We’re urged to regard armed government workers as “heroes” of the Omaha Beach variety and worthy of North Korean-style Dear Leader funerals when they “fall” in “the line of duty.”
And they might be entitled to such deference and awe – if in fact they conducted themselves heroically. But what’s “heroic” about hiding behind the legs of “officer safety”? A hero is by definition someone who puts his safety at risk. We seem to have a problem, Houston.
Semantically, at least.
These AGWs are (or pretend to be) neurotically fearful; that every day might be their last – doing work that is far less dangerous than roofing. But unlike roofers, AGWs are trained to hair-trigger belligerence and lethality at the first hint of what they feel to be a “threat” to their “safety.” It need not be an actual, objective threat – as is required of you or I with regard to pointing a gun at someone. Only that they “feared” for their “safety.” Something unintelligible because undefinable, “fear” being a matter of perception and “safety” something much more vague than he was trying to kill me and I had no other choice (backed up with physical evidence such as the assailant having been armed).
Before there were armed government workers, there were cops – and these generally prided themselves on never having had to unholster their gun during an entire career. These cops were far more actually heroic than today’s armed government workers in that they were trained to resort to force only as a last resort and to lethal force only in extremis.
Which brings up another problem – or rather, its possible cause.
It is the psychological element of kitting out a man (the term used loosely) like a Terror Trooper from a dystopian sci-fi novel. Body armor, multiple pistols and a Batman belt with three spare mags, web gear, etc. Anyone who dresses like this is probably going to act like this.
Probably compounded by the likelihood that dressing up like this appeals to a certain personality type. Which appears to be the type wanted these days – though not by us.
The men who stormed the beach at Omaha – in the face of German machine gun fire – risked their lives for the sake of the lives of people they didn’t even know. That is heroic. It would also be heroic to refuse to abuse people you don’t even know, solely because you were ordered to or because The Law so commands.
To be heroic is to be disobedient when circumstances demand it; to not be a mindless automaton or – much worse – a nihilistically indifferent one who is “just doing my job.” To abuse people on that basis – even if the abuse is only a fine for transgressing some busybody edict such as those requiring adults to buckle up or only cross the street when the mindless light says they may – is a worse thing than to abuse them because you enjoy doing so.
And as far from heroic as hiding behind the legs of “officer safety.”
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