Author: Jeb Kinnison

Mostly harmless purveyor of gently-used memes. My latest book: "Red Queen: The substrate Wars," available at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QSP3JTU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00QSP3JTU&linkCode=as2&tag=jebkinn-20&linkId=L5XO3S3LGKGGDT4B. Also see, "Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner," is now on sale exclusively for Kindle (this will change soon.) Get it at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IW6JYV0

“Avoidant” – 135th Review. “Loved it.”

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner keeps reaching new people. The latest review on Amazon:


S***** S
5.0 out of 5 stars.
Don’t judge a book by the title
May 13, 2019
Format: Paperback
Verified Purchase

Originally I was reluctant to read this book because the title, however after reading more about it was actually about I decided to get it. AND LOVED IT. This book can be a difficult read if you are being brutally honest with yourself about your own faults and those around you. But if you’re reading it to gain a better understanding about attachment and for personal development, it’s the perfect book to get started. I’ve recommended it to many others since reading. It will be on my list of top 10 personal development books. Highly recommend reading.

Jury Duty: Antiquated, Wasteful, and Unjust

Previously I’ve pointed out the high cost of justice (The Justice is Too Damn High! – Gawker, the High Cost of Litigation, and The Weapon Shops of Isher) and the consequent failure of the justice system to adequately protect citizens, both the accused and the victims of crime.

What’s free tends to be wasted. And when citizens are commanded to take days off from their work lives for jury duty, their compelled service is taken for granted by a system which pays next to nothing for their time ($15 a day in California, about 10% of the minimum wage in cities like LA and SF.)

As another monopoly government service, justice suffers from the lack of innovation and cost control seen in similarly bureaucratic services like schools. Each juror who has their time wasted could take this up with their city or county reps and agitate for reform, but it’s a small issue compared with the other reasons to vote, and so there’s effectively very little accountability. It’s much easier to claim prejudice or conflict to avoid serving. In many parts of the US, 70% or more of registered voters simply don’t answer their juror summons.

This results in jury pools that aren’t representative of populations. Poorer people, minorities, and young people are underrepresented. Justice for people culturally different from typical juries can suffer because there are fewer jurors likely to understand the cultural milieu of the defendants.

I recently served as an alternate juror for a murder trial — four men charged with gang-related murder with a possible sentence of life without parole. The case took ten days to wrap up, with the jury coming to a unanimous verdict of guilty after a day of deliberations. The cultural milieu was street gangs in a mostly-Latino area of the Coachella Valley (which includes both wealthy retiree communities like Palm Springs and Indian Wells and poor, higher-crime towns like Desert Hot Springs and Indio.)

Over 200 people were called in the first day — which was only to present the tentative trial schedule and ask for any reasons to be excused. Those who didn’t ask to be released could have stayed home and answered an email questionnaire, so around 100 people had one day wasted.

The next day the remaining 100 people arrived at 9 AM and spent the entire day watching a subset of 20 people answer voir dire questions. Hours later six or eight were excused and substitutes were questioned. By the end of the day selection of twelve jurors and four alternates was complete. The 80 or so not selected were excused.

So far we have around 200 workdays wasted, worth about $300 a day in salary and benefits (and costing even more in disruption, with the saving grace that some were retired.) Those 200 wasted jury duty days generated around 200 unnecessary commutes averaging 20 miles round-trip, for a total of 4000 miles, c. 200 gallons of gasoline at $3 a gallon, $600 and lots of greenhouse gas pollution. So that people could sit in a room trapped for hours. Call it upwards of $60,000 of wasted time and materials.

Many jurisdictions have rationalized this process, setting the trial schedule in advance and using email to preselect potential jurors for more extensive void dire. While judges may worry there won’t be enough jurors after voir dire, the opposite extreme of abusing citizen resources by hauling in a hundred additional people is only possible because their time costs the system nothing (jurors get zero compensation for the first day in California.)

Harm to Justice

Seth Stevenson in the 3-5-19 Slate article “Guilty” (a very long read) writes:

In 1998, I helped convict two men of murder. I’ve regretted it ever since. The case was, in some ways, simple. Twenty-two–year-old Maurice Douglas and 17-year-old Dominic Gibson stood atop a hill in Washington, D.C., on a drizzly night in April 1997. Someone shot down the slope of the hill, killing an off-duty police officer who’d been standing at the bottom.

