[From Bryan Thalhammer (2005.11.09.0955 CST)]
Tone: Scholarly, but without citations (see suggested reading below). Points made to distinguish observer from actor, fact/evidence from opinion, and LAW vs. politics.
*First*, before I go on, one does not "accept" or "believe" PCT. I think that acceptance may become conflated with belief if we go too much with that phraseology. One meaning, and the one I am fretting about in Dictionary.com is: "To regard as true; believe in..." Reporters simply cannot use strategies involved with PCT such the M.O.L. to achieve their goals. So we have to be careful of that usage. But this is mere picking at the problem. I have a lot more.
*Second*, reporters have as a major goal (perception, if you will) to get the story "accepted" (another, less problematic meaning) by news bureaus and editors. To do that, they are gonna use words that get interest, inflame, and cause readers to linger on the story. An old lesson in newswriting is that there are two ways (probably more) of creating a newspaper story: the Feature story, and the News story. The "Feature" story has a beginning, middle and end, with a known length. The "News" story is far different. It begins with an eye-catching headline, the sub-heading, and the lead paragraph, containing the most important who-what-where-when-how-why, etc. points. Thereafter, paragraphs add additional information, nuances, data, comments, etc., in declining interest, so that (at least in the old days) the editor could take a scissors anywhere down the story and so the easily redacted story could seem to end reasonably clearly, with nothing important missing.
So, I don't think that the reporters have anything to do with PCT approaches, and frankly, if they did, their ability to post would suffer. (Of course, that may have been in the OLD days, because now any writer can put a PCT-slant on this kind of story in a BLOG! Absolutely possible!
That being said, we all know that "If it Bleeds, it Leads." This is the "rule of the media", akin to the rule of MAN.
*Third*, asking why is going up a level, yes. And one can, in a clinical setting, ask why, just as Tim might do, or just as Ed Ford might do, when they ask why. One asks why to address a clinical problem before it gets out of hand, for the benefit of the sufferer, and for the benefit of others around him/her should things get out of hand. It works in a clinical application, no question.
But then, in a criminal situation, with accused assailants and murderers, the issue is not how well the accused can go up a level, but rather, how well the defense lawyer and prosecutor can (and I am very unclear here) prove the case, beyond a reasonable doubt. Then, let's be clear, no matter what they say, it's all persuasive speech. The jury will do what the jury will do. Unanimous decision or a hung jury, if I am correct. Now, it would be very, very bad if the sheriff allowed an accused to make a public statement to a reporter on the scene. This is rule of MAN in the extreme, which we saw in the play Chicago, where the press tries the case in the press. The defense attorney would have a real heyday convincing the judge to throw out the case on a Miranda violation. Also, I think also that in a civil law court (not common law), the judges interpret the law in a persuasive setting of the presentations of the advocate and prosecutor. I mean, asking the accused why s/he did it offers nothing to the case given the laws and the prescribed sentences for felonies. This is the rule of LAW, as we try to judge an act by the LAWs we have, not by any caprice of MAN. Putting the case before an opinionated press (liberal OR conservative!!!!) and readership is destructive to the legal process. Remember, it is the ACCUSED not SHOOTER, and CONVICTED, not SHOOTER, that the rule of LAW aims to observe when describing the person accused of a crime. Only cheap-shot reporters would refer to them as SHOOTERS, regardless of the EMOTIONAL reaction to the unfolding of the tragic events. Asking why does not work in a felony trial, because it is not the evidenciary process.
From an educational, social, and mental health policy perspective, yes, one can ask why all we want. The notion that certain acts are 100% ascribable to untenable conditions (either real or perceived) by the accused may or may not be valid. The act of murder is repulsive to whom? To the victim possibly if they have time to suffer before being obliterated, to the observer, for sure, as they consider all the possible routes they or someone they knew (or didn't know) could have taken to avoid the tragedy. However, again, the why is only a commentary, only a defense, only an exercise in futility unless educational, social and mental health policy is addressed in a productive way. So, if the why is addressed in a policy that realistically reduces the likelihood of such an act, then we are going in a good direction.
