Archive December 2011
A prediction for
It is claimed the Mayans
left behind a prophecy that the world is doomed to end in 2012. But, like many
prophecies, hundreds if not thousands of years separate the prophet from his
prediction. When the prophet is long dead, we shrug it off when the event
doesn’t come to pass.
Most of us are surrounded
by prophets of one sort, predicting stock markets, the collapse of the euro,
that you will meet that bright, attractive, hot counterpart if you show up at
high noon at Little Harry’s Bar and sit on the third seat from the door. What
prophets have in common is that they claim to have a direct mystical pipeline to
the future. In other words, it ain’t science.
I had a look at my
horoscope in the Bangkok Post for Wednesday, 4 January 2012, and was
told, “Indulge in industriousness. Put the finishing touches on projects, but
don’t initiate anything new. A small delay with a check or a contract could
cause worry, but everything will turn out fine.”
A long-time journalist
friend once told me that, when he worked for one of the wires, he was given the
task of writing the horoscopes. He made them up. He gave his sign all kinds of
positive, upbeat and uplifting predictions, while handing out dire predictions
of life in the gutter, neck and shoulder pus-filled boils and inoperative
hernias under the zodiac signs of his enemies.
Religious texts, including
riddled with stories of prophets who predicted all matter of things. Believers
take those predictions to heart, particularly the ones about the afterlife.
Prophets prove that you can’t have even a half-baked religion unless you have a
good recipe that blends supernatural, superstition, and woo-woo in
The problem starts when a
prophet starts spouting off predictions about specific events to specific public
structures. He then has crossed an invisible line, at least, it seems, in
Thailand where there is a high ratio of fortunetellers to population. A partial
list of clients would include office workers, politicians, military, police,
housewives, husbands, boyfriends, maids, CEOs, tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, school
teachers and street vendors. Some Thai fortunetellers have legendary
Recently, in Tak province,
a 73-year-old fortuneteller got himself in hot water over a failed prediction
about a dam bursting. Thongbai Khamsi predicted that a large provincial dam in
Tak would crumple on New Year’s Eve. After dawn arose on New Year’s Day in Tak,
it didn’t take long for the locals to figure out that the dam, despite
Thongbai’s prophecy, was still working just like a dam should, by holding back
the water and generating electricity.
That apparently upset some
of the local authorities. A number of people complained that they had sold their
land at fire sale prices to get what they could before the dam burst. And even
more damaging, tourism to Tak dropped by ninety percent. leaving a
400-million-baht hole in the local economy. If you made a bad real estate
decision and your tourist numbers are down, all of this bad luck has to be laid
off on someone. Why not Thongbai, the false prophet? The authorities, seeing
which way the local wind was blowing, decided that Tongbai got the nomination as
a false prophet, the man who had caused substantial public damage.
It would be unfair to say
this kind of magical thinking followed by an angry populace howling for blood
only happens in Thailand. Deuteronomy 13:1–5 counsels: “Prophets and
dreamers are to be executed if they say or dream the wrong things.” I’ve never
heard of anything comparable said in Buddhism. In this case, it seems the Thai
local authorities are acting quite Christian-like in their zeal.
Tongbai has his own
explanation of how he came about this prophecy. It came from his son, Pla Bu,
before his son died. That son had quite a track record in the prophecy game,
having predicted his own death 15 days before he died, along with having
predicted both 9.11 before it happened in 2001 and the tsunami prior to 26
December 2004. He was channeling a dead son and that could be part of the
problem. It is better to stick with talking to God. Like Pat
who says God has already told him who the next President of the United States
will be. If it all goes wrong, the come back is: “God is testing our
There is a hint that the
charges by the authorities resulted as much from a loss of face as anything.
They held a big New Year Countdown Party at the dam.
There is no word on
whether Tongbai has predicted whether he will be convicted, and, if convicted,
sent to the big house to serve time with murderers, rapists, arsonist, and armed
robbers. He might teach a course in astrology to inmates or tell the guards’ and
warden’s fortunes in order to get time off for good behavior. Just a piece of
advice: he should avoid predictions about the durability of prison walls and
stay on the more vague, abstract side, following the example of the newspaper
Alternatively. he might
switch to doomsday predictions because there is far less risk as long as
sufficiently projected in the future, and, as predictions go, these ones
are much more fun. No one ever thinks of charging a doomsday prophet with a
crime. Perhaps what makes their false prophesies more acceptable to authorities
is, unlike the dam, if the whole world is going to disappear, then there’s no
possible buyer for all of that real estate anyway and what’s the point of going
on holiday? No one really loses, and when the all-clear signal is given to
celebrate and everyone who was terrified can turn around and laugh at what a
fool the prophet was, he, if history is any guide, simply kicks the ball into
the future again.
