result in their demotion, even though these outcomes are indubitablyrnright and proper.rnI should pause to say here that, much as I regret it, such contradictionsrnappear to be an unfortunate but unavoidable featurernof the thinking-reversal exercise I propose. Yet the experimentrnmust be seen through to the end if it is to be properlyrntested.rnIII propose isrnthat—as arntemporaryrnconvenience only—^we agree to turnrneverything we understand backwards.rnThis means that we would agree tornregard unsocial and illegal hehavior inrnthe opposite way from how we know itrnshould be regarded. We would, that is tornsoy, regard such behavior as bad.rnChronicles: What you are really proposing, then .. .rnShaw (interrupting): To take an example of how the reversalrnwould work, imagine a group of disadvantaged youths runningrnthrough a New York City subway car understandably tearingrndown advertisements for merchandise they cannot afford. Asrnthey make their way through the car, they request that selectedrncitizens give them money for recreational uses.rnUnder my reversal plan this behavior, fully justifiable thoughrnit is, would be defined as unsocial and illegal (a certain amountrnof police retraining would be necessary here). As a result of thisrnredefinition, the youths could be halted and detained by a policernofficer.rnChronicles: All you are really saying is that. . .rnShaw (animatedly and, in our opinion, somewhat selfaggrandizingly):rnIn the months and years that I spentrndeveloping my crime plan, there were many weary nights whenrnI admonished myself to stop. But an iron logic compelled mernto suggest steps even more violative of the social understandingsrnI hold most dear.rnIf antisocial and illegal behavior were to be regarded as bad,rnthen it followed that the policeman who observes a citizenrnmaking his way down the street while shouting and gesticulatingrnat the people around him should request that the citizenrnconduct himself in a less threatening manner. And if the citizen,rnunderstandably taken aback by the policeman’s unorthodoxrnproceeding and properly jealous of a citizen’s constitutionalrnrights as presently defined in their enlightened way,rnshould fail to comply . . . the policeman should be allowed tornrestrain him.rnI would even propose that if youths outside a rock concertrnhall should disagree over the qualities of the artistic performancernthey have just experienced, and if these youths shouldrnbe agitated by their convictions to the point of arguing vociferouslyrnwith and shoving one another, a policeman should bernlicensed to accost them. And if one of them should reach insidernhis jacket as if to draw a weapon, law officers presentrnshould search his person—even if he resists physically.rnBeyond these measures we surely cannot go. Yet logicallyrnseveral others do seem to follow. I hereby state my personalrnabhorrence of what I am about to say and hope it will bernunderstood strictly as an intellectual exercise—a jeu d’esprit, ifrnyou will. First, upon committing an illegal act, a citizen—nornmatter how reduced in circumstances or disturbed mentally—rnwould be subject to arrest. Should the citizen resist, thernarresting officer would be allowed to subdue him by force. Second,rnat the subsequent trial the testimony of the policemanrnwould be treated oppositely to the humane way now in favor.rnThat is, the presumption would be that the officer had actedrnin a professionally correct manner, rather than in a spasm ofrnirrational violence as was more probably the case. Third, uponrnthe handing down of a guilty verdict in a trial, the prisonerrnwould not only be sentenced, as is sometimes the currentrnpractice, but also actually sent to jail and made to serve out therntime specified by the judge.rnThe mass murderer on New York’s Long Island Railroad providesrnan excellent example of how my new plan would work inrnpractice. For in February 1992, nearly two years prior to thernLong Island Railroad killings, Colin Ferguson was involved inrnexactly the kind of action and subsequent trial I am describing.rnFerguson shoved and verbally abused a woman on the subway,rnthen ran away from officers to whom she pointed him out a fewrnminutes later. He fought the officers, called them racist pigs,rnand charged police brutality. Ferguson was found guilty of “harassment,”rnthe lowest category of crime, and soon released.rnThis was sensitive and correct. Society’s responsibility in thisrncase was to reduce white racism and to strengthen gun controlrnlaws. Taking into account that Ferguson was able to buy therngun with which he did the killing after a 15-day waiting period,rnit follows that citizens fighting for tougher gun laws must nowrnfearlessly press for a 21-day waiting period. Some of the victimsrnon the train, well educated and familiar with liberal values, havernthemselves called for stricter gun laws.rnUnder reversal of thinking, though, the Ferguson case wouldrnhave been handled differently. His physical resistance to policernofficers back in 1992 would have been treated as a felony.rnThe police would have been commended for their swift action.rnFerguson would have been incarcerated for a period of at leastrntwo years—that is, until some time after the date on which thernkillings took place.rnTo be sure, incarceration instead of a compassionate responsernto Ferguson’s life experiences with racism entails a severernsocial loss. Even if Ferguson had “cooled down” in thern”chiller,” to adopt the vulgar terminology of society’s punitivernthinkers, his creative potential would have been ignored or, stillrnworse, stifled. Such waste of human potential is the undeniablerndrawback to reverse thinking, and it should not be denied. Sorndiscouraging is this drawback, in fact, that I find it difficult torngo on. Nevertheless, I will continue to trace out the sequencernthat began with defining illegality as bad.rnFourth, during incarceration the prisoner would not be eli-rn24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn