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Question 1B: Captivity as Produced by the Law
In many, if not most modern captivities, the law, or some form or consequence of the
law, is the cause for captivity, either directly or indirectly.
As seen in our readings, many
captivities directly produced by laws are based on laws dealing with individuals, such as criminal
activity and incarceration.
In these cases, the laws, in theory, apply to all persons equally.
However, in actuality, as we can see in the case of Leonard Peltier, often times this equality and
consistency within the law can be avoided or overridden by the government or other laws, and
used for any purpose which the government or enforcers of the law deem justifiable.
times, captivities produced by law are not so equal, even in theory.
As in the case of Mine
Okubo and the Japanese internment during World War II, as well as in the case of the Chinese
detainees held on Angel Island, government or law-produced captivity can be seemingly
arbitrary or based purely on race, and is sometimes used as a display of government power over
In other cases, the government and laws and their expectations of normative
behavior create captivities within and around society, holding captive its citizens, physically,
mentally, and socially.
In a larger sense, the law produces a captive society, held within the bounds of the law
and government, and forbidden by the law to stray outside these bounds.
individuals in a society are in some sense parties to this captivity by being a part of the
captivating society, the laws and expectations in society control what people can and cannot do.
The threat of physical captivity for overstepping one’s bounds with respect to the
governmental/social captivity created by a law-abiding society serves as a deterrent for many to
break out of the captivity of society, be it positive, negative, or both.