What worries authorities
and has them reaching for the handcuffs are dire predictions of doom that cause
large public panic. In 1669, a group of Russians, called “The Old Believers” convinced themselves the world
would end that year. Rather than hanging around to see if that happened, about
twenty thousand of these believers set themselves on fire to protect themselves
against the Antichrist. I’ve not found a record of any prophet taking the rap
for that failed prophesy. He might have gone up in smoke.
I have a few prophecies of
my own to make in this first essay of the year. In the short term, the charges
against Tongbai (who has yet to turn himself in to the police) will chill the
prophecy business in Thailand well into February 2012; afterwards, it will be
totally forgotten to ever have happened. If using criminal law is found
effective against this false prophet, I predict it will be vastly expanded to
round up many more of this ilk. In that case, I recommend you buy into companies
that maintain a connection to the jail-building business in Thailand, as these
companies will enter boom times. Look for promotion of government officials who
meet their quotas in identifying and exposing gurus, prophets, seers,
fortunetellers, and pundits. The era of hunting terrorists has run its
As we enter the new dawn
of finding, charging, trying and punishing the false prophets, all of us can
take pride is working together to weed them out before their false prediction
overrun the garden of our common humanity (and makes us sell our houses at
Let this be the year of
visiting Thailand, where no bad prophet goes unpunished. And to be on the safe
side, leave your predictions about the future at home.
|Gun Homicides and the Honor Culture
In Asia, the idea of face is not unlike the concept in the West of dignity or respect or honor. Add guns to the torque of argument, honor and liquor and the probability of shots fired rise dramatically. Pinker concludes in The Better Angels of our Nature, page 99, that: “The essence of a culture of honor is that it does not sanction predatory or instrumental violence, but only retaliation after an insult or other mistreatment.” The issue of fitting the culture of guns with the culture of honor raises a number of issues, such as how available guns should be, the kind of weapons that should be allowed in civilian hands, and the role of the government in regulating guns in places where an insult to honor is avenged with violence.
In Thailand, on 27th December, a policeman in the southern province of Phatthalung pulled his gun and killed six other police officers. The gunman and his fellow officers had been engaged in a drinking session in the border patrol police camp canteen. Someone must have said something that didn’t go down well. The gunman then walked 200 meters outside the canteen and turned his assault rifle on himself. The investigators’ theory is that a ‘personal conflict’ led to the shootings. That is a Thai code phrase for an insult to honor.
Police are trained (in theory) in the psychology of diffusing personal conflicts, and convincing someone with a gun to drop it. Using lethal force is restricted in Thailand, as in most places.
The point is that Thai cops are products of their culture, and a face culture is an honor culture. Is this true for other cops around the world? Their attitude toward guns, threats, violence, insults and honor differ according to tradition, history and attitude. When the cork flies out of the bottle in an honor culture, it is best the man this happens to does not have a weapon. When cops are involved in an insult to honor, supposedly their training kicks in and they exercise more self-control. That training has its limits. Cops inside an honor culture have same human emotions that flare up during drinking sessions. An insult, a slight, a roll of the eyes may be all that is needed to trigger the lethal response. Without guns having been present, it is highly doubtful anyone in that canteen would have died.
No one suggests after such a massacre that the police should be disarmed. Notably, in England most of the police are not armed, and the murder rate is significantly lower than places like Thailand where the police are armed. Yet, a fairly significant number of the population there also carry guns.
More difficult is the private citizen in an honor culture who is allowed by law to carry a handgun. The Americans are undergoing a debate about expanding the right to carry concealed weapons, and to allow someone with a gun permit to carry that weapon anywhere in the United States. More than 3.5 million Americans in 40 States have permits to carry concealed firearms. Keep in mind there are approximately 100 million guns owned by Americans. Remember that on your next visit to the States only a small percentage of them have anywhere near the experience of my fellow blogger Jim Thompson with a handling guns. The overwhelming number of gun owners are like pilots who’ve logged a couple of hours in a small plane seated next to an experienced instructor and think that experience makes them Ace fighter pilots.
