The Police System
As a society we often perceive violence as something that we can use to counteract other violence, or as means of making a statement. Violence constantly surrounds us, and as a result many might perceive it as a normal aspect of life that is part of our world, and is therefore “used to it.” Society, however, assumes that violence is somehow this inevitable force that has occurred due to human behaviour. Although people perceive violence differently, and how to approach it, I am going to question whether or not the decisions that are made within the police system can be improved, and if police violence, specifically, is inevitable?
There is a multitude of layers within the police system that explain why the police use violent methods to control or counteract a situation; One of the methods used to counteract violence by the police system is gun use. The police are told that one of the methods to keep a situation under control, is to use a gun, however, in many other countries, guns are not easily allowed to be used by police officers, let alone citizens. In the U.S we have the right to bear arms, but having everyone have access to a gun, in a sense, invites violence.Instead, if gun use is abolished completely, in the hands of the people and within the police system, much more methods such as using taser could lessen the amount of unjustified shots made at people. Magnus, a police officer from California proposed different methods in which the police system can use. “Magnus has consistently promoted new training programs and the acquisition of non lethal weaponry, including Tasers and pepper spray, designed to minimize the use of deadly force.” There are many methods that can be used in opposition to using a gun, which can decrease the amount of violence that is being used. Often times, people have their own biases against other, so eliminating the ability to do a major violent act, that can be done by the use of gun, perhaps police violence wouldn’t be viewed as inevitable.
Placing guns in the hands of people, however, sort of hints to another large issue. Why is it that we need to place a figure of authority with power for others to listen? Is that not what police are placed to be in our our society? To be an authority to which people should listen to, to establish peace? Having figures of authority in a societal system is not bad, if that figure of authority uses their power for the wellness of the people. By listening to a lecture done Scilla Elworthy, I think that she discusses how fighting someone with authority can be difficult, since that person with authority will most likely use violence to make a statement of fear. She expresses, however, that people do have the ability to fight violence with peace even though it may be difficult. “And I see that we, ordinary people, can do what Aung San Suu Kyi and Ghandi and Mandela did. We can bring to an end the bloodiest century that humanity has ever known. And we can organize to overcome oppression by opening our hearts as well as strengthening this incredible resolve.” What Scilla says about overcoming oppression is that by doing it as an organized people, and practicing the method of approaching overcomings with peaceful methods, that we would be more used to peaceful methods, rather than resorting to violent methods.
Police violence, and figures authority are however not inevitable aspects of our society. In fact it may just be a product of american culture. Looking through past histories of how certain overcomings were delt with, a majority used violence as a means to make a statement. As we look back to one of the most well known protests in history, the boston tea party. Before resorting to throwing tea of the boat, many protested against the tax on tea by not buying in it, but as that continuously did not work, people resorted to more violent methods.
In conclusion violence is not at all inevitable, in fact there are many ways in which we can avoid it by replacing the methods that we use to counteract it. By having figure of authority in society, those figures can be used a means to instill a sort of fear amongst the people. Authority makes people afraid to act out, but at the same time invites violence. So it just does end up being a continuous cycle when violent methods are being used. I don’t think that dismantling a whole police system is necessary, but rather a reformation f it. The system is already so set in place, that perhaps the best way to actually fix it is to implement more peaceful methods of dealing with it.
Personally, identity was not something I had decided to question myself until my transition to highs chool. It was not a subject that consistently came up, or had thought about since I felt comfort within myself as a person. This led me to assume that my whole being and values were set, that there was no need for any improvement since I thought that there was nothing much to improve on. I moved often prior to entering high school and because of this, I was able to witness different experiences and learn about the lives of various people. Through these encounters, I too was able to question myself and who I considered myself to be.
I could remember the beautiful paintings made by my classmates that hung on the hallways as I walked by them to enter the classroom where my friend gestured me to come. She was going to tell me about something very important, and when she did, all I could respond was “what does bi mean?” When I said that in response she was neither shocked nor dumbfounded because she knew the kind of household that I grew up in.
