What do I do?
From Larry F. Jetmore’s “Police Officer Entrance Examination:”
My fundamental duty is to serve people: to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression and intimidation, and the peaceful against violence and disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice.
In addition to knowing what I do, I must know, one: how to handle myself–my thoughts, emotions, and actions, manage my disagreements, stress, anxiety, and physical health–and, two: how to do my job–how to safeguard lives and property, while also respecting people and their rights, how to maintain order and liberty, protect the innocent and the weak, and how to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the people I serve.
What is criminal justice? What is law enforcement? What are courts and corrections facilities? Living in the city, sometimes it seems like everyone hates the cops or wants to be one. It is rare to find someone indifferent on the topic, or someone who takes a calm, rational stance. Police and government have become prominent issues in my generation, and perhaps they always have been.
America is the land of the conspiracy, the new world order, the police state, the militarization, the Illuminati; I could go on. Every other television show is either about cops, criminals or both, or at least something related, such as courts and law–perhaps this is where we get our national values. Law and order, crime and punishment, the rule of law, have been unsolvable problems since the beginning of human history, in every civilization on the globe. From large scale governments and religious groups, to codes of conduct of combative units, or ethical systems in the various trades. Humans are social animals, and must work together, despite their individual differences.
This website began as a martial arts blog, and has expanded with short stories or parables, and now I am going to expand further, into the world of criminal justice and law enforcement. As martial artists, we understand what it means to protect ourselves and others, and the urgency and camaraderie which surface in tough times. I have spent a considerable amount of time in private security, and public service work, and these topics have always been on my mind.
What do our designated protectors do? How do they act? How does “the system” work? Why does it work that way? What are the shortfalls? Why are humans only human, and not more than human? What is the ethical side of the martial arts? When do we act? What can we do? How can we really help? Personally, I have learned that my greatest tools are rarely my hands and rarely some technical knowledge or skill. The police aren’t waiting to drop down from a building like a superhero, to save your life. Backup is not always there. The phone doesn’t always work. People freeze, panic, lose control. Drug dealers run lose, and innocent people are jailed. What is the answer to all this?
If you’re interested in these questions, please join me in the exploratory journey, in crime and punishment.