Sunday, January 26, 2014

Heroes; In Uniform And Out


The other day someone posted on my Facebook page a poster celebrating the nobility of police officers.  The poster said "all men are created equal…and then a few become police officers".  Well, this got my dander up a bit and I commented on that post; I said empty slogans mean nothing because there are good and bad men in all walks of life, citing the example of the NY Police Chief caught trafficking in child porn.  I also posted a picture of a troop plane carrying our troops to the Middle East and dryly offered that "guess these guys are somehow inferior to the police."   Well, that didn't go over well with the police on the board…I attracted no "likes" and was rebuffed by a poster who cited the many challenges a Police Officer faces.  

Well, anyone who has read my blog for awhile know that I have defended and praised the police for what they do.  However, that does not in any way demean folks who are heroes in other occupational fields, including those who wear no uniform at all!  

It seems, of late, I've seen more and more of this "banty rooster" boosterism from cops, fire fighters and EMT's.  Somehow they have begun to think themselves more noble than other folks, than they are somehow above criticism, and that their jobs, above all others, test the very extremes of human tolerance.   It's as if these folks are never caught hanging around a donut house and are constantly dodging bullets and that "joe civilian" all hate him and call him scum.  

Any of my readers here in Arizona will have read, just since the first of the year, of a cop who had sex with a 15 year old girl, of another cop caught stealing pastries from a Quik Stop, of a cop shooting an unarmed man with his hands in the air, and a cop convicted of killing an unarmed man in a wheel chair.  Then this week we find a NY Police Chief trafficking in child porn.  Does this mean all cops are bad?  Hell no!  Most cops are good, but they are all human, and it only proves there are rotten cops and rotten military men and rotten ones in all fields of endeavor.  So when cops are praised just for being cops, that they are all more noble for having chosen that profession, well that's just absurd.

Well lets talk about dodging bullets and what that proves to be worth to our society.  A basic army grunt will average three to five deployments to Afghanistan during his four year career.  He will be dodging bullets, IED's and for that privilege he earns $18,000 dollars a year.  The average Phoenix cop makes over $72,000 a year and when his shift is over he gets to go home to wife and the kiddies.  The military grunt will, if he's lucky, go back to his tent and he'll spend fully half of his service time 10,000 miles away from wife and kids.

If that same grunt decides to make a career of the military he'll retire at half of his basic pay (35,000 a year for a mid-level non commissioned officer), or $17,500 a year in retirement.  That same Phoenix cop will retire with four times that amount.

Cops more noble, face more danger than our military?  I don't think so.  In fact I would argue that a Circle K or 7-11 night clerk in an urban ghetto faces far more danger to his life than many cops…and he does the job for minimum wage and does so unarmed!

And our life heroes aren't necessarily wearing any uniform at all!

My cancer surgeon spent twelve years in pre-med, medical school and internships before she could even lift a knife and cut into me.  She had spent another twenty years honing her surgical skills so that she could recognize and excise my tumors.  And those nurses in the chemo ward all had college degrees and years of training so that they could read white cell counts, steroid levels and red blood cell counts so that I wouldn't go into septic shock at the first injection of the chemo drugs.  Those people were all heroes to me.

And if cops think they are treated badly, if they are offended at being called names, what is it like to be totally ignored as a 20 year old kid is carried back home in a coffin, dropped off at that military mortuary in the dead of night at Dover Air Force Base and pieced back together before he's flown home for burial?  How many of you woke up this morning and said a prayer for, or even gave a thought to who died in Afghanistan last night?

My point is, when people post empty, meaningless slogans, celebrating the special nobility of cops…and suggest that other men are some how less of a hero, it is silly and insulting at the same time.


Craig Bailey said...

There are scumbags in every part of work or life. the people that truly deserve to seen as heros are ones who volunteer to help others, not over paid prima donnas on the public dime.

Anonymous said...

I spent 5 years as a Deputy Sheriff and never once, when my shift was over, did I worry about mortars or rockets landing on my house. I didn't sleep on a sleeping bag, on a cot with a mosquito net over it. Never thought about a deployment that would take me away from my family or friends for months or years. Ate a hot meal everyday at work on my lunch break and ate whatever I wanted when I was off work.Sure, I faced some bad guys at work, but only during my shift, not 24 hours a day, like in Vietnam.
My 25 years in the military, were totally different. I could only dream of having that cushy job as a deputy back again.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks, anon. I agree; I certainly don't mean to denigrate law enforcement but they really do need to back off that John Wayne stuff…they are not any better…or any worse than lots of folks who face danger…and they damn sure get paid well for it.

Anonymous said...

I have to comment on this.

I am in the middle east. Army. This is my third deployment and 5th overseas tour. I am from NY, live in NY and have a office corporate job in NY. Why I even menitoned NY. because of police. I was in a MP unit and had a lot of friends and fellow Soldiers in the NYPD ranks. I even have an extended relative in the NYPD.

let me tell you. I cannot agree more with the Modest Scriber. Human anture at its best. there are the good , the bad and the ugle.. not only on the military, and in the NYPD and in corporate america. everywhere we have good people and there are always some bad apples. I like to think most of the people are good, friendly etc etc. but at the same time, teach ourselves not view any occupation/role any better or worse than the other. (Well, lawyers, mechanics and Dentist, LOL they are really a separate conversation/thread. There must be some good, caring ones, I just havent met any yet).

Unfortunately, what we read on the news portals, and newspapers and on the TV is mostly bad news, school/mall shootings, wars in Syria, Iraq, conflicts in Egypt, Ukraine, korea, etc. This will not end, not in our lifetimes.

to summarize: lots of heroes in a lot of occupations. bad apples here and there. it is easy to stereotype but we should try not to fall for that.

4 more months and I get to see my family yey!!

Christopher C. Bradford said...

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