Who Protects and Serves?

To protect and serve.  That term is bandied about.  We hear how dangerous it is to work in law enforcement.  We hear of the justification of new tools and techniques to protect these brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day.  Mostly, it’s a huge load of CRAP.

If you want to thank someone for their service to us in risky jobs, then reach out to the farmers, fishermen/women.  It is they who provide our food and sustain the highest occupational risks of dying, to the tune of about 5 times the risk of those in law enforcement.  When it comes to occupational illness or injuries, police have only slightly higher risk than the foregoing.

Law enforcement officers do indeed put themselves at some amount of risk.  That’s the job or at least it is supposed to be.  This concept of extreme and elevated risk well beyond reality is done for numerous reasons and one agenda is control and power.  That is NOT the job and that is why this delusion of extreme elevated risk must be disabused as must the concept that officers are entitled to protect themselves to the exclusion of all others and the public at large.

Law enforcement has always drawn the power mongers amongst us as well as those who are truly dedicated to improving order and safety within constitutional bounds.  And there has long been an effort to improve how the members of law enforcement are viewed.

Have you ever wondered about the origin of “protect and serve”?  This is from a message board for law enforcement officers:  “wondering if anyone could tell me the origin of the phrase "TO SERVE AND PROTECT"”

The most civilized and actually responsive answer was:

Nice, huh?  Oh, it gets better.  Here’s a few mottos apparently adopted by real officers:

Given the above officers clear and utter disrespect and disregard for others, I have a few suggestions of mottos they should probably adopt:

I want to stress that this is not how I feel about law enforcement officers individually but it is the growing consensus about how officers are viewed collectively and I tend to concur.  Officers need to understand that they have largely brought this upon themselves and it is only they who can change the perception.

Power and control are like a magnet.  Everyone wants them; wants to control others and lord their power over others.  Officers readily act within policies they know to violate individual rights knowing they can say they “acted within policy”.  That is much like claiming one was “just following orders” and it is no excuse for bad acts.

My Lai, Kent State, the siege at Waco.  It almost always starts with young adults trained to follow orders and policies as a matter of habit, trained to turn off their moral compass while in these situations and simply react.  And these are what results.  So it must change.

I’ve heard so many officers say “don’t take the law into your own hands, call us” but that simply isn’t feasible.  Law enforcement is mostly an after the fact clean up job where real crimes against people are involved.  It is up to all of us to put our neighborhoods in order and decide what is or isn’t acceptable within them without depending entirely on law enforcement.  It is up to law enforcement to put their own houses in order so that we can work with them and they must accept what we decide is acceptable or not within our communities.  It has to be a joint effort.

In the end, freedom is what we hold by right, by right of arms, and by consensus.  The keeping of the broad freedoms and rights laid down in our founding documents only work if we are all tolerant and protective of one another’s rights.  The internet is a wonderful place to be expressive but we must get out into our neighborhoods and set the standards on the ground because that is generally where they must be defended.  And each of us has the right to defend them even and especially against overly aggressive law enforcement.

Dear Officer:
I don't want to kill you.
I don't even want to wound you.
I admire your courage and the commitment you've made to help others,
often at risk of own your life.
I hope you won't come for me,
because if you do, one of us will die.
It may be you.
I've done nothing wrong.
I don't intend to. ….

You should go read the rest of that! 

Who protects and serves?  Most of us in one way or another.  Whether it is fishing, farming, or in law enforcement, they most certainly have jobs that are intended to serve society’s needs.  They should all be thanked and treated with respect.  In fact, we should all be treated with respect and our rights respected.

Sadly, there is a growing segment drawn by the temptation of power and control into the role of JGT, Jackbooted Government Thugs.  It is these amongst the law enforcement ranks who easily resort to blackjacks, nightsticks, electroshock weapons; willing to toss incendiary flash bangs and shoot bullets into homes where children may be present.

There is a growing level of violence in our society and it is at least partly law enforcement activities that escalate that violence.  Each of you must speak up to say “NO”; that you will not simply follow policy or orders in violation of your oaths and our fundamental laws.  We don’t want to shoot back but what choice do you leave us when your policies allow you to burst into our homes in the middle of the night?

And never forget that, just as you judge others by “the company they keep”, that you too are judged by the acts of other officers and law enforcement collectively.  Put your own houses in order.  Seriously, we outnumber you 1800 to 1.  Work with us, not against us.

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