Some states have more lax gun permit regulations and even more lax rules to revoke a permit if the gun owner has committed a crime. The New York Times reports about a cyclist in Asheville, North Carolina, who had an argument with a motorist. Words were exchanged and Diez, the gun holder, pulled his licensed handgun and shot at the cyclist. The bullet slammed through the cyclist’s helmet. Diez later pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Pinker also notes the Southern United States has had a long tradition of an honor culture and self-help justice.
The proponents who argue for expanding the right for civilians to arm themselves with concealed weapons say it will allow the ordinary law-abiding citizen to protect herself or himself. The idea is that the bad guys are armed and the innocent are not; that, if the bad guys had knowledge that the innocent person might have a concealed weapon, they’d think twice about committing a crime against them. Also, they point out, an armed citizenry is the first line of defense against tyranny in government.
That is the deterrence argument that propels many to support legislation authorizing widespread gun ownership. There are a couple of problems with defending this position.
First, America is one of the few places where there is no historical consensus that the monopoly of violent force should be exclusively reserved to officers of the state. Unlike Europeans, the United States never succeeded in disarming its citizens before the citizens took over the government. Most of other countries in the West (they are democracies, too) do not sanction widespread gun ownership among the civilian population. They have a different history and tradition of gun ownership. And, in European countries, fewer people die of gunshot wounds than in America.
Second, it conflates democracy with gun ownership; that armed citizens are the best defense against a State turning rogue against its citizens. Americans have a culture of distrust of government that is closer to the attitudes found in Third World countries run by dictators. The reality is that guns are artifacts from the analog past. Modern governments have multiple digital tools to oppress and repress their citizens and these weapons of intimidation are more widespread and potent than guns. CCTV cameras, predators (soon to appear in your neighborhood), data mining your email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, acquiring your health, financial and education records. A population armed with handguns is no match for the arsenal that the world of 1984 brings.
Third, the idea of “protection” against the bad guys is always one that has everyone nodding their heads in agreement. However, the statistics show that the self-defense theory is not a solid argument, especially in an honor culture. The reality is that human beings are emotional creatures who are quick to anger. Alcohol and drugs makes them unstable. Diez, the fireman from North Carolina who almost killed the cyclist, is not uncommon. The cyclist wasn’t a bad guy. He didn’t threaten Diez. He had an argument. Diez felt insulted, his ego was bruised and he tried to kill a man over “honor.”
I’d be willing to bet that if you graphed the percentage of people who have used a handgun to protect themselves against a criminal (the self-defense claim), it would be a much smaller percentage than the percentage of people who used a gun because they felt a slight to their honor. By increasing gun ownership, I would anticipate a rise in the number of homicides where the underlying motive was to avenge the loss of face, the slur, personal argument, or the insult. People kill each other over honor. Give them licenses to carry handguns and Diez-type cases will increase. Diez lacked self-control in this situation. This is not abnormal. Expand gun ownership and that will be a good test of exactly how normal the Diez case will prove to be.
Thailand has more than double the United States’ annual death by firearms rate.
Anyone who has looked at the debate on gun ownership understands that statistics are often unreliable, and are often used inappropriately, such as failing to compare like with like conditions, traditions, histories and omitting crucial variables that make for complexity. Scholars have cautioned against concluding that widespread gun ownership causes higher murder rates. Russia, for example, has stringent gun control laws yet, between 1998 and 2004, its gun-related murder rate was four times that of the United States. Could an entrenched honor culture in Russia offer insight into the higher murder rate by firearms? The same scholars insist there is no correlation between the strength of gun laws, availability of guns and the homicide rate. Let’s admit that evidence of such correlation isn’t available. What is left unaddressed is the role of the honor culture.
Another killing in Thailand this week bears an emotionally twisted thread that links it to the Diez type of case. An arrest warrant was issued for a member of parliament, Khanchit Thapsuwan, who allegedly followed a rival politician into the toilet of a petrol station and shot him in the head eight times. He left ten .40 caliber casings scattered on the floor of the restroom where the shooting took place. There also were witnesses. Given this is Thailand, the police issued a statement, “If we knew his hideout, we would arrest him without heeding his social status.”