At first, I thought my job as a juror would be to figure out who’d fired a weapon. Was it Maurice? Dominic? Both of them? But then it became clear that the answer to this crucial question—who killed the police officer?—didn’t matter in the eyes of the court. And as the trial wrapped up, I realized I was about to convict two men of murder, only one of whom I thought was guilty.

The case I was on was similar if a little less ambiguous: the four accused left ample evidence of a joint plan to find and attack a member of another gang for revenge and to uphold the honor of the group and their friends. My jury was largely old, white-collar, and white. The defendants felt justified by honor considerations that made sense in their cultural milieu; like Italian-American communities of the last Prohibition era, their neighborhoods were largely working-class and “respectable,” but with enough criminal, fringe, and gang elements that nearly everyone had friends or relatives involved. Honor and respect (and violence to enforce the rules) were understood and within the community, their activities would be decried and whispered about but not openly opposed. Because police cannot protect everyone from reprisals.

Stevenson’s case also involved “aiding and abetting,” or joint enterprise theories of guilt. This is embedded in English common law and recognized as fair generally: if you knowingly help someone commit a crime, you are equally guilty. Stevenson feels all sorts of noblesse oblige white liberal guilt about convicting the accomplice of murder and putting him away for 30 years; he eventually turns it into a long story about his feelings, coming down against such severe sentences for passive participation in murder.

In the case I was on, the real jurors convicted in one day, and I think rightly so because three of the four showed ample evidence of planning to commit mayhem foreseeably ending in death. The fourth was a bit less certain, but there weren’t any other circumstances that would lead him to join the others in a car with loaded weapons ready that made any sense.

As an alternate I was not involved in deliberations. I think I would have wanted longer to crosscheck the evidence — some jurors may have just wanted to get it over with, but I would have wanted to be sure. Neither defendants nor victim were angels, and it’s possible that under different circumstances the victim would have been the one on trial — but he wasn’t. The tendency of the middle and upper-class jury to not see the accused through a dispassionate lens because of cultural differences wasn’t a factor in my case, though it may have been for Stevenson’s. For poorer people like these living in a lower-class neighborhood, less time and money is spent on the prosecution, and even less on defense. OJ would never have escaped a guilty verdict if this had been the standard.

The jury was provided with a package of evidence (including damning videos of the defendants meeting in convenience store parking lots, changing cars at a school nearby, and a glancing view of the attack on the victim’s house including muzzle flares and ricochets off the street.) No transcript was provided (I was surprised to hear the jury would have to request pieces of testimony to be *read back* to them rather than receiving a full transcript.) The partial and disorganized documentation would have made it a daunting task to really confirm everything, and the system just wants you to go along.

In most jurisdictions, courts prefer jurors hear live testimony once and never get to review it, but they pretend the jury can have pieces read back to them on request. Some verdicts have been overturned on the theory that reading (or reviewing video) of selected testimony is prejudicial, some have been overturned because the judge claimed there was no transcript available. A few places are experimenting with full video and giving the jury complete access to the recordings. It’s ridiculous that people are being (possibly) railroaded for the convenience of the system. This case was only easy because there was so much evidence of a conspiracy to kill. In other cases with limited money for investigation and defense, the temptation to go along with the prosecution quickly to escape jury hell must be enormous.

Heinlein suggested semi-pro jurors in The Moon is Harsh Mistress. This would be a corps of people who serve on juries for pay, possibly rated and qualified by other jurors so the “best” jurors get called more frequently. The schizophrenic attitude of our system where the ideal juror theoretically knows nothing and sees nothing but what the judge and attorneys tell them while supposedly acting as logical evidence-weighers really leads to superficial decisions. Jurors seem to be there only to legitimize the outcome, under duress. The *ideal* is moderately educated citizens free of prejudice, but forced service starts you off with a prejudice to go along to escape.

There have been suggestions to run trials by prepackaging depositions, video testimony, and arguments. Jurors now are not allowed to ask questions (in rare circumstances they can ask the judge to bring up a question on their behalf) or participate at all, so this loses almost nothing (the silly claim that live testimony viewing is somehow more authentic and that video can be prejudicial is belied by the number of times jurors are asleep or too uncomfortable to pay attention because they haven’t been allowed a bathroom break for two hours.)

