Thread: The Cop in Class
1/10/2006 11:53pm, #111
Well, this turned out to be a very interesting discussion. It got me to thinking about my attitudes towards intervening, my attitudes towards putting my life on the line, and how my MA training has impacted that.
I think that from an early age, I've had family who didn't really buy into the idea of heroic sacrifice. For my parents, while someone might be a heroic police officer or soldier, the sacrifice itself was not to be celebrated, but rather was a tragedy. To them, the police officer or soldier who is killed in the line of duty is ultimately a victim of society, someone helpless in his own way who made a sacrifice with a great tragic outcome and a small beneficial outcome.
My mom would tell me about how some male friends of hers went to Vietnam and came back with drug addictions and psychological problems. For her, the act of going to serve in the military was not a meaningful sacrifice, but rather the government throwing the brave and the innocent through a meaningless meat grinder. I think that for her, the soldier is the ultimate victim, because he makes the noblest of sacrifices but that sacrifice is always abused, or misused, by the government that orders him into action.
Likewise, my dad's view was also pretty much cynical. I remember that he actually used to tell me, when I was like 6 years old, "If you go to war you'll be the first to die." Thing is, my dad is Japanese, and he grew up in Japan during World War II. I think that to him, because of his experiences in the context of Imperial Japan and the devastation that World War II and the Pacific War wrought, the military to him is a giant con game where souls and bodies are used by corrupt, imperialistic government officials to promote an essentially evil agenda.
So, coming from this family background, my initial approach to taking up arms, or to putting myself on the line in on the street, was decidedly negative. I remember that in one point in time I was considering joining the military, but decided not to because it would have psychologically devastated both my parents.
When I was around 15 years old I started studying martial arts seriously for the first time. My instructor and mentor at the time was an ex-marine. He introduced me to concepts like the "citizens as sheep" concept or the "you must enter battle as one already dead" concept to me for the first time, and he had a tremendous impact on my philosophy and world views as I was growing up. I think that in many ways he can be seen as a counterbalance to the attitudes of my parents as I was growing up.
(Incidentally, his personal position vis a vis sacrifice was that sacrificing your own life is never justified, unless the sacrifice will save the life of another.)
So, where do I stand now? Well, I think I'm more "sheep" than "sheepdog". Because of my martial arts training, I realize how vulnerable I am. If several determined attackers come after me, I could easily goes down. If someone assaults me with a blade, I could easily bleed out. If someone shoots me in the back of the head without warning, I realize just how hopless that situation is for me. Before I did any MA, I might have had vague fears about being a victim. Now I'm not really afraid of being a victim anymore, but I understand much more clearly how helpless one unarmed man is, even if he's been an enthusiastic martial arts hobbyist for 8 years now.
Even though I understand and accept my vulnerability to random violence, though, I don't carry a handgun or wear armor. I guess that fundamentally makes me a sheep, since I accept vulnerabillity and the spectre of defeat.
That being said, I don't really feel any imperative to risk my own life for others, in the abstract. Because intellectually I understand my vulnerabilities, I wouldn't run around the corner to investigate gunfire. My gut instinct is to seek safety, or save myself. My personality leans somewhat towards the perfectionistic or the obessive compulsive, and that makes me predisposed to caution rather than quick action.
Furthermore, I understand that fear, hesitation, and caution makes me a worse fighter, not a better one. In a life or death situation, it's these things that will make me hesitate, and contribute to my getting killed rather than surviving. This is one of the things that my old mentor taught me back when I was a teenager. So, I fully understand that I am not a warrior, since my mindset isn't right.
That being said, I've surprised myself at one point in time with my reaction vis a vis a pending violent situation, where my initial reaction was to get ready to fight rather than to seek maximum personal safety.
One evening I was in a parking lot with some friends, including my then kickboxing coach. We had just finished watching a movie, and were about to start heading back home.
There was a man in a car out in the parking lot who was starting to shove around his girlfriend, who was also in that car. The kickboxing coach was totally enraged by this, and was getting ready to go over and intervene, but the couple drove off before anything could happen.
I remember thinking how going over to assault someone in their car was a wonderful way to get shot. At the same time, though, if someone as close to me and important to me as the coach was going to put himself in danger, deep down inside I felt very strongly that I couldn't bear to not try and help him.
Nothing came of the incident, and yet for the first time I felt something akin to what Yrkoon was describing earlier; the feeling that if I didn't help, I'd have horrendous guilt.
That dosen't prove anything about myself, but looking back on the incident, I find it very interesting. Perhaps under certain circumstances I do have an urge to intervene, even if it's not something that I intellectually acknowledge, or am by and large awareness. Perhaps even though I wouldn't want to risk my life for a stranger, if it's someone who I really respect and look up to who is in danger, that's when the intervention/assistance guilt dynamic kicks in.
To clarify, when I think about certain situations, like helping someone attack a guy in a car in a parking lot, or if I think about a home invasion situation with my family, intellectually the biggest thing I'm aware of would be my own fallibility. The guy in a car could pull a 1911 from the glove and trivially blow me away. If 3 guys with shotguns did a home invasion while I was there, I'd be totally helpless because of their numbers and superior firepower. But perhaps if I were actually in a situation like that and someone I cared about were threatened, I'd have this powerful urge to do something against all rationality.
I don't know. But this thread really made me think about this a lot. Thanks for a great thread, guys.
1/11/2006 5:45am, #112
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
- Brooklyn, NY
Ok....found this thread well into its later pages.....read the first 3 and the last...so if what I write wason another page, forgive my lack of patience.
