Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Cost of Stupidity: Law Enforcement and Us

I got a call from a friend of mine. He has decided to retire from the field. He’s turned 53 and says he can’t “run with the boys” anymore. He served 22 years in the military on a joint force special operations team. He was working diplomatic security for the government in the field. He’s been shot at by some of the best and worst in the world. He told me about an instance that helped him to leave the field and start instructing.
His team was assigned a diplomat from an unnamed country while in the country of Jordan. The diplomat they were protecting was not an American diplomat. They had traveled to 3 locations in Jordan and were moving back to the 2 car motorcade to return to the consulate when they were approached by 2 kids. After a team member had stopped the kids about 30 feet away and speaking to them the oldest of the two (about 10 and 12 years old) pulled out what looked like a gun. Both kids were killed. Upon search the bodies it was found that the gun pulled out was not real. But the younger boy did have a real gun and each had 2 live hand grenades in their coat pockets. They meant to do harm. My friend said he had killed children before but they clearly had a rifle and were shooting at him. This is the first time he’d ever seen a fake gun anywhere in the middle-east. He didn’t know what the point of the fake gun was but he had enough and had made the decision to accept a teaching spot that had been offered to him numerous times.
I asked him if he felt that the latest police shootings were anything like what he’d experienced. The reports he’s heard were pretty similar he thought. The difference was that the location my friend was in was known for violence on a large scale. He was also on a team of 6 men highly trained in exactly what they were doing. They had battle rifles and not just side arms. His only mission was to protect the principle and not to protect anyone or anything else. A police officer has a responsibility to the community. They are often alone and must make a decision very fast. He said that their situation had happened many times in that part of the world. Mostly kids had bombs strapped to them with remote detonators. My friend also said that in the middle east it’s not unusual to be approached by combatants so they are expecting it all the time.
We talked at great length about what kind of time you have to make a decision to press that trigger. He said to me 2 seconds is the response time. If you want to stay alive you may even cut that in half to 1 second. At my request he researched several police shootings that have been in the news lately.
I also researched many of these incidents and mainstream media (MSM) reports a very biased side of these tragic events. We get to hear the public outrage (especially when race is added to the story) and how trigger happy law enforcement has become. They never focus on the responsibility of an officer to protect others and their-selves. I’m not saying every shooting is the fault of the victim or the police, but what MSM reports seems to be slanted toward the poor victims.
I am not, nor have I ever been, in law enforcement. I have the utmost respect for what law enforcement is faced with and what they do. I know many personally. I know they want to come home to their families. I know the last thing that they want to deal with, legally, emotionally, mentally, is killing another human being. They have taken an oath that most of them live up to. So it bothers me when those who have never been in a life/death situation can spout off moronic criticism after the fact.
Having someone point a weapon at you with the intent of doing you harm or killing you is something everyone who makes those judgements should experience. I’m not trying to defend anyone’s behavior, but if you point a gun, ANY gun, at a police officer I’m not sure what you expect the outcome to be! I don’t care if the gun is an orange plastic squirt gun! Point a stick, shaped like a gun, at someone in the dark and you have a 50-50 chance of them seeing it as a stick. I’m fed up with the stupidity of some people or organizations who think we can live without our law enforcement. They have no idea how much crime, violence, and mayhem our police have stopped! Just the sight of a police car helps to protect citizens. Have I ever met a jerk policeman? Yes I have. But just because I have a problem with whether I stopped at a stop sign or not, and how a cop is talking to me doesn’t mean I think we’d be better off without their service. I know there is lots of emotion in tragedy that ends up in death. When someone points something at you there is only a second to identify what’s pointed at you, and another second or two to shoot. If you don’t, you may not go home that day.
I also have great compassion for someone who lost a loved one through something so senseless. I’d like to think I would put blame where it belongs. Teach your children to not point a paintball marker, airsoft gun (these are especially real looking), or anything at someone who is clearly not playing. Don’t give the police or anyone else any sign that you may be a threat to them. In Jordan, Iraq, or Afghanistan children kill soldiers. In certain cities children are involved in gangs and may shoot you. So understand that being a child is not enough of a reason to stand down and let down your guard.
Children should be taught to trust police. They should be able to know that a police officer is going to protect them. Parents and adults can teach this by example.
We need to do our best to support good law enforcement. Too many good officers are quitting or retiring early. We need these good police to train the young bunch and to keep us on the straight and narrow. Good police need to be there to keep the bad apples out. But every officer needs to know they can go home at night. It’s bad enough we pay them little, but it’s inexcusable that we don’t support them. There will always be a time you need a good policeman.
I’m sure someone will accuse me of blindly supporting the police, but that's not the case. I don't blindly support anyone, especially not agents of the government. There's a lot to dislike about our criminal justice system as a whole and that includes the way policing happens in America...but it's also true that at the root of a lot of the stuff that makes headlines is a decent human being trying to deal with a truly awful situation.
Our entire system of government is based on the idea that the people who show up to the polls are reasonable adults. If We The People act like a bunch of spoiled kids it descends into chaos and madness pretty quick. Reasonable adults require facts before making judgments, recognize the difference between good and evil, and are inclined to give good guys the benefit of the doubt. Spoiled kids whip out the pitchforks and torches entirely on the basis of ridiculous allegations by liars and thugs.
This pattern cannot continue consequence free. You can't keep spitting on the people who keep the bad guys at bay and still enjoy the safety and comfort of a bad guy-free existence. Yes, folks, there are evil people among us. Ugly, savage brutes for whom unjustified violence is as reflexive as drawing breath. Call me "intolerant" if it makes you feel better, but I'll remind you I wasn't the one murdering cartoonists in France or gunning down police officers in New York .
I don’t want anyone to lose a loved one, but by the same token, I don’t want to see another funeral of a police officer. Their job is thankless and we take their service for granted until we really need them. They are truly sheep-dogs in a world of wolves and sheep. Let’s try to stop a tragedy from ever happening again. Remember, law enforcement that are involved in a shooting like this are people too. They have to live with killing another person even if it was justified.
There really are good guys and bad guys in this world and increasingly elements of our society are insisting on persecuting the good guys and giving the bad ones the benefit of every doubt. The cost of that stupidity is too high, folks
Semper Paratus
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