Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rules, and laws, don't keep you safe

Alright, let's get down to it here...

Some people seem to believe that laws, rules, protocol, negotiation, consent etc... keep them safe.

I happen to think that's ridiculous self delusion.

Recently, gun control has been a big issue again. Just in the last week or so, rape and "rape culture" (a concept I have some major issues with, but that's for another time)... and questions about individual sexual agency, have been big in the news.

These discussions are for the most part centered around the idea that rules can make you safe. Consent, negotiation, protocol, rules, laws... Somehow, these things are going to keep you "safe".

They can't.

Rules don't make you safe; people who follow them, and respect them, and respect you, can HELP keep you safe... but no rule will keep you safe from people who don't.

Consent doesn't make you safe.

Negotiation doesn't make you safe.

Limits don't make you safe.

Laws don't make you safe.

Rules, and consent, and limits, and negotiation, will not prevent someone who wants to harm you, from harming you.

They will not prevent someone who wants to violate your limits, or your consent, from doing so.

They won't even stop someone who doesn't intend to do anything wrong, from screwing up... though they can help make it less likely, and less severe if it happens.

This is not to say that rules, and negotiation, and consent are not important; of course they are. But they are not magic.

They are not bars of steel. They have no physical force... only moral.

The thing which keeps good people from harming others, is not that harming others is against the rules... it's that they are good people.

The reason good people don't shoot you or rape you or steal from you, is not because it's illegal to do so; they don't do those things because they are wrong.

And you will never know, with total certainty, whether someone is a good person, or just pretending to be... Ever.

Even after decades of knowing them, even after living or working with them for years... something might change... or they might just have been good at hiding, or controlling, what they really were... and it might just show up some day.

People wrap themselves up in their security blanket of rules, as if it really kept them safe. And god help you if you disturb their delusion... You threaten their worldview, and their delusion of safety, and they must STOP YOU so they can "feel safe" again.

Safety, is an illusion.

Certainty, is an illusion.

Control, is an illusion.

One must understand and accept that... no matter how uncomfortable it is...

...And make the best decisions you can, to the best of your knowledge and ability...

...And MANAGE and mitigate your risks where you can...

...And weigh your risks, against your rewards...

...And then live with whatever happens...

Life is scary... but you can't let fear stop you from living it.