• I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
o Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.
As has been belabored, for many years, I have had “issues” with Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s) and what I shall charitably refer to here as “Rednecks”. I intend no disrespect to either party. They know who they are…and will know the Truth, herein, in their Heart of Hearts, whether they admit it (even to themselves), or not.
I have written extensively about where the Cop-Problem began…and alluded to the Redneck Problem. Suffice to say that these have been a kind of Leit-Motif in the Arc of my Life. It became habit to look over my shoulder...to be Aware of my surroundings…after all the best radar detector is one’s eyes. I have never understood the reaction of these groups to my presence…unless “Vibes” are real…which would be kinda cool, I guess.
The recent viral story of the Mason Gun Instructor had an unusual effect on me, though. In the video of him attempting to justify his Bigotry, I saw FEAR. FEAR, in the Hunter S Thompson-sense. FEAR that undoes whatever Rational Faculties the Fear-er otherwise possesses.
This FEAR, in retrospect (20/20.etc), I have detected in the eyes of many LEO’s over the years…when they want to search my car(“do you have any explosives? “,”Are there any needles that I’m gonna stick myself with?” “Is your trunk booby-trapped?”(Really, I’m not making this up!))
…When they have stopped me on the street…or pulled me over for whatever imaginary infraction….hand on Gun…body language saying “Coiled, Ready for Action!”.
It’s ridiculous, really. I am, after all, a skinny(well, not really anymore, lol), Crippled Hippie-Dude. It takes effort to get in and out of the truck, these days.
A glaring example of this unwarranted behaviour was at my Sister In Law’s Citizenship Ceremony. The 300 mile drive, and the hour wait in line to get in, had their effect. I could hardly stand up…and ,looking at the steep stairs up to the remaining seats, I knew I couldn’t manage that. The designated “Handicap Seats” were all taken…and the big lot of empty seats, right in front of me were “Reserved” for folks who never showed up. I took one of these latter…and here comes a LEO. “You can’t sit there”.
Not wanting confrontation, I said OK…and he went away. I had no other option, so I just stood there, leaning heavily on my cane, and the wall…it was the Lesser Evil. Here comes 2 LEO’s.” You hafta sit down.” I explained the situation, my disability, etc. Rather than finding a suitable place for me…rather than evicting from the obviously marked “Handicapped” seats the couple of obviously Non-Handicapped teenagers I could see, right there….they, instead, threatened me with arrest. Soon, there were several more LEO’s, encircling this potential Threat(Me). Hands on guns, their other arms outstretched in that classic Cop Pose, as if to say,”Now Now, We don’t want to hurt you”. I elected to leave, and go sit in the car. Welcome to America, Sis.
I used to attribute this insanity to my insistence on Long Hair….perhaps to my general Unkemptness. But, at times, I have tested this Hypothesis…Cut my hair, shaved, even wore a tie on a few occasions. Nope, that ain’t it.
There is just Something about me that LEO’s perceive as a Threat.
Rednecks, the same. That culture, of course, has a long, proud history of “Kicking Hippie’s Asses”…and are not in the least ashamed of such ignorant displays of violence.
I have been chased, pummeled, threatened with Murder…even spat upon (which is quite Ironic, given the mythology of Dirty Hippies spitting on returning Troops).
The (very) few times when I could be said to have “asked for it”…my “offense” was answering, truthfully, a question. Foremost in my mind is the American Legion guy who asked what I thought of G.BushII. This was right before the ’04 election, and I answered that I thought he was a War Criminal, and should be brought to the Hague, post haste. This guy, and his companions, laughed…and I went back to work.(this was at the café owned by that Gun Instructor, above, btw). I drank beer while closing up, and when I went to leave, Mr American Legion comes from the shadows and throttles me, has me by the throat, against the wall. To his credit, Gun Instructor saved me….and I left….with bruises around my neck.
What do these few, and many, many more incidents have in common?
Not my actions…which are usually confined to resignation or escape, where possible.
The Commonality is in the overwrought, completely unwarranted actions of those to whom I pose no legitimate Threat.
I will probably always have the Wariness, and the visceral Fight or flight Reaction to these two classes of people. But I no longer Fear them.
I pity them.
I represent a Light, I think, shining onto their Secret Justifications, their Unquestioned Assumptions, from which they construct their comfortable worldview. I hold myself above, and not subject to, their unwritten rules of behaviour and appearance. I challenge, by my existence, their Unthinking World, and all of it’s bullshit Proscriptions, Irrational “Morality”, it’s unjustified Hierarchy and Authoritarian Privilege.
They have no recourse to my intolerable “NO”. No reasonable counterargument. No Answer to my , unintentional, Challenge.
So, as they’ve been taught, by 5000 years of Authoritarian Hierarchical Social Arrangements, they attempt (often, I think, without thought) to eradicate the offending Irritant(ME).
What it must be like, in their tiny minds, to live in FEAR…of everything.
Muslims, Brown People, Black People, Queers, Drag Queens, Tree Huggers, Liberals, Commies, Socialists, Democrats, Po Folks,…how long is the list?
One of my Rescuees, a beautiful Hippie-Chick in Oregon had a run in with TSA in an airport…and gave them Love, in return for their Suspicion and Fear. That is something to strive for, I think.
I will likely always be very Wary of these folks…it would be foolish to be otherwise…but I will attempt to channel Ghandi,and Shauna, in the future.
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