Most adults remember that pointed speech given by the fictional Colonel Jessup, portrayed by Jack Nicholson, in ‘A Few Good Men’. While, in that specific fictional scenario, one could clearly argue that the Colonel’s moral compass may have been slightly off, there were a lot of truths spoken during his lecture; many, as he pointed out, the unsworn and unenlisted could never comprehend nor relate to. More than that, these are truths that the American people go about their daily lives conveniently never having to give a second thought to. For those who never saw the movie nor get the reference, here is the full text:
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, *saves lives*. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a *damn* what you think you are entitled to!”
I know this may come as a shock to some and may even offend a few, but you DO realize that US soldiers deployed over seas actually kill people, correct? Not only that, but they do so UNDER ORDERS….orders meant to protect the republic, our country, our freedoms, our way of life and, yes, sometimes even our interests.
As recent as about 2005, US Marines deployed overseas and assigned to areas known to be riddled with IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), intended solely to injure or kill US soldiers, were given some very specific orders and guidelines. If, in the dark of night, they were to encounter a M.A.M. (Military Age Male) carrying a shovel and, subsequently, digging a hole, they were ordered to, WITHOUT WARNING, shoot and kill him. There was no warning. There was no ‘show me your hands’ or pat downs. There was no stop and frisk. In fact, that man was often dispatched without ever even knowing our boys were there. The rationale being, obviously, that a man digging a hole in the cover of night in an area known to contain countless IED’s was digging that hole for the sole purpose of adding that total.
Our Marines did make up these orders. Our government did. Somewhere along the line, someone saw fit to change these orders. As a result, the Marines changed their tactics in compliance with the change. See. That’s the way the real world works. Was it likely argued that taking a softer, less proactive approach would cost lives? Probably. Were lives lost directly as a result of a less proactive approach? Very likely. Nonetheless, orders are obeyed and adhered to.
A lot of unspeakable things have taken place in our history to secure and ensure our way of life. Our ability to live in ignorance of that fact is simply another freedom granted to us by those very acts. They are a necessary evil that most citizens take for granted and a small percentage of our citizens are even willing to volunteer for. It is for that reason that we cherish the mental and physical sacrifices made by those who have served, continue to serve and who have lost their lives in service.
You may be asking, “I’m here supporting law enforcement. What gives with the military rant?”. I’m glad you asked.
There is a saying in law enforcement that “the inmates run the jail”. For those serving in our prisons, that is meant to be taken literally. For those serving on the streets, it’s just as applicable as a metaphor. Throughout my years as a corrections officer, there would times when I would be in charge of a housing unit containing 96 inmates…96 people convicted of crimes they were CAUGHT committing….96 inmates being housed on bunks, not in cells. 96 inmates vs 1 cop. I don’t care how big, fast or strong you may be, anyone entering that arena does so knowing full well that, if the inmates ever want you dead, you’re dead.
Similarly, there are currently 328.2 million United States residents. Of that 382.2 million, roughly 750-800,000 serve as sworn police officers. Any notion that the American police officer is ‘running’ anything is delusional at best. If each one of us sat down and truly thought about how fragile our way of life is here at home, we’d all be up pacing the floors all night.
The reality is that, much like the work being done by our soldiers, the average everyday self-absorbed US citizen gives little thought to the work being done by the American police officer; other than when it’s time to trash talk it, that is. Yet, while there is little attention being paid to it, every statistic and piece of factual data shows that the American police officer is more professional, effective, accurate, and proficient than ever before in our history. Now, politicians and the emotions surrounding specific incidents might have you believe otherwise. However, the numbers simply don’t lie.
Just as the sometimes ‘ugly’ work being done by our soldiers, there are some truths about the work being done by the American police officer that we simply cannot overlook anymore. The average US citizen will go their entire life without ever having been in a real fight, let alone a fight for their life. Rarely does a police officer complete his career without multiple. The average US citizen will never know the feeling of being handed a set of hand cuffs and directed to go arrest someone three times their size and with a criminal history as long as they are tall, just to have that same perp ball up his fists, look you dead in the face and say, “Not today”.
There is no level of force being used by a uniformed police officer that will ever look ‘clean’. At that point, it is after all a fight! It’s not meant to look pretty. However, no matter how shocking or offensive it may be to some, there ARE times where it is necessary, especially if we are to preserve our way of life.
The last year or so has been a real life test drive of what happens when you lose control of the ‘jail’ and the inmates start to feel their numbers. We have seen outright anarchy normalized. We saw cities crippled and burned. We saw police officers held hostage IN THEIR OWN BUILDING and chained inside. Ask yourself, if the perpetrators of these acts would be willing to do this to the guardians of your freedoms, what do you think they’d be willing to do to YOU? Sadly, if you live in a major city anywhere in the US where “reforms” are the norm, you’re getting a taste of what they’d be willing to do. Again, the numbers don’t lie and crime is soaring seemingly everywhere.
Police officers do not send people to prison. Police officers do not sentence people to exorbitant prison sentences for relatively petty crimes. Police officers don’t parole violent criminals who, in some cases, have committed acts of terrorism against our own people and/or uniformed police officers. So, to say that there needs to be ‘criminal justice reform’ actually would be on point. However, law enforcement is the least corrupted, least corruptible and least fallible part of that system. The American police officers, just like those US Marines picking off IED planters in the still of the night, are enforcing laws they didn’t write and, in some cases, weren’t even alive when they were written. If you don’t like those laws, change them…change them legally, responsibly and through the process that exists. Amnesty for the anarchists in the absence of that change will not end well for any of us.
Rarely do I ever get through a discussion about this topic or the like without that one entitled prick sneering, “Well. They signed up for it.” You’re correct. ‘They’ did…and YOU didn’t. And we should all thank God in both cases.
We are Brothers Before Others; and the truth will always be more important to us than your feelings, whether you can handle it or not.