Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life and Death...

"Tell me, would you kill

to save a life..."

30 Seconds to Mars - Hurricane

This is a question all police officers have to face on a daily basis.  Every day, when I strap on my "sword" and pin that symbol of the public trust on my shirt, I have to steel myself to the fact that today could be the day.

Today might be the day someone forces my hand.  Today might be the day I come upon someone holding a gun to the head of the convenience store clerk demanding he empty the register.  Today could possibly be the day I meet the guy who is bent upon self destruction but hasn't the "courage" to do it himself, so he has chosen suicide by cop.  Today could even be the day someone has decided I am a target worthy of their anger.

I any case, I will have to decide if I will kill to save a life.  Whether it be someone else's or my own.

In my mind and in my heart that decision was made long ago, and I hope I will never have to put it into action.  The notion that police officers ride around all day looking for someone to shoot is asinine and makes my blood boil.

Those who would "Monday morning quarterback" the decisions made by my brothers and sisters in blue, tan, grey or green have probably never even had to think about the possibility that they might have to use potentially lethal force against another human being.  These are the folks who rely on us to save their ass, then they bitch that it took us too long to get there.  Then when we save someone else, or God forbid ourselves, from death or great bodily injury we used too much force.

To those people, there is not much I can say to change their minds.  They have already made their decisions that all police are corrupt and "trigger happy".  No amount of talking will convince them otherwise.

It is a sad state of affairs when our actions are judged by those who have never walked an inch, much less a mile, in our shoes.

Do you think I get paid too much?  Do you think I don't deserve the retirement plan I am working toward?  Do you think being a police officer is an easy job?

Then think for just a minute and tell me...

Would you kill to save a life?


Jay said...

Yes – That was so easily answered, three letters that didn’t take long to type but then it was easily answered because in all reality it is very unlikely to be a situation I’ll have to face. When I get up and go to work my biggest concern is that I hope the train is not late or that the rain will hold off or that the annoying customer I had last week won’t be back again too soon. Would I kill someone who was trying to unlawfully kill – Yes if that was the only option and I was in a position to achieve a positive outcome then I’d like to think that I’d give it my best shot. Would my presence provoke a situation of kill or be killed, I hope not. If I was in an armed robbery situation then it would be a case of take what you want and leave. It wouldn’t be me that stepped in and said stop what you’re doing you’re coming with me. It wouldn’t be my simple presence that announced that your options have now become very limited. I’d be the person on the phone reporting a crime so typing yes becomes very easy. Yes… there I did it again. Would I have the training or the skill to successfully complete the action. Well according to what’s on the television then absolutely but in reality probably not but then I guess it would all depend on the situation. In my world it would be a case of hesitation and second guessing…. but yes if that was my only option and I thought it was achievable then I would try. Would I be able to live with what I had done. Again yes and this yes is more easily typed than the first. I’d have to otherwise I’d just become a delayed victim. If I needed help in doing so then I’d immediately seek it out but my mind set would have to be that his actions dictated my response and the eventual outcome. It was his actions not mine that decided what followed. The image of what I had done would have to be conquered to get my life back in order but then in my life I wouldn’t be getting up, putting on a uniform, pinning on a badge and going back out on the streets with the real possibility of facing it all over again. In my world the odds of it happening once is astronomical for it to happen twice is incalculable. In my world I get to wonder if the train is going to be late or if the rain will hold off . My world wouldn’t be exactly the same as before, how could it, but it would have a greater chance of finding its equilibrium.
This is why people, like your good self, deserve nothing but our support and praise. This is why we have to stop seeing just the uniform and start also seeing the man or woman who got up in the morning and put it on. Recognise the authority of the office and recognise the fact that the office is maintained by a person who is much like ourselves but who has taken on a difficult job, a job that not everyone is able or willing to step up and do. We must treat the office and the person who has pulled on a uniform with the respect they so rightly deserve and most importantly we need to ask where would society be without them.
I guess I have wandered away from your original question and so I’ll re-iterate that the simple answer would have to be …. Yes … but thanks to you and those of your ilk it is unlikely to be tested.
Thank you

HonkingAntelope said...

My answer would be yes - if not other alternative was available.

Unfortunately, the police didn't do themselves any favors during the Dorner manhunt by dumping 100+ bullets at a pickup truck before someone bothered to check if it was their guy inside. It's nothing short of a miracle that only one person was seriously wounded as a result.

Anonymous said...

I would

Tigger said...

First, I would like to thank you for your continued service and thank you and your family for the sacrifices you make.

Would I kill to save a life? Yes. But could I assess the situation accurately, determine if lethal force is justified and discharge my firearm in less than a few seconds? No, I would be paralyzed by fear, indecision or both; basically, I'd be dead.

Do I think you get paid/compensated too much? Absolutely not. You are not paid nearly enough. You deal with the scum of the earth; get spit on, pissed on, vomited on, bled on; punched, kicked, yelled at, sworn at; endure rain, sleet, snow, 90 temps wearing Kevlar; are hit by vehicles and shot at; and then you come home to your family...unless it is the day you and your family make the ultimate sacrifice. EVERY 54 HOURS a law enforcement officer is MURDERED in this country, how can anyone put a price on that or ever say you are paid too much and don't deserve the retirement plan?

A policeman is a peace time soldier always at war. Please be safe out there.

"Don't judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." --Native American Proverb

TechnicalBuddha said...

My honest answer is I don't know. It's easy for me to try to say yes or no right now, but I won't know for sure until I'm in the heat of the moment and I have to make that decision. I would like to say yes. I can see myself saving someone, even putting myself in harm's way to save them but whether or not I am actually capable of doing that? I don't know. I don't know how to test for that capability. Saying is one thing, doing is another.

I try my best to continue to learn about these kind of things and keep my moral compass pointed towards the straight and narrow. I have never been put in a situation like that before and hopefully never will. But the world is not made to my hopes and dreams so if I am put in a situation where I need to answer that question and act on it, I pray to God and hope that everything I've learned up to that point leads to me making the right decision and able to do the right thing. I don't want to have any regrets.

Cinderella911 said...

Well said