After eleven absolutely awesome days in magical Mexico, the return flight on (Mexican airline) Interjet did not disappoint, playing non-stop reruns of The Pink Panther cartoon. Overall a pleasant flight, the only unpleasant part of which was having to fill out the customs declaration. It’s becoming practically impossible to tolerate the kind of cognitive dissonance such demands invoke.
It wasn’t so much that I minded filling out the questionnaire, except for the part about providing an address, because I see it as dangerous to let a group of violent sociopaths know where you live. The part that really got to me though was signing the damn thing.
So I didn’t. I Couldn’t bring myself to do it.
This week I attended a special screening of the documentary film Peace Officer, a winner of numerous 2015 film festival awards.
Peace Officer is a feature documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of William “Dub” Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later. Driven by an obsessed sense of mission, Dub uses his own investigative skills to uncover the truth in this and other recent officer-involved shootings in his community while tackling larger questions about the changing face of peace officers nationwide.
The film was compelling, and while primarily centered on Dub Lawrence, who who will surely graduate life with honors (and appears to exude an amount of joy uncharacteristic of his circumstances, whether it be lowering himself by crane into a backed up sewer drain or recounting the 4-year long investigative odyssey into his son-in-law’s homicide), I felt there was also a near equal allotment of camera time given to the various other subjects of the film including those on either side as well as those sitting on the fence in regards to the topic of police militarization and accountability.
A friend and I were talking last night and he said something that cut to the very core of what I believe deeply but often fall short of being able to convey. The effect of what he said was so striking to me it was like having a diamond suddenly polished from a piece of coal before my eyes, revealing the essence of a single shining and translucent reality, or truth.
We live under a collective, where individual action and autonomy must be curtailed if it does not conform to the stated ideals and objectives of the group at large. What’s more, individuals are not free to live apart from the collective. You don’t have a choice.
The evidence, is that if you live within the bounds of a certain geographical region commonly known as a “Country”, then you can and will be physically forced and coerced into paying your “fair share” of the entire group’s operating expenses. Since the whole world is divided into countries, there is no use in saying “if you don’t like it leave”, as there is no where one can go that one would not be subject to the same collective force and coercion.