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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Forced Obedience In the Sheriff's Office

 
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party
to act in an involuntary manner
(whether through action or inaction)
by use of threats or intimidation
or some other form of pressure or force.


In the eyes of the law, coercion may be codified as duress crime. Using leverage of any kind to force a victim to act in a desired way involves coercion. Coercion can involve infliction of physical pain/injury or infliction of psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat.

People Who Are Coerced
Lose Their Freedom

Perhaps the most deceptive type of coercion occurs then the threat of further harm leads to the cooperation or obedience of the person being coerced. The purpose of this type of coercion is to substitute one’s aims to those of the victim. These threats of "bad things to come" are used by the perpetrator of coercion with the aid of the application of the either/or fallacy. For this reason, many social philosophers have considered coercion as the polar opposite to freedom.

The either/or fallacy (often known as the "false dilemma") involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there is at least one additional option. The options may be a position that is between the two extremes (such as when there are shades of grey) or may be a completely different alternative. The two alternatives are often extreme ends on a spectrum. Who hasn't heard the the assertion that "if you are not with us, you are against us"? This generally leads to dangerous black and white thinking ("all is good or all is bad").

Here is an example of flawed thinking: "Immigrants have two options: They can either learn English or move back to where they came from." No other options? If this thinking is used as part of an argument to sway political opinion or to help advance a person's position, it works hand-in-hand with coercion.

In coercion of forced obedience, 
the perpetrator uses psychological
and social means to achieve his goal. 

The threatened injury regards the victim's relationships with other people. The injury could be as serious as blackmail, where the threat consists of the dissemination of damaging information. Or, it may be "emotional blackmail," which usually involves threats of rejection from or disapproval by a peer-group. Whether inflicted by an individual or by a group, the injury could amount to creating feelings of guilt and/or obligation via a display of anger and/or hurt by someone the victim serves or by someone the victim is assumed to respect.

Social coercion involves the fear of "falling out" with a certain, often influential group. This psychological coercion is the result of purposeful threats by someone.

Here is an illustration:
 
If employees don't "follow the program" or
support the "right candidate for office" or
"vote for the correct party,"
someone in charge threatens
that these people will lose their jobs
or their high positions within an agency.

When someone forces obedience, he is a selfish predator. He aims to narrow down the scope of other people’s actions so as to make them instrumental to his own personal interests. According to many social philosophers, this sort of predatory behavior is common in politics.

How is someone easily able to coerce the thought of freedom-loving individuals? He actually forces other people to act as if their basic choice rules were identical to those of the coercing party.

1. The perpetrator forces people to thoughtlessly conform to group thought to avoid negative repercussions.
 
2. The perpetrator induces a change in the victims' objectivity -- their basic learned set of values and rules is replaced by the perpetrator's desires.
 
3. Then, the victims determine their "own" choice among alternatives, but they do so through a forced, warped sense of objectivity, which, of course, has been coerced.

Forced obedience involves thought control, and, unfortunately, this control leads to authoritarian thinking and procedures. What were once goals of an agency or of an organization fall under the control of the person who perpetrates the desired behavior.


My Take

The Sheriff's Department has used coercion in the 2012 election. Members of the present administration are under the pressure of force and intimidation to help re-elect Sheriff Donini. Whether questionable endorsements or threatening memos or total fabrications have been employed to make the agency believe that their jobs and their actual freedom is threatened by a change in office, coercion is being used within the department. Of course, these employees will deny this: They are facing threats and significant pressure.

But I, with my own free will question the motives of someone...

Who freely belittles his fellow officers as "inexperienced politicians,"

Who continues to distribute false endorsements,

Who "passes the buck" of responsibility to prosecutors and judges,

Who attends few functions and meetings of the Drug Action Team, 

Who runs for re-election after retirement to double dip the office for insurance premiums,

Who holds illegal raffles in Ohio to finance his political campaigns,

Who instills an attitude in his office of total superiority and a policy of closed-doors,

Who administers special treatment instead of equality and justice,

Who offers excuses for crime instead of modifying procedures and forcing improvement,

Who will not return phone calls or modernize means of communication,

Who sacrifices his integrity for political concerns, and

Who administers an office that coerces employees to give up their freedom.

I believe the sheriff is coerced by politics and special interests, so he coerces his department to follow his authority and do his political and personal will. The county suffers under this coercion. Why?Citizens, themselves, are coerced to vote for an office that extends benefits to only those willing to sacrifice their personal code of ethics for proper enforcement.

I have witnessed some of this coercion. I have heard about many incidents of this coercion. I have read numerous public accounts of this coercion. I have heard of other enforcement officers speak of this coercion. And, I blame a large part of the despicable state of our county (And, remember, Portsmouth is a part of the county.) on this coercion.

I, for one, want this intimidation and force to stop. I, for one, am voting for a change in the office of county sheriff.  At the same time, I, for one, promise to support a new and better change in the office. 

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