Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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The Tyre Nichols Massacre: Powerlessness/Fear/Domination/Destruction Instinct Gone Crazy
In Empire Consciousness, there is a fear/domination belief. The world is "we vs. them." There is scarcity. Either kill or be killed. You can't trust anyone. Everyone is my enemy, a potential criminal. Hierarchy is essential, and being on top is crucial. Domination is contagious. In a group setting, it is mass domination. Aggression and violence are also part of the male socialization process. So, it is manly to be brave. Shoot first. Ask questions later. There is an impulsivity to it. There is entitlement to use power and force to get the result one wants.
So, if no one is safe until everyone is safe, there will always be threat, power, rage, domination, and a need for control. Guns provide a feeling of safety for some, and the ability to control for others. This is built into the consciousness of all males, especially males who are to keep order, and patrol the streets.
Mass shootings frequently come out of powerlessness and rage. Often, perpetrators are male, feeling victimized by others or life itself. Some shootings are do to hatred for others who are different. Some are for retaliation. And some are just a way to express power and domination.
In the case of Tyre Nichols, the officers were Black. Why would five strong Black men be threatened by an unarmed young Black man? The police are playing the role of "serve and protect". What harm could unarmed Tyre do them?
It isn't about race. It also isn't a rational response. It is an automatic response coming out of years of socialization, years of oppression, and an opportunity to carry a weapon and defend oneself against the enemy. It is fear-based, instinctual, and part of the Empire Consciousness that we all are brainwashed into following from birth.
We can try to change the way policing is done in America. We can fire people, and suspend people. But this gut instinct to dominate and hurt others is continuously programmed into male psyches.
When a six year old male child brings a gun to school and shoots a teacher, we really have to ask what is going on here? Rules won't solve it. It is systemic into the American culture of domination by the powerful. It about genocide of Native Americans, Jews and others. It is about subjugation and oppression of Black men, women and children. And fear continues to fuel more fear.
The other aspect of this systemic psychic disorder is the intense and pervasive denial system is always at work. Excuses are made. The Holocaust was made up. Slavery wasn't that bad.
To change this Empire Consciousness, we have to start by examining the inequitable distribution of resources and services. With domination comes entitlement and privilege. Oneness Consciousness is the only solution, and must be understood, taught, and practiced.
If everyone really had enough and believed they were enough, there probably be a lot less shooting and crimes. Seeing everyone as valuable, worthy, and lovable would change the brains of many people.
It is a simple, yet complex solution. It is core belief, a way of life, a level of awareness, empathy and consciousness that need to be transformed. If not, don't be surprised if it happens again and again and again.