Thursday, August 15, 2019

police suicides

Perhaps it shows nothing of the sort, but based on a rising police-officer-suicide rate, I would guess that it takes real balls to be weak.

Think a moment: Every child is brought up within the shadow of his or her elders -- the parents and family who do what they can to steer a social course. The elders are "right" and children rely on that right-ness to steer them. They are young and powerless -- adults are, well, adults, and as such wield the power. They are right. And for the adults to be right requires that others be wrong. Policing is a young (wo)man's sport.

Somewhere or other are statistics, I believe, of World War II veterans who shot their rifles, but always aimed to miss. Something within balked at the idea of taking another life. The adults may be right, but there is a higher imperative ... and the people who are asked to sort all this out are barely adults themselves. Who doesn't long for someone, something, to be right -- something to rely on and count on and point to as a suitable reason for force against fellow human beings? Soldiers rely on their superiors. Children rely on adults. Citizens rely on the law. It's OK because someone else (some formula or law book) says it's OK even as someone within says it's not OK at all.

This is not just namby-pamby peace pablum. It is visceral. I long, in some deep way, to trust you and live with you in kinship. When there is no one else to assume the responsibility for what is right, suddenly it is I who must don the mantle, make the choice, pull the trigger. The fact that the man or woman next to me is doing the same thing -- trying to slow the enemy -- cannot ease my uncertainty and weakness. All the boo-yah! in the world cannot drown out the humanity.

It's no easy matter. Human beings can be exceptionally cruel and much in need of a tighter rein if society is to work moderately well. But to rely on the rules and regulations, however comforting, simply isn't comforting enough.

Right and wrong -- what 20-something can figure that one out? I don't know. It takes balls to plumb these depths, to feel the knots tightening in the gut, to pray to god because, goddammit, there is no other recourse. I cannot rely on my brothers and sisters, mom and dad, superiors and subordinates ... and I cannot rely on myself either. Only a fool would rely on others in order to lead a decent life ... and yet not to rely on those others is ... is ... is ... outer space.

PS.  "While suicide among police is a problem in many countries, France’s rate appears exceptionally high."

1 comment:

  1. If gravity is the law, who are the cops?