The prepackaging would edit out the questions where the judge has sustained objections, wasted time could be edited out by agreement with defense, etc etc. The jury members in a complex case wouldn’t lose ten or more days of work, but get to review the evidence in a day or two then deliberate with full access to the record, which is released to the public (with bits redacted by the judge if necessary.) This packaging can be done by paralegals overseen by the judge at a cost paid for by savings in traditional court expenses.

The cost of trials is staggering and the results are sub-par, as is true with most traditional monopoly services. There’s little incentive to streamline or improve. Because full trials are so expensive and time-consuming, most convictions are by plea bargain, itself a blot on justice which forces the innocent to plead guilty to avoid far worse punishment and then puts them at risk of becoming permanently part of the criminal underclass and wards of the state, depriving them and the rest of us of their productive lives.

Streamlining trials and broadening the jury pool to be both more experienced and more motivated by making jury duty voluntary and well-paid will save everyone — prosecutors, judges, defendants, and defense attorneys — the deadly boring hours spent listening to testimony, jury instructions, waiting through recesses, and wrangling over schedules. And reducing the costs of trials will allow less use of plea bargaining and likely a better quality of justice.


More reading on other topics:

Update: California High-Speed Rail Nearly Dead
Regulation Strangling Innovation: Planes, Trains, and Hyperloop
Captain America and Progressive Infantilization
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
FDA Wants More Lung Cancer
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce

“Avoidant” Audiobook Reviews

The audiobook sells as many copies as either print or ebook, but the reviews from Audible don’t appear in Amazon. I noticed some new ones:

5 out of 5 stars
Anna, 11-17-18
Eye Opener!

Excellent book for those in relationships with Avoidant types. I’ve read it three times in the last 4 days. Now I understand the relationship that has confused me for two years. Empowering information. Highly recommended.

5 out of 5 stars
Ruzette Nicolas, 11-06-18
excellent

despite it was not my first book on attachment. I really found it interesting and useful for me and for my practice as a psychologist

5 out of 5 stars
Anonymous User, 10-04-18
Amazing book

This is an amazing book, not only for comfort to make you feel less “crazy” about your relationship but to also give you pointers on how to work with your self and your partner.

5 out of 5 stars
Autumn Roth, 09-23-18
A life changer !! A must read for ANYONE partnered

Without this book, I would have lost my husband and Home, and would have continued on the aimless path, seeking out the “jerks”

I am still married to the “jerk” but with this book, I was able to take “me” out of the equation, to see that it was with empathy and understanding he wasn’t trying to hurt me, he was just so hurt as a child, he didn’t really learn HOW to be empathic and closely bonded… once I took this info to heart, we both are much happier since he learned my needs as well…. it saved my marriage, home, and happier than ever!!! The way it’s written and dictated, it’s very clear and spot on!

5 out of 5 stars
Anonymous User, 09-13-18
Helpful

This book was very enlightening and gave clarity to a lot of things I’ve experienced with my partner. If you think you may be with a dismissive avoidant partner I would highly recommend this book as it gives understanding to your partner’s attachment style, how your style may interact with theirs, and some strategies on how to deal with it. Good read.

5 out of 5 stars
Cynthia Lally, 05-21-18
necessary for anyone living with an avoidant

absolutely eye-opening! Thank you for the much-needed insight and guidance. the author is a gift to his profession.

Ah, shucks! I’m just happy that lots of people find the book helps them.

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

117th Review of “Avoidant”

When the book was an Amazon Prime Reading selection (free to Amazon Prime members) it attracted so many new reviews I couldn’t keep up. But here’s a pair of new ones I can riff on.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great honest book about avoidants
By B*** C******, August 18, 2018

If your partner is cold, doesn’t like touch, is negative, and doesn’t seem to care about your feelings or your attempts to fix the relationship: This is your book. It’s honest about your chances right up front. It’s also not your fault you can’t figure out why you’re mad or why you feel you’re to blame. It’s the avoidant’s gift of manipulation.