In Thailand the gunman’s social status is a significant factor that in some cases trumps the evidence of murder. But, in Khanchit’s case, with the social status of shooter and victim being approximately equal, the gunman is in deep trouble. What is the theory of why Khanchit shot the victim? They were political rivals and according to the Bangkok Post, “Whenever the two met, they were often heard making sarcastic remarks against each other.”
Two days after the killing, MP Khanchit showed up for a session in the Thai Parliament. A decision has yet to be made on the question of whether parliamentary immunity will be waived.
The final consideration in the argument to expand gun ownership is the costs. Gunshot victims place a significant burden on the health care resources of a country. One scholar, Phillip J. Cook, estimated that gun violence costs Americans alone $100 billion annually.” That would fund a lot of schools, clinics, bridges, roads and student loan programs. With that kind of money, a decent health care system could be universally available to all citizens.
Honor. Face. Dignity. Governments would do well to closely study the correlation of these cultural factors and how they factor into gun-related homicides before they go about authorizing the carrying of guns in the larger civilian population. Dismantling the culture of honor might, in the long run, be the best way to reduce gun-related murder rates. But that approach wouldn’t sell to voters. Arming voters does sell for those standing for election. Politics is a clash over “honor” and sometimes, as with the aforementioned recent murder in Thailand allegedly by an MP, the end result is the delivery of eight rounds to the head.
|The List of The Top Ten Wanted Criminals
THERE may have never been
one list. We don’t have to enter that debate. We can start by acknowledging that
we live in an age of list of junkies. We are all guilty; we are all addicted.
Top ten lists are catchy, fun and most of all require a short attention span.
They are like intellectual popcorn. David Letterman made his reputation by
reading clever Top Ten Lists written by his staff writers. And I also love
reading and writing a good mystery. What better mystery than tracking the
whereabouts of fugitives on the run from the law? In reality most of those on
the most wanted list are more elusive than the Higgs Boson.
Think of the Modern Top
Ten Criminal lists as the way law enforcement officials try to build the
equivalent of the particle collider. Most of the data is inclusive. The main
difference is the criminals exist in reality and are simply very hard to find,
and the jury is out whether Higgs Boson is non-existent or just hard to
The idea of Top Ten
Criminals has been around longer than crime fiction. In the case of criminal
justice systems, the entertainment value of announcing Top Ten Most Wanted Lists
has caught the attention of law enforcement agencies in most countries. The
media love lists. Newspapers, blogs, TV news all love list with pictures. These
list which used to be taped to post office walls has gone digital. We now spend
most of our lives in front of one sort of screen or another looking at
photographs. The digital world is tailor-made from the list of bad guys. We can
visualize the criminal but nothing satisfied as much as seeing an actual
picture. Law enforcement officials no longer need to describe what the criminal
fugitives on the run look like. Show their pictures on the Internet. Let the
public study their features and image the evil lurking inside that caused them
to turn to a life of crime. Let the public become the private eye who can nail a
bad guy and collect a million dollar bounty.
But there is a slight
problem with digital volunteer bounty hunters. Our resources as individuals are
completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of top ten criminal lists. Every
city, county, province, and country has a top ten list of most wanted criminals.
If that isn’t enough, within each of these political divisions are cops who are
further divided into a multitude of separate but overlapping turfs. There is a
Wanted in the World List.
If you are a crime writer
wondering who would make a good villain for your next novel, you might want to
scroll through the latest list of international gangsters, gunrunners,
revolutionaries and cartel kingpins of the lam from justice; go straight to the
Top Ten Criminals on the Planet
How about the Top Ten
Most Wanted Fugitives List? City of Vancouver has a list. The
FBI has perhaps the most famous of Top Ten lists going back to 1950. The FBI has
refined its lists by categories. So if you want to know the Top Ten
Most Wanted White Collar Criminals, they have a list. Interpol has a list. Is there any
political subdivision on the planet without a list? If you could speed read 24
hours a day it would take 572 years to go through the images returned by Google
for each of these lists.
Here’s a little game to
play on Christmas Day after eating all of that turkey. Gather the family around
with their electronic devices. Ask them to Google “Thailand’s ten most wanted
criminals.” Then ask them to click on ‘images’ and the number that comes up is
53,900,000. Given them ten minutes to assemble their top ten images. Compare
selections. An extra helping of pumpkin pie to the winner.
