Last week I trolled Carlton Purvis via Twitter. I hereby apologize. Carlton Purvis suggested discussing if higher educational requirements for police officers would lower the number of incidents of use of excessive force and corruption. I honestly felt that Carlton was linking bad behaviour (in the police force) with lack of education – an idea that I find pretty offensive. Riled up, I decided to troll Carlton Purvis by asking if he was suggesting that people with lower educational accomplishments had a propensity toward this sort of behaviour. That was a stretch. A discussion is – well – a discussion.
I got riled up, because attributing bad behavior to religion, race, gender, age or lack of education is something I consider dangerous and ignorant. The Milgram experiment shows how far people are willing to go, if they are prodded by an authority, Philip Zimbardo was behind the Stanford prison experiment and has done a lot of research on this topic, he was also defending Ivan “Chip” Frederick after the Abu Ghraib atrocities. We may snuggle up, turn on American Idol take a zip of our coffee, and think that we could never do the things that those guards did, and that these people are somehow very different from us. The truth is that circumstance is a motherf….r, when put in the wrong place at the wrong time, most of us will do some f….k up things. My stance is that “evil” (for lack of a better word), is something we are all capable of. If that is the case, we should instead be looking at the systems that seem to breed and nourish perverted behavior.
If we, as individuals stand up to immoral behavior, other people will follow. In the Milgram experiment, if people were exposed to other participants who protested the experiment, there was a much greater likelihood of them also refusing to carry out these unsavory actions. If people that speak up against bad behavior are persecuted by their peers, or by society, then the cancer will spread and become more difficult to remove later on.