So, having just written and posted an article about the nature of justice and whether or not it is random, I then encounter an article about more courtroom horrors:
“A Maryland judge ordered a sheriff’s deputy to shock a defendant who would not stop citing “sovereign citizen” doctrine during a court hearing.
According to the court transcript and reported last week by the Baltimore Post Examiner, Judge Robert C. Nalley asked 25-year-old Delvon King, who was representing himself, to stop talking.
King, who was outfitted with an electronic shocking device on his leg, continued to challenge the validity of the case against him citing “common right and common reason,” and the judge ordered a Charles County sheriff’s deputy to administer the shock.
“Do it,” the judge ordered, according to the transcript. “Use it.”
The transcript does not indicate that King made any threatening movements toward the judge or anyone else in the courtroom or attempt to flee.
King immediately crumpled to the ground when the shock was delivered.
“He screamed and he kept screaming,” said his father, Alexander King. “When the officer hit the button, it was like an 18-wheeler hit Delvon. He hit the ground that quick. He kept screaming until the pain subsided.”
As I read the article, I wondered how long the shock went on. I mean, how long was the shock actually delivered? A microsecond? One whole second? Five seconds? Apparently the pain was excruciating, and that was obvious to everyone in the courtroom. One wonders how many times and how long the deputy would have continued to administer the shocks. Until the young man suffered grievous injury, perhaps? If the famed Milgram Experiment is any indication, the answer to that last question is yes:
“Indeed, by the fall of 1963, the results of Milgram’s research were making headlines. He found that an average, presumably normal group of New Haven, Connecticut, residents would readily inflict very painful and perhaps even harmful electric shocks on innocent victims.
The subjects believed they were part of an experiment supposedly dealing with the relationship between punishment and learning. An experimenter—who used no coercive powers beyond a stern aura of mechanical and vacant-eyed efficiency—instructed participants to shock a learner by pressing a lever on a machine each time the learner made a mistake on a word-matching task. Each subsequent error led to an increase in the intensity of the shock in 15-volt increments, from 15 to 450 volts.
In actuality, the shock box was a well-crafted prop and the learner an actor who did not actually get shocked. The result: A majority of the subjects continued to obey to the end—believing they were delivering 450 volt shocks—simply because the experimenter commanded them to. Although subjects were told about the deception afterward, the experience was a very real and powerful one for them during the laboratory hour itself.”
So what, you say—he’s in jail. Why should I care? Because if we allow these devices to be used like this, i.e., as a free-speech impairment device, it won’t be long before such devices are in your or your child’s school. Keep in mind, the man who received the shocks in the story above had not yet been convicted of anything.
Shock bracelets have been looked into by the government—and rejected, for now—as a way to provide “safety” aboard commercial airliners:
So is the government really that interested in this bracelet?
According to this letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, which was written to the inventor whom he had previously met with, Ruwaldt wrote, “To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in … the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.”
The letterhead, in case you were wondering, is from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security office at the William J. Hughes Technical Center at the Atlantic City International Airport, or the Federal Aviation Administration headquarters.
In another part of the letter, Mr. Ruwaldt confirmed, “In addition, it is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes.”
Would every paying airline passenger flying on a commercial airplane be mandated to wear one of these devices? I cringe at the thought. Not only could it be used as a physical restraining device, but also as a method of interrogation, according to the same aforementioned letter from Mr. Ruwaldt.