It took me a long, long time to learn my elbow from a hot rock. I think I’m gonna ride down to that village – Vin, The Magnificent Seven, 1960

These people deserve their lives back. – Sam Chisolm, The Magnificent Seven, 2016

Prior to the election of The Donald, law enforcement was thought to be in trouble. That is, we were thought of as to rough, uncaring, looking or a fight, etc. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. This was not what a cop was, not then, not now.

 

Cops will always be warriors

 

Nor do we have a “warrior problem” (Stoughton, 2015). Being warriors, using the term is not, contrary to Stoughton the cause of the police-community problem. I would suggest that to the extent that there is a police-community problem, the problem lies with the community and not the cops.

 

Wylie (2016) notes that

It’s enough to make one long for the days of Andy Griffith and Joe Friday, where respect for the profession and the men and women in it was cleaner and simpler. Civic interactions were more positive, and police as portrayed in mainstream culture stood for ideals like truth, justice, fortitude, and courage. 

 

Policing, police officers, still stand for that. Despite the ever increasing cacophony including from some cops (mostly Suits), policing has always been a warrior profession, always will be. Moreover, cops will always be warriors.

Warriors have always stood for the ideals noted by Wylie above. That has never changed. Look at the Samurai. They lived a life of loyalty, of selflessness, of bravery; oftentimes in the face of insurmountable odds. Is this not what cops do?

 

The dreaded source, Wikipedia notes, “Most samurai were bound by a code of honor and were expected to set an example for those below them.” Isn’t that what cops do?

That same dreaded article notes that not all samurai were in fact honorable (are all cops) and that I think might be part of the problem with coppery. We tend (largely due to the media) to focus on the few who are dishonorable rather than the vast majority represent the best of warriorship.

The two quotes at the beginning represent the best of warriorship. If you’ve seen either of these movies, you know the storyline.

At first, the motivation (for some) is money. And, too, adventure, the fight, protection of the weak – all warrior qualities. In addition, toward the end, again, in the face of insurmountable odds, the seven, protect the weak.

Protect those that cannot protect themselves (or at least are not as good at it [Preacher: The spirit is willing, but we are not killers. Sam Chisolm: No one is, until they’re looking down the barrel of a gun.].

So the seven do what they are trained to do, protect the innocent, give the citizens their lives back. This, we do every day. We fight for those who cannot (Barfield, 2016).

 

Warriors stand in the face of danger

 

Cops are ministers of God, revengers to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil (Romans 13: 4). And we do so “seeking justice, loving mercy and walking in humility” (Micah 6:8).

Like The Magnificent Seven (and multiple others [cf. The Avengers], we are “a calling above and beyond that of a soldier, someone not only capable of engaging in combat, but who has a deep appreciation for the importance and measure of that action.

The consummate warrior is defined by his indomitable spirit, fierce will, personal integrity, and a willing, vigorous dedication to whatever written or implied code(s) of conduct his government and/or unit might place upon him in addition to his exceptional skill at arms,” (Williams, 2016 citing Willis).

 

Cops are warriors who aspire to the following:

  1. To always place the mission first (with the “mission” being our summed up in our Law Enforcement Code of Ethics).
  2. To never accept defeat.
  3. To never quit.
  4. To never leave a fallen comrade.
  5. To always seek to serve others before ourselves (Williams, 2016)

 

This is the nature of a warrior, not a guardian. Warriors stand in the face of danger, run to the sounds of gunfire and evil. Guardians, guard. Nothing more, nothing less. We cannot let others (including some Suits) dictate who or what we are. God has already decided that.

Let us, then, proudly return to the village. Let us give the citizens their lives back.

Let us embrace our warriorship for “A true warrior fights only to protect and the greatest skill of all is to subdue the offender without violence. That should always be our goal.

But I refuse to pander to the negative perception of warriorship and deny that side of us because there have to be people willing to go where others will not” (Ziman, 2016).


References

Barfield, T. (2016). The Romans 13 Warrior. Lawofficer.com

Stoughton, S. (2015). Law Enforcement’s “Warrior” Problem. Harvard Law Revies, 128 Harv L. Rev. F. 225.

Williams, M.C. (2016). Embracing Our Servant-Warrior Ethos in an Age of Guardians.

Wylie, D. (2015). The Quiet Warrior. PoliceOne.com

Ziman, K. (2016). Embrace Warriorship. Lawofficer.com

 

Jeffrey Rush D.P.A.

Dr. Jeffrey Rush has 39 years of experience in law enforcement. He has been active in a variety of facets: street cop, published author, probation officer, college/academy instructor and the former co-editor of The Police Forum. His doctorate is in Public Administration from the University of Alabama.

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