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Following up: The Marine, the NYPD, and General Priniciples - Input Junkie
October 19th, 2011
07:51 am


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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?

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/505829.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
Date:October 19th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure the protests wouldn't have spread if the first one had been handled non-violently. A lot of people who worked hard to good lives have taken significant economic damage (with no improvement likely any time soon), and that's what's driving the protests
[User Picture]
Date:October 19th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
yeah, but the first pepper spray incident increased large media mention from almost nothing to all over.
[User Picture]
Date:October 20th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
I saw recently someone citing "The police are one layoff away from joining us" as a sign-spotted-at-an-Occupy.
[User Picture]
Date:October 19th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
1) yeah, there are signs re police=99%. I made comment about one in grail75's repost of kylecassidy's photoset on Huffington.

2) I think there's a very important distinction between attacking civilians on purpose vs either by accident or even accepted side effect.

And I view people who argue that there's no distinction to be made with great suspicion, for reasons outside this thread that are likely fairly obvious.
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
The few Marines I have known take very seriously the ideal of not killing civilians. That doesn't mean they're always successful, or that they really think about the inevitable civilian deaths that come with military action. But they can tell the difference between harming civilians in a hostile situation and wading into a crowd of peaceful protestors with a baton.

The worst offenders on the "killing civilians" front are the death-from-the-skies people, of course.
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