Opinion

Time to Reestablish the Concepts of Duty and Accountability

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Posted: Jun 02, 2022 12:01 AM
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Time to Reestablish the Concepts of Duty and Accountability

Source: AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Kids are getting killed and you have a badge and a gun and you just sit there?

For an hour?

What the hell?

I’m trying to figure out the thought process and I can’t nail it down. Were they just listening to their Beto-donating boss? Were they tactically inept? Were they cowards?

Duty is a demanding mistress, which is why they call it “duty” and not “fun.” You get to walk around in your uniform with people thanking you for being a first responder, which is nice. You have to deal with the hassles of taking out society’s trash, certainly. And sometimes maybe you die.

Now, I’ve pointed out these obvious truths on Twitter in the wake of this black eye to law enforcement – and it is yet another one. After the defund-the-police fiasco drew skirmish lines between cop supporters and the cop haters, a lot of cops – too many – chose to comply with ridiculous COVID fascism. That lost cops a lot of friends, and they didn’t have too many to start with. Now the ruling caste is telling us we need to disarm because criminals are running rampant and to rely on the cops and then this disgraceful incident happens. Law enforcement, I’ve been a supporter since sheriff’s deputies sat around our kitchen table as my DA mom wrote them search warrants, but it's time you hear the truth: you are running low on friends, so maybe don’t alienate anyone else for a while.

The pushback to my and others’ observation that this is a total failure that goes beyond mere failure into the realm of MEGA failure has drawn pushback from some cops and their fans. It's not like we have ever personally busted down a door, goes the thinking, so we should not second guess the guys who do.

Well, there are a lot of problems with that line of thinking, starting with the lack of timely busting down of doors. This is not some highly technical tactical scheme that we’re unable to accurately assess as non-LEOs. If kids are getting shot, you kill the guy doing it or die trying.

Here is the hierarchy of lives that matter in this scenario in descending order of mattering:

1. Little kids

2. Other civilians

3. The cops

But even if it took some special skill to decide that this idiocy was idiotic, the notion that we can’t judge our employees – yeah, cops work for us, as this remains a democratic republic, at least in theory – because we have not done the job is absurd. We didn’t swear to do the job. Those of us who are not cops never promised to go through the door, so it’s kind of stupid to think that this excuses the guys who did promise – and then didn’t go.

I write a little about what I did as a carwash leader in Desert Storm in my new non-fiction book We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America. I was no war hero like Saigon Dick Blumenthal; I just led a decontamination platoon. We were supposed to go where the nerve agent was and get vehicles and troops who were splashed with VX or GB or whatever else cleaned up. We all thought Saddam had human bug spray in 1991, and luckily it never got used. But if the call had come, would it be cool if I demurred because I didn’t want to die twitching like a roach caught in a cloud of Raid?

No. I raised my hand. I took the job. I got the vets’ discount at my favorite BBQ place. 

Duty can be a real bitch.

But our society cannot function without it. All that acclaim, all the thank yous for your service, are not the point. They are a fringe benefit that comes because you have done or will do your duty. But without duty the institutions fail. And not just ones where the issues are life and death. Where are the institutional leaders who make hard calls, sometimes at a personal cost, because that is their job? Look at our colleges – every one of those invertebrate administrators knows that academia cannot function as an educational system as opposed to a jobs program for loser professors without having free speech. But how many will stand up and tell the conniving little fascists on their faculty and in their student bodies “No?” No, you cannot have that scalp. No, you cannot dictate what may be said or thought. No.

That’s their duty, and most of them don’t do it. They don’t do it because it is hard, and because they might have to sacrifice their own jobs for what’s right. 

Accountability is vital. We need to punish failure, because even where duty is the currency sometimes there are counterfeiters. The Uvalde cops who failed must be identified and shamed, to reinforce the idea that to fail in your duty is worse than to die doing it.

But accountability is reactive. It is a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound in our culture. Accountability is there for the marginal and the weak, for whom duty itself is not enough and who need some further incentive.

We want men and women to do their duty not because they are afraid of the consequences of failure but because they refuse to not do their duty.

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And many people today will call them “crazy” for putting something ahead of their own personal interest. Our ruling caste mocks duty (along with honor and country) because it is aware of how, as a class, its members fall short. If they can eliminate the standard, then they can avoid being critiqued for failing to meet it. Sadly, too many alleged conservatives empower this degraded and pathetic ploy. They come up with excuses, refuse to enforce accountability, and generally allow those who fail to do their duty to go on as if they had performed.

But the people know. The people understand. They know, in their guts, without special training or education, that if you carry a badge and a gun and if kids are being slaughtered you attack. Maybe you die. But that’s the price of duty. The new Top Gun: Maverick (a glorious hunk of Hollywood cheese I highly recommend) is not thrilling audiences just because the F-18s are cool or because Tom Cruise looks like he uses the fountain of youth as his own personal jacuzzi. Audiences love it because it shows a bunch of Americans coming together to do their duty regardless of the personal cost.

We want that again.

We need that again.

And if we demand it of our ruling class, we can have it again.

In the meantime, it is for all of us to set our personal example and to do our duty – and hold those who fail to do their duty accountable.

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