II Samuel 6:6-8


6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.

7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

8 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day.

See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses

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The Laws of Reward


(Part I, Chapter VI)

‘Although we usually call reward and punishment the two hinges upon which all government turns, yet I could never observe this maxim to be put in practice by any nation except that of Lilliput. Whoever can there bring sufficient proof, that he has strictly observed the laws of his country for seventy-three moons, has a claim to certain privileges, according to his quality or condition of life, with a proportionable sum of money out of a fund appropriated for that use: he likewise acquires the title of Snilpall, or legal, which is added to his name, but does not descend to his posterity. And these people thought it a prodigious defect of policy among us, when I told them that our laws were enforced only by penalties, without any mention of reward. It is upon this account that the image of Justice, in their courts of judicature, is formed with six eyes, two before, as many behind, and on each side one, to signify circumspection; with a bag of gold open in her right hand, and a sword sheathed in her left, to show she is more disposed to reward than to punish.’

– Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

Positive Ticketing


Police forces in Canada have started handing out rewards to people who make healthy, positive choices in relation to their behaviour, decisions or actions. The scheme is called positive ticketing and it aims to reward citizens for doing good things; it also tries to encourage positive interaction between the police and the community using a less authoritative approach.

“Honey catches more flies than vinegar.” – British proverb

In this initiative, police officers may hand out positive tickets to citizens who are seen committing random acts of kindness or exhibiting positive behaviour such as crossing the road safely, picking up litter or even deterring the minor crimes of others. Officers may also use the tickets as icebreakers to start conversations and cement positive relations with people in their patrol areas.

The rewards on offer include free hamburgers, cinema tickets or a chance to see the local hockey team in action, all of which have been donated by local businesses.

“If you reward good behavior, your return on investment will be more good behavior. This is not rocket science; we (especially police officers) simply don’t reward and celebrate positive behavior enough.” – Ward Clapham, Breaking With the Law: The Story of Positive Tickets

Faith and Porcophobia


‘There must therefore be another answer to the conundrum. I claim my own solution as original, though without the help of Sir James Frazer and the great Ibn Warraq I might not have hit upon it. According to many ancient authorities, the attitude of early Semites to swine was one of reverence as much as disgust. The eating of pig flesh was considered as something special, even privileged and ritualistic. (This mad confusion between the sacred and the profane is found in all faiths at all times.) The simultaneous attraction and repulsion derived from an anthropomorphic root: the look of the pig, and the taste of the pig, and the dying yells of the pig, and the evident intelligence of the pig, were too uncomfortably reminiscent of the human.

Porcophobia—and porcophilia—thus probably originate in a night-time of human sacrifice and even cannibalism at which the “holy” texts often do more than hint. Nothing optional—from homosexuality to adultery—is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear, the policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.

Porcophilia can also be used for oppressive and repressive purposes. In medieval Spain, where Jews and Muslims were compelled on pain of death and torture to convert to Christianity, the religious authorities quite rightly suspected that many of the conversions were not sincere. Indeed, the Inquisition arose partly from the holy dread that secret infidels were attending Mass—where of course, and even more disgustingly, they were pretending to eat human flesh and drink human blood, in the person of Christ himself. Among the customs that arose in consequence was the offering, at most events formal and informal, of a plate of charcuterie. Those who have been fortunate enough to visit Spain, or any good Spanish restaurant, will be familiar with the gesture of hospitality: literally dozens of pieces of differently cured, differently sliced pig. But the grim origin of this lies in a constant effort to sniff out heresy, and to be unsmilingly watchful for giveaway expressions of distaste. In the hands of eager Christian fanatics, even the toothsome jamón Ibérico could be pressed into service as a form of torture.’

Hitchens. C. 2007. God Is Not Great London, Great Britain: Atlantic Books (2008) p. 40-41

Wanted Posters


‘The Wanted Posters at the post office: you’re there, you got your package, you’re trying to mail something, this guy’s wanted in 12 states. Yeah, now what? Ok, I check the guy standing in line behind me, if it’s not him, that’s pretty much all I can do.

Why don’t they just hold on to this guy when they’re taking his picture.
“The guy’s there with you!”
“Come out from behind the camera and grab him!”
“No, we don’t do that. We take their picture, we let them go.”
“That’s how we get the front and side shot.”
“The front is his face, the side is him leaving.”‘

– Seinfeld, J. (1998). I’m Telling You For The Last Time. Broadhurst Theatre, New York: Universal Records.

On Toughness


“To be gentle, tolerant, wise and reasonable requires a goodly portion of toughness.”

– Peter Ustinov

The Fallibility of Written Codes


‘The court considers it has obligation to add comment to its verdict. By the force of evidentiary conclusions you, Captain William Bligh, stand absolved of military misdeed. Yet officers of stainless record and seamen, voluntary all were moved to mutiny against you. Your methods, so far as this court can deserve showed what we shall cautiously term an excess of zeal. We cannot condemn zeal. We cannot rebuke an officer who has administered discipline according to the Articles of War, but the Articles are fallible, as any articles are bound to be. No code can cover all contingencies. We cannot put justice aboard our ships in books. Justice and decency are carried in the heart of the captain or they be not aboard. It is for this reason that the Admiralty has always sought to appoint its officers from the ranks of gentlemen. The court regrets to note that the appointment of Captain William Bligh was, in that respect, a failure. Court is dissolved.’

– Rosenberg. A. (Producer), Milestone. L. (Director). (1962). Mutiny on the Bounty [Motion Picture]. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Point of Prison


Don: Well, Dick, this is it. The tank.

Dick: Oh. Oh, look at them, their deep-set eyes darting with evil brilliance. What’d they do, Don?

Don: Well, that one’s a loiterer, and that guy was screaming at a fire hydrant.

Dick: You, fresh meat, what are you in for?

Inmate: Up yours!

Don: Don’t rile ’em up. They’re bad news.

Dick: Oh, this place is so creepy, Don. I knew jails had bars, but I didn’t know they were so confining.

Don: That’s kind of the idea.

[…]

Don: So, if he can’t pay his fine, he just – well, he’ll just sit there for a few days and think about what he’s done.

Dick: And that’ll teach him that jail is a dirty, horrible place, and he’ll never want to return?

Don: Exactly. In fact, this is the fifth time he’s learned that very lesson.

Dick: The fifth time? Why does he keep coming back?

Don: Ah, it’s just the way they are.

Dick: Then what’s the point of this place? It’s just a revolving door, a hopeless hotel whose residents check in and out between crimes. And you, Don, you’re nothing more than a bellhop with a badge.

Don: I am not.

Inmate: Hey, can I get a clean towel and a Wall Street Journal?

Don: Will you shut up in there! Now, listen here, Dick, this system is the only way we’ve got to teach these guys a lesson.

Dick: What about giving them a little guidance?

Don: Uh, we don’t do that here.

Dick: Well, maybe you should. Unlike you, I happen to have faith in the human race. I can take any one of these men, rehabilitate him, and make him a productive member of society.

Don: You’re mad, Solomon.

Dick: Am I? Come on, you, you’re coming home with me.

Don: What are you doing?

Dick: I’m going to pay his fine and make him whole again. As god is my witness, nothing will deter me from saving this man.

Don: Ok. His fine is $1,500.

Dick: Ooh. How much for the skinny one?

Don: Uh, 750.

Dick: And the short hair in the corner?

Don: Eddie? 100 bucks.

Dick: Wrap him up. I’ll take him.

– Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner: 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)