After my friend discussed with me about her sexuality, I began to wonder about myself. My family never really told me what being gay was, and this resulted me to have the lack of knowledge to understand a part of myself. Maya Salam, the writer of an article titled, They Challenged the Status Quo said, “Truth is, I’ve had to fight my whole life because of who I am, who I love and where I started.” In this quote the author expresses her emotions of the process that she went through to understand herself. Throughout her life she had struggles of trying to comprehend herself as a person who is gay. Being bisexual myself, I also struggled with understanding my identity, which led me to eventually fear it. Admitting my identity when it was still an ambiguous blob made me more malleable, in which resulted in unsure changes about myself.
In my time spent in California, I realized that, compared to before, I had a new understanding of myself. As I often went out in California and socialized with a multitude of people, I realized how privileged I was as a person to have the time to figure myself out. However, meeting people is not the same is understanding their individual experiences. I mistook certain things and assumed others to be something they were not while forming generalized ideas of who they were. I learned that attempting to comprehend others distracted me from paying attention to my own identity, but learning from others is not unfavorable. Perhaps if I had my own sense of self and values to begin with, I could have learned from others the way that parents teach their children.
In the Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway discusses about his relationship with his father. He says an important life lesson that his father shared with him. “Whenever you feel like criticising anyone, he told me, just remember everyone in the world hasn't had the same advantages as you.” Fitzgerald says this in his book to express that he felt inclined to keep all judgements about others. I can connect to this in the sense that not everyone is going to have a complete understanding of someone else no matter how one will try to understand. Before assuming the identity of others, it is crucial to remember that others have a different life from your own. It is complicated to fathom a life experience other than the one you have now. No matter how many times someone says to “put yourself into someone else's shoes,” what extent can you actually understand another human being when the advantages that each person has in life is different?
Since I believe in some cases that people shape others to be who they are there is always something new to learn about yourself. Identity is not set because sometimes there is always a new aspect of yourself that you learn, because identity can often alter depending on the situation or environment you are in. Back then I never questioned myself since there were terms that I never knew, but through people I was able to be more knowledgeable; to take pieces of others and use that to shape myself. In the end, however, it was quite risky to do that because you can distract yourself from your own identity, but it is not an imperfect thing, only because we are affected by others constantly.
What I am proud of in this essay is that I was able to portray how I was feeling in more than a just a few sentences. I was able to connect how I was feeling before and how I feel now, to create a paper that shows my emotions overall. Another thing that I am quite proud of is my use of descriptive sentences. Before, I have never really been able to embrace descriptive language as much since I was quite afraid, however I realized that it was not that bad.
When I came back to Philadelphia after living in California to finish the last year of middle school, it felt like there was nothing there for me anymore. I got used to the sun's reflection on my skin, and the cool breeze along with the night sky that was blank like an empty canvas. Eventually the feeling of the humid days in Philadelphia made me long for the suns kiss, but I know it would not come as soon as I wish it would. This is where I lived for half of my childhood, and yet I did not have the feeling of home.
The first moving experience I had was when I moved to America from the Philippines. My home in the Philippines was abundant in free space, so I was shocked when I saw that our new home was not. It was placed in the city of Los Angeles, and although the towering buildings glistened with a kind of mystical beauty, I longed for space to grow and be free. I was convinced that the space would not help me mature, until of course I was convinced otherwise by my sisters. But even though the apartment did not welcome me and my family with the same space that we once had, what it welcomed was possibilities.
“America has many possibilities so work hard” my mom always said.
“We sure will, after the long process to get here” my eldest sister always replied.
After a while, I felt more free than I was in the Philippines and For two years I thought that I finally met my people and I was home, until of course it was not my home.
“Come to Philadelphia, there is more work here than there in California…” my aunt said on the phone. “Yeah, but I can’t just leave everything here behind” my mom replied.
“ Do not worry I will help you, I really just want you to come here already. Im so lonely”
In that short five minute conversation,a decision was made. I moved to Philadelphia in the third grade. Now the days were not as idle as they were in LA, where there was only the sun's warmth to comfort you, with the cool wind only introducing itself in the early mornings, and nights. The seasons changed in Philadelphia, and so did I. My second sister moved back to LA, and my Eldest sister went to travel around Europe. I felt alone. That is when I came to the conclusion that home is not just comprised of a place, but the people that make up the place. The “place” was more of an environment, while as the people was what made that environment adaptable.
