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Trolleys come to Terror

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a western koan makes it onto German TV? ]
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What Hala Jaber calls a supermarket trolley in this tweet is not what this post is about — but it sure does connect trolley and terror!

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Here’s the terror side of things, in a tweet from John Horgan:

The BBC halls it an “interactive courtroom drama interactive courtroom drama centred on a fictional act of terror” and notes:

The public was asked to judge whether a military pilot who downs a hijacked passenger jet due to be crashed into a football stadium is guilty of murder.

Viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria gave their verdict online or by phone. The programme was also aired in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The vast majority called for the pilot, Lars Koch, to be acquitted.

Here’s the setup:

In the fictional plot, militants from an al-Qaeda offshoot hijack a Lufthansa Airbus A320 with 164 people on board and aim to crash it into a stadium packed with 70,000 people during a football match between Germany and England.

“If I don’t shoot, tens of thousands will die,” German air force Major Lars Koch says as he flouts the orders of his superiors and takes aim at an engine of the plane.

The jet crashes into a field, killing everyone on board.

So, is the pilot guilty, or not guilty?

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At the very least, he has our sympathy — but how does that play out in legal proceedings?

What’s so fascinating here is the pilot’s dilemma, which resembles nothing so much as a zen koan.

Except for the Trolley Problem:

trolley_problem
Image from Wikimedia by McGeddon under license CC-BY-SA-4.0

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Substitute an Airbus for the trolley, 164 people for the lone individual on the trolley line, and 70,000 people for the cluster of five — and the pilot for the guy who can make a decision and switch the tracks.

There you have it: terror plot and trolley problem running in parallel.

To be honest, I think the full hour-plus movie is far more immersive, to use a term from game design, than the Trolley Problem stated verbally as a problem in logic — meaning that the viewer is in some sense projected, catapulted into the fighter-pilot’s hot seat — in his cockpit, facing a high speed, high risk emergency, and in court, on trial for murder.

It’s my guess that more people would vote for the deaths of 164 under this scenario than for the death of one in the case of the trolley — but that’s a guess.

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The German film scenario — adapted from a play by Ferdinand von Schirach — is indeed a courtroom drama, a “case” in the sense of “case law”. And it’s suggestive that koans, too, are considered “cases” in a similar vein. Here, for instance, is a classic definition of koans :

Kung-an may be compared to the case records of the public law court. Kung, or “public”, is the single track followed by all sages and worthy men alike, the highest principle which serves as a road for the whole world. An, or “records”, are the orthodox writings which record what the sages and worthy men regard as principles [..]

This principle accords with the spiritual source, tallies with the mysterious meaning, destroys birth-and-death, and transcends the passions. It cannot be understood by logic; it cannot be transmitted in words; it cannot be explained in writing; it cannot be measured by reason. It is like a poisoned drum that kills all who hear it, or like a great fire that consumes all who come near it. [..]

The so-called venerable masters of Zen are the chief officials of the public law courts of the monastic community, as it were, and their collections of sayings are the case records of points that have been vigorously advocated.

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Relevant texts:

  • John Daido Loori, Sitting with Koans
  • John Daido Loori, The True Dharma Eye
  • Sunday surprise — cows, laws and enforcement

    Sunday, August 14th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — in India, cows are a vigilantism issue, in California it’s manure, flatulence, & methane ]
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    Behold:

    Tablet DQ 600 cow police

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    In India:

    Indian police have launched a “cow protection” force and a 24-hour hotline after a spate of attacks related to laws governing consumption of beef and the religious status of cattle.

    The 300-strong team in Haryana will enforce some of the toughest laws in the country shielding cows. Haryana imposes jail terms of up to ten years for illegal slaughter and smuggling but Hindu officials in the northern state are concerned about a rise in cow-related crime and are determined to protect the animals.

    In California:

    First they came after the oil producers, then manufacturers, and now they’re coming for the cows. Having mandated emissions reductions from fossil fuels, California’s relentless progressives are seeking to curb the natural gas emanating from dairy farms. [ .. ]

    “If dairy farms in California were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions,” the board explains, “a gallon of California milk might be the least GHG intensive in the world.” And the most expensive. Many California dairy farms have already been converted into nut farms, which are more economical amid the state’s high regulatory costs.

    Around the globe:

    Cows are still chewing the cud.