It’s honest about these people being able to change. Or unable to change. This book was infinitely helpful in helping me see the light. (Cue Ace of Base – I saw the sign)

Thank you for being honest Jeb Kinnison – where so many lie to make one waste their money on quick fixes, this is straight talk.

And thank you, B***! As you can see from some other reviews, many people prefer to preserve their fantasy view of how the world works and blame others for the problems they have dealing with it. One change I’d make to the book if I had it to do over again is to emphasize several more times (it’s only mentioned in one place) that women are as likely as men to be dismissive or fearful-avoidant, but typically are better at disguising it for longer because the predominant cultural stereotypes of women being the caring and giving sex encourage a less open version of the syndrome. I only adopted the convention of men as the dismissive partner because it is easier to understand the examples.

As for my “tough love” stance, there are thousands of authors and web sites that promote romance and advice to fix bad relationships that doesn’t work and gives false hope. It’s not popular to suggest that some couples and individuals are ill-suited to intimate partnerships, and it’s radical to suggest that some people will never be and that it’s no crime not to be happily married. One size does not fit all, and you can’t “make it work” with someone who doesn’t care to.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Are you in one of those hot-cold, roller coaster relationships you can’t seem to break out of? Read this ASAP.
By L. E. on April 28, 2018

One of the best books I’ve ever read about adult attachment behavior and romantic relationships. If you are always in “on again-off again” relationships or go back and forth between fear of being alone and fear of being abandoned (or you frequently choose partners who are), check this out. This book seems like it would help just about anyone with a pattern of attachment (closeness, trust, faithfulness) issues in their relationships, not just those who are avoidant or are with someone who is avoidant. It is made up of information from numerous reputable sources who research attachment psychology. I find it strange that the author is not a mental health professional at all and has no background in it. Either way, he hit the nail on the head with this one. As a therapist who ironically perpetually ends up with avoidant men and subsequently gets my heart broken, I find this book priceless.

And thank you, L.E.! I’m an auto-didact — I have been teaching myself all my life, having had several careers in different fields. I spent years reading the attachment literature, roughly the equivalent of a Ph.D. It’s amusing how little many Ph.Ds actually know. I greatly admire practicing counsellors and have done some counselling myself, but most have only superficial knowledge of attachment theory. I stepped in to write this because there was no popular-level book on the topic, and more general attachment books (notably Attached) are addressed to the self-help book market which tends to be anxious-preoccupied in orientation. A deeper dive into fearful and dismissive-avoidants seemed more useful for those already in a relationship with one.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Biased and disappointing
ByAmazon Customer on May 19, 2018

Very biased and misogynistic. This author has opinions that he bends scientific theories to support his apparent anger at a dismissively attached person in his life. He goes off topic frequently and seems to have a vendetta against women. The last half of the book was mostly blog opinion posts from other men he knows that he wanted to use to support his views. Disappointing and unsupportable.

And now for negative reviews. A minority of readers see misogyny where none exists, largely because I call out the strain of feminism that is biased toward finding fault with the male in any bad relationship. One chapter in particular, where I point out that women *tend* to engage in verbal and psychological abuse while men are stereotyped as physically abusive, gets that reaction. The fact is no troubled relationship is easy to analyze from outside, and while abusive males have been a big problem throughout history going back to our hominid ancestors, there are also many examples of physically and emotionally abusive females (the statistics on abuse in lesbian relationships make that clear.)

The predominant ideology today is a feminist take that assumes that females are blameless and powerless, while on average every bit as capable as men but needing special accommodations to their needs and desires, a somewhat schizophrenic take. This attitude ends up souring many a relationship when the expectations of the female partner don’t match the reality of the male’s ability to satisfy them. The partnership of equals of a good marriage means both will accept that sacrifice and effort are necessary to succeed jointly. That means respect on both sides for the abilities each bring to the relationship. I see a lot of people (many men, too!) who think they are owed happiness with little effort or humility. The result is broken relationships, unstable homes for children, and unhappiness and pain.

As for the last half of the book, those “blog posts” were written by yours truly, dear Amazon Customer, as was made clear in the book. Each was edited and extended the theme of the book, covering some aspect of relationships with avoidant types. I’m sorry you were unreceptive to my message.