As I continued to converse and attach myself to people who I considered as friends, I progressively changed as I got used to Philadelphia. After four years of playing hopscotch on the concrete pavements cluttered with chalk, I considered Philadelphia home. At the time there was no longer the feeling of wanting the sun's rays when looking at the white blanket made by the snow which could warm me just as much. But as you can expect this feeling did not last.
When the the fall leaves began to dance towards the grass of our home, my mom deemed it right that we go back to California, where my sister stayed, and come live with her, and so we did. I was without siblings in Philadelphia, so when I arrived in California the amount of company I had received for my nephews was overwhelming, yet lovely. I got to once more bond my friends, and silently watched as I saw how their behavior changed...how I changed. The hazy fog that childhood set to ensure our innocence was gone, we no longer knew nothing, but we also did not know everything. The months passed and seasons changed, but we still remained the same somehow in the inside. As childhood friends, we still shared the same influence we had gotten from each other as children. Because of that, I know that if I left, we would always be connected, since the influence that I had received from them would always be with me.
The plane ride back to Philadelphia, after eighth grade was an emotional one. I realized at that moment that home is home when there are people you bond with, since the company from others is what makes a place worthwhile to stay.. That to me is the rough definition of a home. Since I moved so much, home was never a place, it was always the people, and the experiences. Because of this my home became my whole being. Whenever I get lonely, I can just remember, that I have been affected by every person that I appreciated, so even if I recall those that have left earth that they are always there with me.
In the novel “Lord of The Flies,” by William Golding, in the midst of World War II, a plane crashes on a stranded island. The boys on the plane make their best effort to unify into one group as they try to survive, however, such efforts soon go to waste when they are faced with problems including, what they call the “beast”. Throughout the course of their stay, the feeling of fear consistently arises no matter how many times the boys try to push it away. This is because, this feeling is present among all the boys, changing the projection of the false beast to fit their definition of what they call fear. The projection of one's fear can become a false reality when acknowledged because what the beast can be considered in real life can distract one from actual depth of the real-world danger .
On the island, the boys try to rid their minds of the beast, but as they stay, day and night, they realize that there is no escaping their feeling of fear until they try to hunt down the beast, when in reality, their attention to the beast made their situation even more dreadful. In one of their first meetings concerning the beast, the boys attempt to acknowledge that the beast is not real, and some do not believe that the beast is. Jack speaks that if there was a beast he would hunt it, but since he’s a hunter and has been all over, he saw no beast, so he supposed it not to exist. “Well then-I’ve been all over this island. By myself. If there were a beast I’d have seen it. Be frightened because you’re like that-but there is no beast in the forest.”(83). As the boys attempt to subside the fact that there is no beast, the lingering feeling that one exists, grows to the point where they do not feel control over the situation, because they do not know what the beast is. However, as they continue to acknowledge the beast , the falsity of the situation grows to the point where their underlying problems are not recognized as often. These problems include Jack arising actions of violence. The beast provides a distraction, and they do not feel at ease until they fabricate what the beast can be. They wonder if it is a being that is huntable, or in terms, could be something that they can control, hindering them from realizing that the beast is a more fearful approach.
In the novel, the beast is an image of a singular problem overshadowing another, which can be connected to a real world problem of the distribution of guns. Guns, in the present day, are misused, leading to the fear that one can get shot at any given moment. Although the fear of guns is very real, the problem in depth, shows that the dangers of being shot is a singular problem, acting as a cover, distracting others from what could lie beneath with the system of government, and how they are not considered to be the more feared part of the situation. Since the people in government opposed of the idea of expanding background checks, and making guns less heavily accessible to children, the idea of doing so, soon faded. The website says, “No senators who were in office for the 2013 vote changed their position when the provision was brought up again after the San Bernardino killings in 2015. And the second time around only 48 votes of support for expanding background checks could be found” In reality, this shows that it is the individuals beneath the surface, the government, could have the ability to change the calamity, but are choosing otherwise. Rather than realizing underlying problems as to why America may want to keep the distribution of guns, the fear of getting shot became the more emphasised issue, the beast in this case.
As the novel continues, the little ones contribute to rise of Jacks ego, and leadership, because they believe at this point, that Jack is able to provide the means of safety. Because of this safety, he now grows to be even more in control than Ralph. Here, he demonstrates his power of authority by calling an assembly finally acknowledging the beast. “I’ve called an assembly, said Jack, because of a lot of things. For you know now, we’ve seen the beast.” Since it seems like the little ones, and all the big ones that now trust in the fact that there is a beast, Jack is once more able to assert the attention to the beast. He uses, consciously or unconsciously, the beast as an excuse for odd actions he takes, like pig rituals, so no one suspects anything. It seems, like the government, Jack is able to be excused because the fear of the beast prohibits the talk of anything else. And, the big kids, let his actions continue.