*Fourth*, we have to be very careful in PCT of confusing the observer (person-who-perceives-an-act) with the actor (person-who-does-an-act). The observer includes both second and third parties, as well as the higher levels of perception at principle, but especially system-image (none higher), where perceptions of actions in progress are judged on the basis of the error signal in the system-image. The "observer" then is in a reactive position, at least after the initial shock of a first-person observation. Sentient beings, as much as possible, are sense-making entities (I forget who stated this so elegantly), and in "making sense" they act in a fashion described by PCT, reducing error. In an event there are many, many factors, and it could be said a chaotic system of factors. The act of the observer is to reductively analyze and sum up what happened, to explain to him/herself and to others. The goal is error-reduction, period. And here is where the observer can be compromised. If the speaker/observer wishes to please the listener, eliciting good reactions, comments, etc., then the speaker may explain things one way. If the speaker/observer doesn't really care a whit about the listener, then the speaker may choose another route. The observer is subjective, therefore, and once the action is out of the output signal pathway or whatever, the rest is mostly a matter of error reduction of the system-image.
Therefore, it doesn't really help to ask why by reporters, regardless of what a person thinks of such a crime. It only feeds into whether the story will fly or not. Rather we have to create educational, social, and mental health environments where these types of events will be much less likely. How?
*Suggested resources*: Ed Ford has some answers in the books I read from his series. I think I recall David Goldstein and Dick Robertson making some interesting comments on how to reduce the likelihood of tragic events. Rick and Bill contribute to this in showing the difference between a negative and positive feedback loop and how an arms race (real or perceived) can lead to escalation of gain and outputs. Also, both Kent McClelland and Clark McPhail have contributed to how groups might act in a way that both reduces error at the system-image level and reduces disturbances at the intersocial level as well. I think when I read Tim Carey, there will be some answers there too, also in a developmental sense.
[Kenny Kitzke (2005.11.09)]
<Bjorn Simonsen (2005.11.09, 12:00 EUST)>
<In some time I wish to start a thread where I ask about actions, intended
result of what and accidental side effects.>
Excellent. I changed the subject from "improper actions."
Along the lines of what news reporters "do" versus what they could do if they accepted PCT, I noticed the following on my News Browser this morning.
There is a written report of a teenage student shooting and killing a Tennessee high school assistant principal and wounding two others. The student has been arrested.
In this report are observations about:
-wounds the shooter incurred with his own gun
-the gun was a 22 caliber hand gun
-where and when the principal was shot and where he died (at the hospital)
-how other administrators and a teacher wrestled with the shooter and took the gun away
-how the administrators acted in accordance with school emergency procedures
-by following the procedure, they kept the situation from getting much worse
-where the other two wounded were shot and their medical condition
-how the school was quickly locked down
-how the rest of the students were searched for weapons as they boarded buses
-there was a huge traffic jam at the school as bus drivers and parents evacuated students
-the school was shut down for the next week
-a pizza delivery driver near the school confirmed the evacuation details
-a parent was scared and terrified waiting for his son to come out of the school
-his wife thought she would have a heart attack driving to the school
-how counseling will be available for the students and teachers
-no decision was yet made as to whether to charge the shooter as an adult or teenager
-a former administrator confirmed that: the wounded were experienced dedicated educators
-all three men shot were family men
-the dead assistant principal was dedicated to the students
-he had been a lieutenant colonel in the Army and began teaching 8 years ago
-how this is the second killing of a school employee (bus driver) in Tennessee this year
-how police arrested 2 middle school students in August who were plotting to kill a teacher
-students said the Principal got to the intercom to lock down the school despite his wound
-the sheriff confirmed the Principal was a tough fellow and did the right thing
-one of the wounded assistants was a physical education teacher and cross country coach before becoming an administrator
Well, we have quite a few observations and perceptions by various observers reported. Without commenting on how significant they are, is there any \HPCT "up a level" comment on "why" the student shooter acted this way? Might we get an idea of why such repulsive behavior was carried out? Would that be significant to school administrators, students, parents, sheriffs, prosecutors, parents, the public?
Bjorn, here is what you might want to expound on: "I don't know what he was thinking or what his motives were," Sheriff Ron McClellan said."
Could the reporter ask the Sheriff if he asked the shooter "why" he did what he did? Could the reporter ask to ask the shooter himself? Perhaps in a PCT world? But, perhaps not permitted by the "rule of law?"
When will we learn how to make sense of behavior?