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Alienating the Community
from Violence and the Legal Process
For the protection of American citizens, the Law necessitates violence. Order must be maintained, safety ensured, and individuals threatening peace must be stopped from threatening the rights of others. In a democratic society, there is no benevolent ruler to enforce this peace. Instead, we rely on community regulation through electorally derived law, with representatives from society itself tasked with enforcement. Psychologically, this process of enforcement against individuals who threaten public order is extremely trying. A host of “psycho-social mechanisms” are evolutionarily built-in to the human mind which inhibit harm to another member of the community,1 even though the member may himself be a demonstrable threat to the community as a whole. These mechanisms often play out in a process of sympathy, envisioning one’s self as the target of violence thus inhibiting the enactment of violence. As such, a whole host of processes have developed to allow the community to police itself and enact violence aga…