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Friday, January 9, 2009

No Room For Mistakes

The following was written by AskHodder contributer Andres Lorenzo Garcia

Police officers put their life on the line everyday. Underpaid, understaffed, overworked. They perform a duty most of us hardly ever think of. It's a hard job, full of stresses, I can only pretend to know, and dangers I can only imagine. Excellence demands that we hold our law enforcement officials to the HIGHEST standards. What happened on New Years Day, not but a week ago, in Oakland California was egregious if not unbelievable, and most certainly unacceptable

In our social contract we give the government, the state, the leviathan almost complete dominion over the use of force. We encharge upon it our defense from those who threaten us externally, and from those who covet our goods internally. We deny ourselves the satiating pleasure of inflicting murderous and righteous pain on those who have erred us. We do this out of a sense of justice, consistency, impartiality, and truth. We tell the gods that sit on high, in there marble temples, to adjudicate fairly, and we entrust upon them the will to use force to enact their countenance. 

We give up soooo much to the government, some argue, with much reason, too much. But we do so out of the hope, as blind as it is, that together we as a people will build a better place, than a place of chaos. Lawlessness is not an option. It is through this agreement that our property is not only protected but enhanced. We can trade goods, develop skills, establish meaningful lasting relationships, and THRIVE instead of just surviving. We give up our natural right to inflict pain on our neighbor in exchange for the GOOD LIFE. 

Such is a heavy burden that officers of the LAW and of THE PEACE, must bear with them. They're not mere referees of detached and random laws, but the sentinels of a contract, a belief. The understanding that together we can achieve SO much more than as individuals. We're not wandering in the woods fearful of bears and whatever else may hasten our extinction, but flying through space and splitting the atom. There's is the task of exemplary citizenship. Not just existing in our society, but actively working to maintain and improve it. 

It may be true, and often is, that we do not appreciate those who protect our liberty, adequately. There are soldiers who die without mention, and officers who deter crime without reward. But there's is not a glamorous life. There's is a life of duty, a life of service. They are one of the many pillars of our society, and must act accordingly. 

To murder in cold blood. To exert power without restraint. To act without reason. That is the behavior of animals, and animals we are not. 

Our grief must be tempered with purpose. Our rage must be quenched with justice. Our actions must speak louder than words. We believe in a thing called society. And to those entrusted in the protection of it, there are no room for mistakes. 

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