An Uncommon Security Guard: Dave Eshelman, AKA ‘John Wayne’

by And the White Lion Roars!

Interesting take on something presented quite differently in my college classroom.

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IMG You’ve probably encountered the Stanford Prison Experiment in your psychology textbook, or perhaps heard about it in some other conversation. Ostensibly a study of the influence of power and authority on human behavior, the experiment (so the story goes) had to be closed down because it was all too successful. Dr. Philip Zimbardo set up a faux-prison in the psychology building at Stanford University and began recruiting test subjects. Having divided his subjects randomly into a pool of guards and another pool of prisoners, Zimbardo soon found the conflict between the guards and the prisoners had escalated beyond control. Zimbardo has spent his career describing the study as proof that good people will become monsters under the right circumstances.

Such circumstances would appear to include a badge and a uniform. …or perhaps a tenure-track professorship.

What fascinates me most about this story is the role of one guard, Dave Eshelman…

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