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Zimmerman Free. Martin Dead. The Rest of Us Languish in a Hobbesian Trap.

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All you need to do is read a few comments floating around the Internet and it becomes clear that reactions to the Zimmerman decision line up on either side of our political polarity.

I am not privy to accurate information about the event in Sanford, Florida that night, so I cannot take a position for or against the jury's decision. None the less, I propose that the conditions that gave rise to that tragedy can be explained, even without specific knowledge of who did what to whom.  

Think of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, as you read this from Wikipedia, "The Hobbesian trap (or Schelling's dilemma) is a theory that explains why preemptive strikes occur between two groups, out of bilateral fear of an imminent attack. Without outside influences this situation will lead to a fear spiral (catch-22, vicious cycle) in which fear will lead to an arms race which in turn will lead to increasing fear."

And now with the passage of the concealed carry law in Illinois, a qualified citizen can soon carry a concealed weapon in all 50 states. Almost half of those states have stand-your-ground laws and all of them have human beings who, when carrying a gun, have been shown to become more aggressive. In fact, even the image or thought of a gun increases aggressive feelings in human beings.

Although it's obvious, cooperation would be the better outcome for both sides in a conflict, where would we start with 300 million guns already in the hands of those we think might do us harm. This condition fosters a feeling of distrust that causes the case in point.

Hobbes' theory has been used to explain outbreaks of conflicts and violence, spanning from individuals to states for centuries. Trayvon Martin's death is another grim reminder of our national entrapment.

While we argue about race relations, the right to concealed carry and our individual rights to us lethal force, our nation flails in the grip of our own Hobbesian trap. If I think everyone else is carrying a weapon, I must carry one too.

The national test case for the stand-your-ground law is decided. Zimmerman is found innocent by a jury of his non-peers. Yet no one is talking about the conditions that allow for this kind of tragedy. Trayvon Martin is dead. George Zimmerman will never have a normal life again and the bedlam described euphemistically as a national debate on race-relations, guns, and an individual's right to use deadly force is not recognized for what it is: The condition Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, England, described 500 years ago.

So condolences to Martin's family and friends. Your son and friend is a victim of a Hobbesian trap. Congratulations to the stand-your-ground crowd. You've been validated but I sincerely hope your son or daughter is never in the same trap. Hooray to the gun crowd. That you can carry a concealed weapon legally while walking your dog in every state in the union now confirms that Hobbes' theory is valid in the United States beyond a reasonable doubt.

Good luck to the rest of us who have children or grandchildren, who must live in a society with 300 millions guns and people who are convinced that everyone else is a putative enemy, especially if they look different from what you see as normal.

God save us from ourselves.

Robert De Filippis

 

Author, columnist and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I am a certified ontological coach. I've studied clinical therapeutic practices in Gestalt psychology and am a Certified Birkman (more...)
 

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What, no "position for or against the jury's decis... by Robert S. Becker on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 7:19:09 PM
I don't know how you've come to know the details o... by Robert De Filippis on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 8:22:29 PM
I spoke not at all about the "details" of the figh... by Robert S. Becker on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 9:22:21 PM
I'm with Robert de Filippis in blaming the law rat... by Daniel Vasey on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 9:35:31 PM
Juries are not exactly supposed to deliver justice... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 4:44:30 AM
and were watching it without any preconceived noti... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:29:01 AM
based on what I know. And nobody, nobody "knows t... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 7:48:42 PM
I see no evidence which would indicate that Zimmer... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 9:00:27 PM
Doc, you ought really have offered your testimony ... by goedel on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:56:45 PM
Though intellectually bolstering to appeal to Thom... by goedel on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 10:24:46 PM
and well said, and thought.... by b. sadie bailey on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 3:14:28 PM
Homo homini lupus est--ita vero.  Still, one ... by steve waterhouse on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 5:30:50 AM
One cannot broach even a very limited topic regard... by Mary Pitt on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 9:23:39 AM
was not all that credible Mary.  The defense ... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 10:33:30 AM
were probably caused when Trayvon punched him in t... by Mary Pitt on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 10:49:46 AM
we see things much differently.  You deal wit... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 11:51:46 AM
Your facts ignore the one most important fact: Zim... by b. sadie bailey on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 3:27:51 PM
is that Martin did not know, nor have any reason t... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 7:06:45 PM
In every death, the dead person can't testify. So... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 4:51:35 AM
to speak on behalf of Martin, their testimony woul... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:26:04 AM
That if my patient dies jury would believe only th... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 7:58:18 PM
My judgments are based on what the law says and ho... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:43:02 PM
on which justice solely rests, so they say, was co... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 11:04:31 AM
There is ample undisputed evidence that Martin con... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:00:38 PM
go purchase a Magnum, with a license of course, ke... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 6:27:13 PM
with little substance behind it.Carrying a gun is ... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 8:31:25 PM
the end of a long day and I was trying to make a p... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 3:46:31 PM
Was it right that  "Whether Zimmerman's actio... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 4:58:03 AM
according to the way that the law is written. ... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:15:03 AM
Once Zimmerman approached him Martin pulled the gu... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:05:24 PM
In the scenario, and under Florida law, Martin wou... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 8:24:02 PM
Could testify that Zimmerman was threatening. And... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:36:34 PM
are two different things.In the United States, sta... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 1:11:51 AM
You seem to assume that Zimmerman always stayed at... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 2:21:52 AM
so I am unable to specifically answer your questio... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 3:24:49 AM
You know how much I appreciate your independent th... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 4:33:05 AM
political correctness is for sissies.  As for... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 5:55:58 AM
If nothing else, if this witness is credible (why ... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 11:52:34 AM
BUT - none of this information was presented at th... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 6:55:14 PM
"In analyzing and discussing the case, we all shou... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 8:32:22 PM
with the loose playing of facts by the majority of... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 9:58:32 PM
You are playing with words and limiting reality to... by Robert S. Becker on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 12:33:56 AM
on what evidence will be presented, when and why?... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 2:24:13 AM
and am unable to answer that question with any spe... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 3:34:15 AM
I'm not going to comment any further on the specif... by anna kakol on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:07:27 PM
exists in some ideal world, independent of interpr... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:26:06 PM
If we believe in the absurd notion that only menta... by anna kakol on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:27:48 PM
and shreds the "logic" of all those who want only ... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:34:54 PM
Yes, we must take these tendencies into account in... by b. sadie bailey on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 3:31:28 PM
 De Filippis, Its a wasted effort. But it n... by George Eliason on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:23:52 PM
My reason for writing the piece I did was to avoid... by Robert De Filippis on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 12:51:54 PM
you will get nuts. Don't think about them. Think w... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 1:16:19 PM
..for a conscious, thinking person. But when one l... by Robert De Filippis on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 3:02:09 PM
After any symbolically-laden trial, we are all fre... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 4:08:16 PM
Has more to do with the effects of the Hobbesian t... by Robert De Filippis on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 4:47:09 PM
Thanks for inputEven though not mentioned..makes c... by yunus Luebben on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 1:38:39 PM
Thank you for that reminder.Best... by Robert De Filippis on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 3:03:35 PM
One factor that nobody has touched on is the small... by Mary Pitt on Monday, Jul 15, 2013 at 7:53:08 PM
I am so glad the jury reached the correct verdict.... by Bobs Your Uncle on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 5:06:41 AM
If that opinion should prevail, thousands of years... by Mary Pitt on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 at 7:17:21 AM