The money that is received from the distribution of guns, is more than protected by the amendment which states the right to own it. Guns are becoming more of an issue, as constant struggles are presented by unstable individuals having one. Most of the people in government, are also prominent supporters of these firearms, that one can question whether guns are actually necessary in society today, or is it yet another cover to hide the “benefits” received from it, which is money. In the website, it states, “But if lawmakers seem to tiptoe around gun issues, it's likely at least in part because the NRA and other gun rights groups are loaded for bear with a seemingly limitless stash of cash ammunition...During the 2016 election cycle, the NRA further opened its coffers to make $54.3 million in outside expenditures, up from $27 million during the 2014 cycle.” Money is always a constant issue, however, this issue overlooked at times when lives are at stake. One can not usually think of the depth of problem when issues seem to arise from what the guns seem to take, lives. It’s almost as if the beast in this situation changed to fit a different view because, it is the own people outside of government contributing to such things. The people of America.
The comparison between gun control and the beast may seem odd, but in some cases, are very similar. Fearing a gunshot, is the same as the fear of the beast because of how it can distract an individual from understanding the underlying problem. While as, it is dissimilar because, a gunshot is a very fearful thing, while as the fear of the government, or even the own people of America contributing to gun use, is not frightful enough, like how some of the kids are not considered to be at fault for contributing to Jack’s ego. In the end, fear distracts us, from what could be happening underneath, when one is too preoccupied when death could be in the picture.
Golding, William. Lord of The Flies.
New York: Penguin, 2006.
Gun Rights vs Gun Control.” OpenSecrets, www.opensecrets.org/news/issues/guns.
Burger, John. “Beyond Gun Control: Exploring the Underlying Issues of School Shootings.”Aleteia - Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture, Aleteia, 20 Mar. 2018, aleteia.org/2018/03/06/beyond-gun-control-exploring-the-underlying-issues-of-school-shootings/2/.
“Gun Control - ProCon.org.” Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted in the United States?, gun-control.procon.org/.
Is seated on a chair
Waiter gives menu(invisibly)
*Gives a nervous smile and a small chuckle*
looks at menu and then looks up*
Oh no…. what the hell do I even want. Why is it always like this everytime I go out to eat? It’s like I don't even know myself well enough to choose a single damn thing.
*Person looks at menu at points at things* *sighs*
I could have the- no that's too uhm- OH, how about the- hmm... noo. Maybe i'll just have the ew... Nope. no thanks. Ugh, why did I not think ahead and look at the menu online or just go my regular place, why did I need to feel the need to go here anyways, time is money. I could be working right now. I'M SUCH A FOOL. Google is my best friend, ALWAYS! and yet…. I couldn't even ask what the hell what was on the menu for this place? Wow me! I kinda just came here anyways, cause she told me so much about it. How much she wanted to come here… Mom-
*Sees waiter coming, panics*
(In a nervous tone) No i'm- I'm not ready yet. T-t-thank you.
(shakes head) It's not like I don't k-know what’s on my brain. I-I know what’s on my brain , i-i want some food. AGHH. In the crevices of my brain the-there’s all that stuff that I learned in high school, then t-there’s all that stuff the teacher said to k-ee-ep at the back of my brain c-cause it go-gonna be on the test, i-i-relevant really .... oh, oh and then there's all th-those witty remarks mom used to tell me in response to all m-m-my stupid ones. (grows grim and sad) I miss her. I really do...s-s-she would h-help me when I started to panicking , a-and be-begin to stutter like this e-even though I-I wasn’t a-always like this. (takes deep breath) She w-would be proud (takes deep breath then sighs again, goes to normal tone), that i'm “exploring new foods.” She loved food. If only I took her to places before she died….to this place... Hmpf, death. That’s a meal she never should never have swallowed…. However, if she were here she would tell me to not be nervous, to be brave I suppose, and explore new aspects of different things, and to just choose the damn dish that I wanted already, but i would tell her, it ain't that simple. I’d tell her that I think it’s my fault that she died, because family never fails to tell me so, I’d tell her that because of that, the choices I make have to be articulated before hand so I don’t regret everything I do...because I already do. I feel that way mom. And if you think otherwise you're wrong. Look at the menu of my brain mom, look at it, it’s filled with memories of empty actions….regrets…. regrets that I could have avoided, but i I didn’t. When you were alive I spent most of my precious time working overtime. We needed the money. At least, I thought we did. All that time that I could have spent on you….. I don’t deserve to be in this damn place without you here… I-I already feel empty…. hah(chuckles) and the fact that i’ve been trying to fill my emptiness with-
“Oh, uhm, food, m-my order? hah, yeah uh... (looks at time, fakingly), a-a-ctually, I-I uhm w-wasn’t really h-h-ungry anyways, I-I have to go, I-Im so so, so sorry, b-but I-I have to go. T-Thank you.”