The Thai population is 65
million puts in perspective the 53 million faces that the Thai Top Ten criminal
list returns in Google images. Such a high return of famous criminals to ratio
of population might qualify as the most egalitarian feature of Thai society. Of
course, the Google image search return has thoughtfully included: a human-like
gnarl in a tree, Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Dick Cheney, Sandra Bullock and Steve
Jobs—a fairly wide number of individuals, some of whom are dead, have been
selected as candidates for the top ten of criminals on the run in the Land of
Smiles. There are several problems. First, there are too many foreigners.
Second, the law enforcement agencies will use this issue to vastly increase
their budget request for 2012/2013. Third, co-operation between international
law enforcement agencies will likely collapse as too many influential
politicians are on the Thai image list. And there are doubts whether those
names—such as mentioned above—are all criminals.
Perhaps this explains the
difficulty of making a Top Ten List of Criminals in the digital age. AI
development being in the relative infancy means that algorithms pick up a huge
number of false positives when assembling images. We can have more
sympathy for law enforcement officials on the ground. Finding a needle in a
haystack is easier than shifting through millions of these images. Institutional
caution and careerism means that no one whose image comes up from such a search
can be excluded as a possibility. There must be someone who will take
responsibility for deleting one of the images. And if he or she is wrong—say,
indeed Dick Cheney proved to be on the Top Ten List of Criminals in Thailand,
they could be shuttled off to a desk in North Dakota to catch rabbit
As you contemplate 2012,
remember the Maya Legend about how the earth would end in 2012 might actually
have been a warning that by 2012 our ability to discern reality from fiction may
have collapsed under the weight of just far too many distractions, images, and
associations. The evidence of brain shutdown explains a lot of what we are
reading in news reports. Soon everyone’s picture will appear on a top-ten wanted
list somewhere. I expect that in the far future, there will be final news
report will profile this vast gulag, and featuring the last free person on the
planet. Heads will roll as someone, somewhere will have to take responsibility
for this oversight, to explain how this person fell between the cracks, was
excluded and left out of some list. There will be hell to pay.
|Proportionality and Crime Suppression
Punishment is the term
often used by lawyers, judges, prosecutors and the police to describe a sentence
ordered by the State on someone found guilty of committing a crime. The idea of
proportionality is that the amount of punishment inflicted should be measured
against the damage or injury caused by the wrongdoer. The gravity of the
punishment should fit the gravity of the crime. We don’t sanction the death
penalty for shoplifters even such a penalty might have the support of retailers,
shopping mall owners, Walmart and the rest. Even though it might indeed be an
effective deterrent to shoplifting, no Western country would enact such a
We shouldn’t think that
modern sensibilities and normative values have always defined what punishment is
proportional to a crime. Our ancestors had much more capacity for the State
spilling the blood of its citizens. For long periods of history, a high level of
State violence was normal.
In 18th century
England there were 220 ‘crimes’ for which the convicted felon was hanged.
Robbery, burglary as well as murder invited the hangman’s rope. Britain
no longer has a death penalty. From the gradual dwindling of capital crimes from
220 to zero is a political and social development that indicates the majority of
the population accepts the idea that capital punishment is disproportionate to
any crime. Ninety-five countries have abolished capital punishment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_country
In places like China,
North Korean, Yemen, Iran and the United States capital punishment remains a
penalty imposed by the State against its citizens convicted of certain
BBC carried a
story from Saudi Arabia of the beheading of a ‘witch’. Fortunetellers and faith healers
once risked the death penalty in the West. In Europe and elsewhere, heretics and
blasphemers were burnt at the stake, nailed to crosses, torn apart on wheels,
drown and no one—at least no one who had any real voice—thought these methods
were cruel or unusual. Capital punishment often came after the person was
tortured. We shudder when thinking about such public demonstration of cruelty.
But we’d be wrong to think that human nature has largely overcome its capacity
to inflict horrific violence if the stakes are deemed high enough.
What you need to have done
to be burnt at the stake is one issue, the other is burning people at the stake
for any crime. What we find is that how a State carries out capital punishment
also has changed over time. The electric chair and hanging have given way to
lethal injection giving a quasi-medical procedure appearance to the sentence.