The starting post was about a LEO asshole......hey, I have met a few - and I am a NYC LEO of sorts. The 'police' sometimes are abit forceful...sometimes egotistically agressive in their overall dealings with people, on and off the job. I have faced that a couple of times myself in the civ world....I am a 'LEO' but a 'corrections LEO' > ie 'a frickin jail guard'...and out of about 10 crossed paths off the job with police in NYC - -I have gotten professional courtesy 7 times (ie - recogition that I am a professional LEO also) - and actually had a few harder times than a civie because of my 'jail guard' status. In all 10 mentioned - I did what a 'peace officer' is empowered to do...keep the peace. With arrest powers really no greater than a civilian...just being a person that cant walk away when a woman is being beaten to a pulp by some stupid prick boy friend, or the drunken dickweed that assualted a lil chinese guy at the local dunkin doughnuts (a funny incident -- and turned out well, even for that assaulter) or a thief obviously breaking into a car that was not his. Of that 10 > 3 wild hair cops - 2 drew guns on me even AFTER I identified myself as a LEO..WITHOUT a carry gun!
The nature of being a cop -- or any LEO -- is one where after time you kinda become more aggressive than the norm. Nature of the beast. As far as personal protection firearms go - cops have the whole "a cop is a cop 24/7/365' thing going on - ingrained into them. In fact, a NYC P.O. was recently killed off duty responding to a break in near his home. Me? As a peace officer..all I am (supposedly) required to do is drop a phone call and summon the real
po-leeeece in such a situation. Thats what I would have done as long as there was no obvious harm being done to another person or dangerous property damage - like arson - involved. For my fellow 'officers' - The MR and MRS Bake nemonic - the major felonies - I will (hopefully) respond to any of the MR and MRS >Murder, Rape, Sodomy< And will call in a burglary to the real cops (And stand by - mostly, without trying arrest)....but will also intervene to arson.
I do have and own my personal weapon - and truthfully, when ya work LEO in a place - you often (as a peace officer) carry it as what its called in the paper work. A 'personal protection weapon' - because after you have been involved with criminals for awhile - -even in as big a city as NYC is - you WILL run into past 'client' in the damndest of places...and you never can be sure what their reaction can be to seeing any LEO.
Still, I have my lil jammy -- but admit to VERY rarely carrying it....not an option for police officers. Only take her into carry when I know I might run into a part of NYC that could see me running into past clients as I move around.
THEY dont know that though...doubt any are here to read that...lol.
Then again, I have heard far too many times that I should always carry her...cause one NEVER knows.
After 20 years of LEO - I still am thinking about that.
Overall, a dick is a dick - LEO or gun or not. They can be difficult to deal with at times...and thats unavoidable. Ya gotta work with the individual situation as it comes.....BTW - the starting post? IF that LEO was such a dick he was arrested for his stupidity - ya'all might have set the wheels in motion for his eventual removal from service. NO sincere cop I have ever know has ANY use for the ones unfit for duty.....the blue wall of silence? NO real LEO'cop wants such as their fellow. or partner or out there plaing the fool in public. God knows, the law enforcers get hammered by the media and the left lawyers hard enough without any moron makin their job harder. Thats my experience with cops and real LEO's - maybe not yours...but it IS mine.
LOL - in a way, knowing myself and my nature - I CHOSE to be a jail guard rather than a cop in NYC. It was a long time ago - and many readers were kids when I made that decision. Get the same pay..mostly the same benefits....but knew I could NEVER come upon some skid that had punched out a child and I caught them in the act of raping that kid...and then just threw them on the wall and read the miranda rights as I snapped on the cuffs. nope...knew me to well...knew I would have gone nutz and would have needed a partner to pull me off that bastard...before I damn near killed him. Knew I might face bludgeons, fists, feet or improvised weapons on Rikers - but NOT uzis or shotguns. Knew I would deal with some of the really nasty drek of NYC society...and even have to maybe protect them fro their kind or themselves.
I get much the $$$$ and benefits of a cop - but am not charged with what they have to face and try to life a decent life regardless. And ya know what?
MOST of the cops I know...tell me - they wouldnt want my job at twice the money, either.
To each their own....I guess. And 'firemen'? Get respect from BOTH cops and jail guards..and again, get much the same basic renumeration for their efforts.
And this lil visit to one of my favorite sites is over for now.
At 5:45am - -I need some sleep.
Last edited by RobG; 1/11/2006 5:48am at .
1/11/2006 10:51am, #113
Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
I think your mom is right on.
1/11/2006 11:34am, #114Even though I understand and accept my vulnerability to random violence, though, I don't carry a handgun or wear armor. I guess that fundamentally makes me a sheep, since I accept vulnerabillity and the spectre of defeat.You can't make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.
1/11/2006 12:33pm, #115Originally Posted by PirateJon
My sister is an A.D.A in Brooklyn, NY. One time, she needed to accompany two police plainclothes officers to one of the nastier housing projects near Coney Island in order to interview a witness. The officers pulled their vehicle over about eight blocks before their destination and got out of the car. My sister asked them what was going on. The officers said: "We're getting our vests out of the trunk."
They're on duty in one of the more problematic sectors of the city, and the vest was still not worth the hassle most of the time until they had to go into a particularly troublesome building.
1/11/2006 3:50pm, #116Originally Posted by Phrost
1/11/2006 4:05pm, #117
1/11/2006 5:59pm, #118
I'm pretty sure it was in hagakure first.
1/11/2006 6:26pm, #119