nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Following up: The Marine, the NYPD, and General Priniciples

In my recent post, I linked to a marine telling off abusive NYPD in the most emphatic terms. It was a fine rousing defense of people I'm sympathetic to, and I couldn't figure out how to fit larger issues into the post, so I didn't.

However, [personal profile] chickenfeet laid out those issues in comments: "So this guy cites his record of service defending people "I fougt to protect" and claims there is "no honor in hurting unarmed civilians" yet he, and his family members, serve(d) in organisations that have killed, wounded and maimed countless thousands of unarmed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. There's some serious cognitive dissonance going on here though I suspect it boils down to "beating Americans = bad, killing Iraqis = no problem"."

Partly, my feeling is that everything has to start someplace, including decency, and it generally doesn't start as benevolence to the whole human race. I don't think it does any good to write off partial decency as being of no value. The marine was invoking a general principle of not attacking unarmed people (in fact, he started there), and then went to American vs. Iraqi/Afghanistani distinctions. If he isn't as good as he should be about applying the first half, that doesn't mean he has no concern for it. And also, I have no doubt that he thinks he's making Americans safer by being [1] in the Marines, whether he's right or not.

I don't know what the demonstrators are doing to recruit the police, though it wouldn't surprise me if there are signs saying "The police are in the 99%" or somesuch. Certainly there was no one else in that video saying that the police are doing something wrong.

The other thing that struck me was that I'm more cynical about the police than he is-- I've been reading The Agitator for some time, and the NYPD isn't wildly out of character for American police. Is a strongly held dream more valuable than feeling as though people at least currently are what they do?

[1] I'd like to get away from "serving" as the term for various sorts of government work, but I'm not sure what a satisfactory substitute would be. Some government work is dangerous, some of it is very useful, but the same could be said about civilian work. Why shouldn't the guy who's up on roofs during a Chicago heat wave repairing air conditioners be described as serving?

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