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    Sources:

  • The Sunday Times, Holy cow! Police protect sacred cattle
  • The Wall Street Journal, California’s Cow Police
  • JJ MacNab on the Baton Rouge shooter

    Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — plus further readings on sovereign citizens & the Moorish Science Temple ]
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    JJ MacNab, author of The Seditionists: Inside the Explosive World of Anti-Government Extremism in America — note date of publication — has the basics on the quasi-religious sovereign citizen and Baton Rouge cop shooter, Gavin Long:

    Here’s the text of MacNab’s Tweet-storm, collapsed for easier reading:

    Yesterday, Louisiana law enforcement revealed that the Baton Rouge shooter, Gavin Long, had a Washitaw Nation card on him when he was killed. Judy Thomas of the Kansas City Star looked beyond the social media clues to find a Washitaw-related legal filing: Kansas City man identified as suspect in killings of three Baton Rouge police officers

    A sovereign citizen is someone who mixes fabricated history, out of context laws, and miscellaneous quotes to prove he’s above all laws. Those who have been watching the #BundyRanch standoff and the #oregonstandoff have seen this “magical thinking” in action.

    25+ years ago, this movement fell into the white supremacist / right-wing extremist categories. 20 years ago, the white supremacist side of the movement splintered off, leaving behind a right-wing extremist group. 15 years ago, a handful of left-wing extremist / black supremacist groups adopted many of the legal theories as their own.

    Today, the sovereign movement falls into 3 general categories: the right wing patriots, the left wing Moors, and the left wing anarchists. Since the left-wing anarchist sovereigns aren’t a significant threat at this point, I’ll leave them out of the rest of this thread.

    In 2015 Gavin Eugene Long aka Cosmo Setepenra filed a curious document with the Jackson County, Missouri recorder.

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    In this document, he corrected his “common law name” from Long to Setepenra.

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    Note that his given name GAVIN EUGENE LONG is in all capital letters while his “corrected” name Cosmo Ausar Setepenra, is mixed case. In sovereign-speak, he is attempting to separate his flesh-and-blood self (Cosmo) from his corporate fiction self (GAVIN.) In the document, Long claims to be a member of a fictional Native American tribe: the Washitaw Nation.

    4

    This group has a theory that, when the North American continent separated from the African Continent, humans were split between them. They consider the slave ship stories of the early colonies to be a myth. Therefore, he is descended from an indigenous people who were in the U.S. before it became a country and is not subject to any our laws.

    When gov agencies (police, IRS, courts) fail to recognize their faux indigenous status, they believe their inherent rights are violated. They simply lifted legal theories from the right-wing sovereigns – UCC codes, “reclamation,” admiralty law theories, “truth language.” The personalized those theories w/ a complex layer: Egyptian mythology and symbols, numerology, new age imagery, holistic healing, etc.

    To see some of these beliefs, poke around this website a bit: http://www.stewartsynopsis.com/washitaw.htm 

    Long left clues beyond filing his sovereign “reclamation” legal document and carrying a Washitaw Nation card (probably his ID card.) The number 7, for example, is sacred.

    5

    Gavin Long’s email address was TheCosmoWay7@gmail.com. The family name he chose for himself was Setepenra or Setep-en-ra (Chosen by Ra.) The shooter said that he used to be part of Nation of Islam. That is not inconsistent as there is some overlapping between movements.

    When you start looking into this movement, you will find hundreds of website, hundreds of Youtube videos, and thousands of online comments. It’s a complex sub-culture so no tidy category boxes. Moorish sovereign beliefs can be found in everything fr popular music 2 self-help vids. As w/ their “patriot” sover’n cousins, there’s a lot of grifting, property theft & domestic violence (females relatives & kids are property) And like the “patriots,” they resent authority figs who don’t respect their belief that they are above the law. This can be deadly to cops.

    The following is violence/plots list. As you scroll down (it’s 8 pages,) look for the “Moorish Sovereign” subset. http://www.seditionists.com/antigovviolence.pdf

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    I first became aware of the Moorish Temple via the brilliant and eccentric Peter Lamborn Wilson‘s Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam. Herbert Berg‘s Mythmaking in the African American Muslim Context: The Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, and the American Society of Muslims looks to be a serious paper on the topic, and you can find more at the Moorish page at the Hermetic Library — note that Hakim Bey is the pseudonym of Peter Lamborn Wilson. See also the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America.

    Will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?

    Sunday, July 10th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — protest and arrest in Baton Rouge ]
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    will you won
    Reuters – Jonathan Bachman

    It is the stunning balletic quality of this image that catches my attention here, and gives this post a title drawn from Lewis Carroll‘s Lobster Quadrille in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    War & Peace, wounds and healing?

    Sunday, July 10th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — hatred and hope? ]
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    and then again:

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    and:

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    My title — War & Peace, wounds and healing? — ends with a question mark. Are we, perhaps, beginning to see a shift here away from divisiveness, at least in the matter of the lives of both blue and black mattering? I don’t have the pulse of America, but am noting what may be early signs of a sea change, or just anecdotal outliers that don’t add up to anything.


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