(Walks out) I-it was never going to f-fucking work out anyways….(sighs) Happy Birthday Mom....
Throughout my life, mind you that I am fifteen, there had been four deaths that had taken place. Each death proving to be of great significance in my life. And, although, the lives that have been taken from me had given me great sorrow at the time, one particular death of a family member would change what I would proceed to do with my life.
It was the summer of going into eighth grade, and I had spent most of my time at the place of my second cousin, who in general was a replacement for my grandmother. This reason being that she was an elderly woman at age of seventy-four. This aged woman was the certainly the utmost perfect example of a grandmother, in fact she encouraged me to dub her so plenty of times even though I was not her grandchild. But, during that time where the sun was of broiling heat, I was struggling on what to do with my life because I figured that I should begin to be aware of what I would like to do career wise. I seeked the help of my grandmother 2.0, and her answer of course was, “Become an Optometrist like me,” though, I was not very keen on that advice because it was not what I wanted to become, for I was stuck between two career paths that utterly differ.
The situation itself was distasteful to my soul. There was the option of choosing to take the career path of an Artist, and there was the career path of a pediatric surgeon. Both requiring passion, but one requiring to save the life of another human being who can possibly diminish at your hands without the right care.
Of course, I expressed my problem to my family members, especially the grandmother in which I spent most of my time with that summer, and all but she and my own mother were the only individuals that gave significant advice. My grandmother stressed on the fact that I should not subject myself into a career path in which I would regret later. She said “Seeing as you have two career paths you are passionate in, await the moment where you know- have the more inspiration in one than the other? No doubt she was right, but I would not come to the realization of what that meant until after her death.
“I am going to head upstairs call my name if you need me for anything,” I said.
She replied with, “Thanks doll.”
It was whole two hours after I went upstairs, so I came to ensure everything was going fine, but unfortunately it was the opposite. She was laying in bed calling my name, saying that she could not move her left side of her body which included her arm and legs. Of course, I immediately called 911, speaking with a sort of hoarse voice, then proceeded to call my mother afterwards. Fortunately my mother was at the grocery store, which meant she would be able to get there quickly. Mom was able to get to where I was around three minutes after the ambulance had arrived. While being brought up into the paramedic bed she saw me trying she said a few words to me. She accepted her own fate, while I was at the side trying to deny it, but denying it did no justice.
Every individual takes control of such situations differently while, at times, simultaneously gaining a sense of unusual wisdom from it. I was struggling to grasp the fact that an individual who I greatly appreciated was gone. After the incident had occurred I was filled with grief, but I feel as, since I have had to deal with multiple other deaths prior to this event, I was able to not let such an incident get in my way. Although I had a tough time accepting the fact that she was no longer alive, it was also helpful that I was in summer, which meant I was able to process my sadness without other individuals other than family members. That was the time I figured that I feel more happiness when I have an amount of time to think to myself and rationalize.
Summer of that year proved to be good, while being bad, with multiple mixtures of emotions in which intensified at different moments. After she got into that paramedic car, I was able to visit her a couple days before her death; she was paralyzed through half her body and her heart failed after those couple visits. Then, I came to the realization of why I wanted to be a surgeon. Generally I am hoping, that surgeons join the medical field in hopes of saving lives, to be able to spare the grief in which one feels, because, at times, even for artists, the greatest inspiration for insight is that of sorrow and grief.