Courage – part 2

By Nathan Barton

Courage, as discussed earlier, is a virtue.  It is also a requirement for many occupations.

“First responders” is a fairly new label, referring to firefighters, emergency medical technicians/paramedics, and law-enforcement officers.  That is, those persons (usually government employees) who are the first to respond to an accident, illness, disaster, or crime, including attacks.  Most often, it refers to law enforcement: police officers.

They have been elevated, in the public eye, to be the equivalent of military (defense) forces  We are constantly urged to thank them for their service, and to honor them in various ways, including discounts at local convenience stores and the like.

We are constantly told of the risks to life, limb, and mental health, that they face on a daily basis. Especially of being attacked by bad guys, exposure to countless hours and accidents on the roads and streets of America, long shifts, and the impact that has on their families.

We are told of the great physical and mental demands on them, and the character traits they have to carry out their duties.  The training, the constant honing of skills, the heavy burdens (physical and mental).  The old images of the coffee-swilling, donut-breath, beer-belly smokey, county mountie or town clown are old history.  Today they are bulky from their body armor under their blue or black uniforms (and bright safety vests), with belts and harnesses heavy with weapons, radios, ammo, and all the rest.

But above all, we are told of their physical bravery: the courage and quickness of mind needed for their instant response to danger to citizens and the peace.

It is, at best, an ideal which is not often achieved.  Both physically and morally, we find that many first responders are lacking in the attributes of heroes.  Or even of people doing their everyday jobs. But that is called “being human.”

However, it is sometimes just a sham, especially for police officers.  Training is often substandard: the standards are published and well-known, but not met. Requirements are waived.  Tickets are punched without the work actually being done.  Test scores are fudged. Cheating is common.  And often, the training seems to whip up fears and fill trainees with dread and exaggeration about the risks they face.  They are taught (implicitly) that their first responsibility is their own safety “so you can continue to do your duty.” The safety of the people that they are sworn to protect is second. (And the liberty that they are likewise sworn to protect? Is it even third?) By word and example, they are taught that they are above the laws: exempt from them. Legal moral, and even physical law!

There are many first responders who are sincere, dedicated, and do their best to carry out their duties.  Even though part of and supporting a corrupt and immoral system. Even though tolerating comrades who are NOT honest, sincere, moral, and dedicated. But even if the “oathkeepers” are 90 or 99% of the force, they are too few.  Because too many of their comrades are corrupt, arrogant, power-lusting, security-seeking bullies.

And apparently, as is often the case with bullies, physical cowards.

We’ve seen several examples of that, some going back decades now. Police failed at Columbine High School in Colorado to enter the school building and thus prevent execution-style murders by a couple of insane teenage monsters.  This happened again in the high school killings in Florida. There is clear evidence that the school resource officers exhibited physical cowardice in the face of the danger. And as a result, allowed more people to die.

Now, from the Las Vegas attack, with the largest number of people killed and wounded in recent American history, we find yet more examples. Police officers displayed, on camera, by their own actions and words, that they are physical cowards.  Afraid to risk their lives to carry out their duties. Freedom Outpost provides a summary, and access to the recordings.

I am sure that this trait – this lack of courage – is NOT shared by all men and women in police or sheriff’s uniform. But there is evidence that too many DO lack the physical courage which we are told is necessary for their profession.

Especially since their training and tactics seem designed (intentionally or not) to disguise that fact from the public, their superiors, and themselves. And we have many examples of incidents, some resulting in the death or wounding of innocent people, in which we must consider whether or not a lack of physical courage played a part.  We have all seen and heard of examples of massive over-response to relatively small provocations.  Of hundreds of rounds fired in response to the equivalent of “she’s got a knife!” Of children with toys in parks shot and killed without any serious attempt to confirm that they really had a weapon. And many more examples.

A lack of physical courage is often due to the poor example of parents and peers, and poor teaching, and failure to establish a firm moral foundation for lives. So, perhaps we should be grateful that there are not MORE first-responders without courage.

No physical courage.

For we know that like far too many in the military, the men and women of too many police forces, sheriffs offices, fire departments and districts, and medical service units, demonstrate on a daily basis that they have no MORAL courage. They fail to uphold their oaths, fail to stand up to corrupt politicians and other criminals, and fail to carry out their duties.

So should it come as a surprise when some of their subordinates fail to display any kind of courage?

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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