Our modern sensibilities no longer accept state sanctioned death by beheading,
hanging, shooting and stoning. In 2010 there were ten women and four men who
remained under sentence of death by stoning in Nigeria, Pakistan and Iran. And
along with the more graphic, cruel means of death, the idea of using torture on
citizens has moved from commonly accepted to the category of a taboo. That is
why in the Bush Administration convoluted arguments were made that
‘water-boarding’ was an enhanced interrogation technique rather than torture.
Much the same could have been said about the medieval rack.
Notions of universal
fairness and equality also define proportionality. A punishment that is
disproportionate to the crime raises issues of legitimacy of the State. In other
words, the State in maintaining law and order is considered to be under
constraint in how it inflicts punishment on its citizens. People in the
West would be shocked if a faith healer as a convicted witch were beheaded in a
public square in London or New York because the sentiment about what conduct is
criminalized changed long ago. Similarly the State is required to control the
rage and anger a vast majority of people may have toward an ethnic group or a
class of people.
In 2003 the Thai
government policy to invoke a war against drugs led to the extrajudicial killing
of at least 2,500 ‘suspected’ drug dealers. The campaign had overwhelming public
support. Even though there was evidence a large number of these people were not
drug dealers, the campaign was deemed a success. Given the nature of the crime
and the extrajudicial punishment inflicted the concept of proportionality was
The idea of severity in
terms of matching punishment to a crime shifts from one culture to another. Iran
hangs children. The nature of what is a crime is fluid as well. And of course,
there are the ‘victimless’ crimes such as gambling, prostitution and drug use
where the State seeks to regulate and control a range of behavior they believe
are adverse to the public interest, immoral, or violate a social
So far I’ve looked at
individuals who have committed acts that have harmed other individuals. Part of
the function of a State is to stop revenge and feuds arising to settle the
score. The Goldilocks Principle of not too hot or not too cold is a measured why
to satisfy the victim and his/her family and to deter others from committing the
same crime. But proportionality also applies, as a principle, to actions by the
State against foreigners in the case of war and against its own citizens in the
case of suppression of certain kinds of conduct.
In the case of war, the
armed combatants are under a duty to tailor their military actions to cause
minimal damage to civilian populations. There is a vast literature detailing
what amounts to the transgression of proportionality rule in the time of war.
The main message is that States waging war can’t ignore the damage caused to
civilian populations in their quest for military victory. The current UN war
crime trial in Phnom Penh where three members of the Khmer Rouge leadership are
in the dock for crimes against humanity, a crime that enshrines the notion of
disproportional violence against a civilian population.
institutions of State have reacted with disproportionate violence against its
own citizens who have challenged its legitimacy, authority, sanctity, or rulers.
Threats, real or perceived, by the State as being against its own interests can
easily descend into repression. Imprisoning people for political or religious
opinions contrary to the myths, legends, or official positions has a long
history. Often the punishment in these cases is swift, severe and serves as a
warning to others to fall into line with the official position.
When people fail or refuse
to do so, we see the State intervene to preserve its authority, to suppress
those challenging authority. Recent examples include police actions against OWS
demonstrators in the United States, the use of the military to repress
demonstrators in what is called the Arab Spring in the Middle East, and the use
of harsh penalties in Thailand to restrict political expression.
The reaction to the
security services in these countries has highlighted, that when the elites of a
State feel an existential threat, the first casualty is proportionality in
striking back. The modern State has been credited as civilizing the general
population, reducing dramatically citizen-on-citizen acts of violence. The UN
has sought to play the role as the civilizing influence on States themselves
when they use violence against their own citizen.
The reality is the UN can
use war crime trials such as the one going on in Cambodia is a warning about the
limits on State violence. But does it actually deter the action of the State?
From the action of many State players in modern times, the leaders have
concluded that a lot of violence can be employed against citizens before they
are hauled off to a UN war crime tribunal. These players don’t think of
themselves as ‘criminals’ and that is part of the problem. Institutions that
believe in the legitimacy of their action under law are carrying out the excess
We live in a time when
officials who are responsible for violence don’t believe that proportionality
doesn’t apply to them or their actions. The next great awakening in criminal
justice will be that State actors can’t be trusted to use measured responses
when they feel threatened. Who will civilize the State? And who will punish the
State? We are still in the 18th century when it comes to addressing
those questions. It may take another 200 years before the answers appear. The
way forward will be to bring the proportionality principle as the first line
will be to define more clearly how to monitor what justifies a State from using
its armories to inflict violence against its own people.