Police militarization and the Ethical Warrior By Jack E. Hoban & Bruce J. Gourlie

The public has nothing to fear from well-trained tactical teams made up of motivated Ethical Warriors

Police militarization has become a popular topic in the mainstream media — people are even writing books about it. Allegations abound that American law enforcement is becoming an aggressive, over-gunned commando army. Critics argue that our police are becoming militarized, adopting the weapons and attitudes of the battlefield for policing America’s streets.

Is this concern valid?

Do military-looking tactical teams make routine law enforcement more dangerous to the public? Wouldn’t we all be safer if cops looked and acted more like Andy Griffith than Rambo?

The Ethical Warrior

Regular readers of this column know the authors don’t define “warrior” merely as “one who engages in war.”

That definition lumps together mercenaries and terrorists with U.S. Marines and legitimate freedom fighters. We define a warrior as a protector of life: ourselves, the innocent, and even our enemies when possible. A warrior cop’s mission is to protect every life possible and to only use force when it’s necessary to accomplish that mission.

Does the life-protecting definition of a warrior include the submachine gun wielding cop dressed head to toe in body armor? We think it does. Properly equipped, trained, led and inspired, this cop is more likely to keep self and others safe in a dangerous situation.

The explanation is simple: conflict is not a sport. Fair fights are dangerous. Fairness may be a basic human value — a common American value — but it is a relative value. It must be qualified as good or bad based upon its contribution to protecting life.

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