I recently discovered this word, schadenfreude. A German word whose
meaning is defined as the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction
that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or
humiliation of another.
I have a friend, currently in a Tennessee jail, who I have previously written
about. He was accused of possessing child pornography. He denies having
done this, but the feds have ‘evidence’. We’ve all heard these stories, and
most of us, stuck in this hell of cancel culture, now know that what we are
told is often not the truth. We know that LE has a financial incentive to
create crimes, as well as firsthand knowledge that the police, prosecutors,
judges, and society itself refuse to play fair at the mere hint of impropriety
with a child. Be that hint fact, or fiction. A real child, or a manufactured
decoy. Someone with no history of any impropriety, or a person known to struggle with their own sexuality. All are considered as one – a child predator.
My friend, Brian Cain, was put on heavy restrictions pretrial. He was given
an ankle bracelet that kept him in house arrest. He was not able to help his
sick, elderly parents, who previously regarded him as their caregiver. He
was not allowed to mow his yard, or even get his own mail. He was not
allowed internet of any kind. He merely lived in his home, for almost a year,
cut off from society except for a flip phone. Until he couldn’t.
Being arrested for a crime he did not commit, having all his assets
confiscated by the courts for ‘bail’, as well as the assets of his elderly
parents, his job lost, his friends warbling between disbelief and confusion,
and what appeared to be a no-win court trial looming in his future, my
friend decided to run.
I am aware of two other people who have attempted this feat. One
succeeded. One did not.
Brian was apprehended shortly after removing his ankle bracelet by a group
of U.S. Marshalls. He remembers around six to eight of them.
He was found in a basement, sitting on the floor with his hands raised
above his head. Brian is not a large man, not overly fit or muscular. Nothing
about him, or the position in which he surrendered, would suggest a fight
would ensue. Yet the Marshalls surrounded him and preceded to punch,
kick, drag, and generally beat him. He cannot remember all the details of
Of course, the question raised is why exactly he should have been
physically beaten by a group of beefy, adrenaline packed men when he was
cornered and clearly surrendering peacefully. We will never know the
reasons the Marshalls will give their superiors for this beating, if any
request for such an explanation is even afforded.
But I personally wonder about the mentality of those who participate in
these impunity ridden attacks. Could it be that these men (and potentially
women) believe they are doing the ‘right’ thing? Because of the charge
associated to this man? Are there adults who believe it is right to beat a
man who has surrendered and is not fighting back? All that needs to be
done is to restrain his arms and hands and escort him to the car. Or is this
the real nature of the men who take the assignment of LE, Marshalls in this
case? I do not know.
Yet the word schadenfreude does bring me some understanding. We’ve all
experienced a level of complicity with pleasure when someone gets ‘what’s
coming to them’, or even just going along with the gang when a friend or
coworker is being mocked. But schadenfreude holds the element of malice,
something we hopefully do not feel when teasing a friend, or if we do feel
such malice, we are ashamed of that emotion.
Does schadenfreude increase if there is no threat of repercussion to such
actions? Such as the impunity LE receive from virtually all of their actions?
And at what point does one person in the group not speak up and try to
stop what a non-agitated adult would clearly see as a transgression to
one’s civil rights as an American citizen?
Seeing a boot print on the back of an inmate’s shirt, who is clearly addled or
unconscious, surely would make me speak out. Wouldn’t you?