Sunday, June 10, 2012

Punitive and fearful

The last couple of weeks have been extremely stressful for me so I have not been inclined to post. Since the source of stress is ongoing I am faced with never posting again or somehow getting past the very strong link between stress and not writing here.

I am reluctant to go into the details, suffice to say it involves an encounter with "the Law" which leaves me rather depressed and pessimistic about what a society based on the Rule of Law is really all about.

The last time I went through this was to do with the Leaky Condo issue in Vancouver. Basically my attitude of being confident that how we run our society is Basically Good (if a Little Rough around the edges) turned to its opposite: "They" are out to get Me (you, me, all of us). I relate very much to the George Carlin video Ronni posted on her blog this past Saturday. I know it to be true in a very visceral way.

I spent four years dealing with that situation (the leaky condo) and the fallout from it. Including six months of fairly severe illness due directly to the situation (i.e., not stress-induced). When it was over, I felt I had learned a very hard lesson and just wanted to move on in life, walk away. I did. As a result it is not something I talk about much, I don't care to revive those awful days, months, years.

However. Life catches up with one, doesn't it?

The latest incident might appear relatively benign in comparison, that I am perhaps catastrophizing a minor misfortune. Having had one bad experience it is certainly an easy trap to fall into. And it may apply here, I am not sufficiently objective or distant from the experience to say.

I read the municipal by-law that applies, and it was quite frightening. I was assured that the by-law was not applied in the way that it is worded, but nevertheless the words are quite dire. I have spent the last couple of weeks "laying low" so to speak, and thinking about it. What will I do if...? What recourse do I have? Is there any way to fight this without making matters worse? I will tell you that I have no answers to any of those questions, hence the ongoing stress.

Here's the thing. The by-law is worded to instill fear and to be quite punitive in intent. It offers no recourse, no grounds or method for contesting, and in its worse case scenario, requires the killing of the subject without trial, warrant or even notification. Private property is not respected in this particular by-law. Police powers are invoked, without the need for consultation, notification, court warrant, anything at all.

It occurs to me that this is the mentality of the formulators of this by-law, fearful and punitive. And these are just ordinary people, this is just an ordinary by-law with its similarly worded counterpart in probably most jurisdictions in the country. We write our by-laws to be punitive and fearful. What does that say about our society, about us?

And that's all I have to say, because my answer to that last question is more negative than I care to repeat here.


Rain Trueax said...

What you have described does sound scary. I have been going through a very stressful period the last few weeks also but with no explanation for it. I just have that 'startle reflex' operating in super drive and it's not helping anything else. Good luck with your stress producing event. Hope you can find a resolution that is fair and good to you.

Wisewebwoman said...

It's a terribly fine line, isn't it Annie, between fascism and Da Rule of Law in certain cases.

I tasted some of it last night. I've been an activist here both in public writing and contacting the pols.

I was cut dead by a pol that I have criticised for his inaction. I do not play the game like the rest of my friends and STFU. It gave me a frisson, let me tell you. A sense of foreboding.

This man used to be my friend. I thought.

We are quite powerless was the bottom line that resonated with me. I felt my hands, as a dissident, gripping those bars.

Dramatic? I don't think so.

I get you. Keep writing.


Anne said...

Oh, Annie, I am so sorry and I so sympathize. Legal stuff is the worst for making one nervous and stressed. I'm in the middle of it myself.

Yes, as WWW said, keep writing. I will try to do the same, and I know it's not easy when stressed.