Wolves, Shepherds, Swords and Shields
There is a book called Killology written by Dave Grossman that brilliantly outlined an analogy to society by making a distinction between the sheep, the sheepdog, and the wolf. To keep it short, I’ll simply state that the wolf is the bad guys who prey on the sheep (normal, average people), and the sheepdog — the Shepard — is the good guy who protect the sheep from the wolves.
Another dynamic is how: Sword and Shield. The sword represents the military who wears their emblem (the flag) on the right shoulder — the right-hand side which reflects the standard usage of the sword. The Sword is trained in combat and warfare, which includes full-spectrum operations from conventional warfare to counter-insurgency. The sword often fights far from home, and, the Sword is a sheepdog that REALLY scares the shit out of the sheep if he had to operate at home. This is the reason why the Sword is primarily an expeditionary fighter, despite being trained and standing ready to protect home field.
The shield on the other hand, is worn on the left-side. Shields were held on the left because they are supposed to protect the vital organs from harm. While violence onto the right can kill, the fact that the heart leans to the left was more than enough to determine that the left side will infinitely wear the shield; this is the reason why policemen wear the shield on the LEFT side to this day. The Shield is supposed to protect and serve. The shield as a sheepdog is NOT supposed to scare the sheep. The Shield protects the vital part of the organism; in this case society. We already discussed the concept of a self-serving shield. This time, we are going to evaluate the notion of a Shield who wishes to play the part of the Sword.
Police Militarization — While Lacking Military Honor and Discipline
I was in a conversation the other day with a gentleman concerning the police in Ferguson. I noticed that they were wearing greens… my word for any green or brown camouflage that has a royally strong association with “military.” My friend pointed out that there should be no concern; I begged to differ. There is an inherent problem with American policemen looking more and more like Soldiers; the more they look like Soldiers the more they will act like an occupying force. The shield will think it’s a sword, people. That’s problematic.
You see, while the local police forces all over America are getting all this war surplus gear that will easily make them look like the box-art for the next Call of Duty game, they are not getting any parallel training to inculcate them to NOT be overbearing bully-ass control freaks. To put this into perspective, Soldiers — society’s Sword — contrary to popular belief gets tons of training in dealing with people all around the world. In the McKrystal era in Afghanistan, COIN fundamentals stressed a couple of things:
- Protection of the civilian population takes priority over force protection.
- Cultural knowledge is essential to waging a successful counter-insurgency.
- Effective operations require a greater emphasis on certain skills such as language and cultural understanding, than does conventional warfare. The interconnected, political-military nature of insurgency and COIN requires immersion in the people and their lives to achieve victory.
- The more force applied, the greater chance of collateral damage and mistakes.
Well fuck me with a lunchbox sideways… How in world did we import overwhelming force — something that fails in urban, asymmetrical warfare to local police officers? Something they honestly don’t need Uncle Sam’s hand in? And how did we NOT inject the same HONOR and DISCIPLINE that every Soldier, Airman, Sailor and Marine carries in the battlefield? For example, an actual warfighter does NOT point his weapon (that’s guns, people) at unarmed civilians. Ever. And even after that. If military personnel can afford to give foreign peoples or foreign nations the proper dignity and respect at the expense of the security of our own lives, then why the fuck are American police totally incapable of doing the same on the home front? After all, there’s little to no language barrier between American police and American public; most of the job is already done in regarding cultural immersion. You mean to tell me that these police officers who have no language barriers to unlike the Soldier in distant lands, fuck it up on a continual basis? How?
Why are police AIMING their guns onto an blatantly unarmed, civilian crowd? If the police wants to pretend they are military, they should at least practice “military style” muzzle awareness among American people. There’s a such thing as “escalation of force” in the military. In perspective to a military man, the Ferguson police looks like the ragtag Nepalese Airport security entertaining Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child. They look like a bunch of nutjob civilians, pretending to be Soldiers… which is exactly what they are. Counterfeit money. Imitation crab meat.
A Call for Discipline and Order
Our American police do not need MRAPS (there is no IED threat in America) or super-suit “Call of Duty” style face masks and Army greens. They need the military’s intrinsic prizes like the military style of discipline and honor. They need to RESPECT the public. They need to understand escalation of force. The COIN fundamentals transitions easily into police work. Protect and respect the public. Don’t bully and use overwhelming force. Understand the public and immerse yourself into them. It should be too easy to garnish respect in those places in America, instead of fear.
I know one thing that would work: the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. UCMJ. That’s right ladies and gentlemen. If our police think they need to pretend they are Soldiers, perhapsthey should fall under UCMJ, in which case their internal law and conduct is ran and kept in check by Congress… like the real military. Instead of commanders hiding and protecting wrong-doer cops, why not have it so that unit’s command promptly throws him under the bus when he does wrong, from anything between an Article 15 to a Court Martial? Which may need to the much needed Dishonorable Discharge?
That, alongside mandatory cameras to record police interactions… yeah, that’s a novel idea.