
>people, so we don't have
>this problem.

I'm looking for solutions here, not some ish.
Come correct or don't come at all. People and their mentalities have been constructed, morphed, destroyed, and rebuilt a countless number of times in our history. I am simply looking for some dialogue on the topic of 'personal responsibility' because I think if we can look at things differently than we have, things may begin to turn around. This is a positive discussion.
I hope to hear some more of your ideas though. The more peeps discuss this, well, I'm hoping that we can see the light of day.


23627, RE: who's responsible?
Posted by janey, Fri Jul-21-00 10:57 AM

Part of the problem stems from the nature of private conflict resolution in this country. Because we work within a system that allocates the responsibility/cost through an adversarial process (i.e., you sue someone to get them to accept their share of the responsibility of a problem), we have institutionalized the necessity of blaming others. I'll argue that it's all your fault; you'll argue that it's all my fault, and the jury listens to our arguments and apportions blame/cost according to who they believe. So no one is ever ever going to say, "Whoops, my bad!" when there's a possibility that (1) if they deny responsibility, someone else will pay them some money, and (2) if they accept any responsibility, they might be apportioned all of it.

It's really problematic, and the civil and criminal justice system as a whole is extremely problematic, but there are also benefits to an adversarial system. I can't decide whether or how it needs to be changed. The way it's set up, that is. There are some pretty obvious flaws in the way that the criminal justice system is in fact operated -- but unclear whether that's the fault of the structure or the fault of the administration of the system.


There's a link in many people's minds between police action and guilt. People seriously believe that if someone is arrested, it's more than likely that they did something wrong. Potential jurors get asked all the time whether this is their opinion because it's so prevalent.

It's important that we see each violation of any person's rights as being a threat to every person. I don't care whether a prisoner who is beaten by the police was or was not a mass f***ing murderer, every police beating threatens MY personal safety. If I stand back and say, "Oh, that guy they accused, and beat, and fabricated evidence about -- he's just a violent criminal, I don't care about his rights," then when the police come for me, accuse me, beat me and fabricate evidence about me, then that is exactly what everyone will be saying about me.

None of us wants this outcome. Don't ask yourself whether this treatment is appropriate for murderers. Ask yourself whether it is appropriate for the wrongly accused, the innocent. Because that's the test that matters. And if the answer is "No, we should not beat innocent people," then we have to do everything in our power to stop the beating of the worst criminal.

23628, RE: who's responsible?
Posted by guest, Fri Jul-21-00 06:59 PM
>I can't decide whether or
>how it needs to be
>changed. The way it's
>set up, that is.

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. This
is the question I'm essentially asking.
What are the resolutions? Not the symptoms.
How do we change it, not just the system
itself but our own viewpoint on this.

>Ask yourself whether it is
>appropriate for the wrongly accused,
>the innocent. Because that's the
>test that matters. And if
>the answer is "No, we
>should not beat innocent people,"
>then we have to do
>everything in our power to
>stop the beating of the
>worst criminal.

I agree, but in the event that there is a violent perpetrator, not suspected, but caught in the act(not talking about planted evidence, etc. 'cause that's just some other shit), how does the police department apprehend the suspect without using of excessive force?

I'm stuck on the fault line!

23629, RE: who's responsible?
Posted by janey, Mon Jul-24-00 04:32 AM
What to change? See, that's where I get stuck. In a society as large and as impersonal as ours, I don't know whether any system could be other than adversarial. If everyone knows each other and feels a personal stake in society as a whole, then you have the makings of a non-adversarial system. In times when jury trials took place in the context of a small community, jury members were considered to be better qualified if they knew the litigants. Now, if you've even heard any publicity you're disqualified. The real question should be whether your mind is sufficiently open to allow evidence that you were unaware of to impact you.

And recall that the civil litigation (torts) issue is allocation of responsibility for a harm done. I'm hurt, and I think it was your fault so I sue you. After hearing the evidence, the jury is supposed to say, "Well, janey, you understood the danger of sticking your fingers in the toaster when it was plugged in (or whatever), so your 50% responsible. But Toastermaker, you should have reminded janey with a warning label, so you're 50% responsible." It's not supposed to be all or nothing.

On the rights of the accused, I understand your dilemma, but I'm not saying not to use force if necessary. I'm saying ONLY use force IF necessary, and then only NECESSARY force.