CBS News New York carried an article about the beating of a retired Nassau County Corrections officer by Garden City Police. The beating took place inside a grocery store. Police and Corrections officials have always had an uneasy partnership, with both sides claiming superiority. But how did this unsavory attack come to be? How was it that three police officers beat, then cuffed, and detained the retiree?
Op-Ed by C J Oakes, December 5, 2016
The link above will take you to the full story, which is not this story. Rather, this story considers the general increase in police brutality in America. In addition, it considers why the police officers ignored CO’s pleas that he was “one of them.”
“Violence Begets Violence”…Leaders Lead the Way
The average American teaches his/her children to not settle differences with fists. Instead, most parents train kids to seek a peaceful resolution first. Many then state that if the other party does not want a peaceful solution, let ‘me have it. Some, however, choose to explain that it is possible to sometimes walk away from a confrontation. In other words, pick your battles, not let your battles pick you.
“Those who use the sword will die by the sword.” – New Living Translation
At the time Dr. King uttered these words, the Civil Rights Movement had members within who are advocating violence as a means of gaining equality. They reasoned, as did many parents today, that the United State clearly did not want a peaceful resolution to the problem. King reminded them that regardless of what the leadership of the Nation does, the best path is always peace.
What does this have to do with the beating of a retired Corrections Officer by police in his home town in Nassau County, NY?
America likes to believe herself a peace-loving nation, but the facts present a different image. For more on this, watch Oliver Stone’s The Untold History of the United States on Netflix. Stone presents an honest, if not horrifying at times history of America the politicians would prefer to bury–along with all the dead at their hands.
Disagree with Stone’s assessment of the nation if you will, but consider this. What happens to any politician who dares call for a peaceful resolution to a problem with another nation? He is called a “pacifist,” “weak,” or worst still, “Neville Chamberlain.” Why?
Why would Americans claim to love peace, but when a leader seeks peace, then turn on him in anger? The simple answer is, we don’t really want peace. Why not?
Seeking a Peaceful Answer is Hard; Violence is Easy
The answer lay in human nature. We all tend to lean towards the path of least resistance. In dealing with others, a peaceful solution requires time and mental energy. Violence is easy. Violence settles matters quickly. Brush off the hands and move on. Might makes right. It’s a Dog eat Dog world anyway, right?
Back to our children.
The whole reason we have to teach them to keep their hands to themselves, to choose a peaceful solution over aggression, is because the natural way is violence. It is based on that animal part of our brain which takes the easy way to a solution. This is why Jesus stated the words above to his followers and why wise men and gurus throughout history have noted the same. All these recognized that our base human nature leans toward violent means of conflict resolution.
Our leaders know it and respond by attacking rather than talking. Gang-bangers in the streets know this, which is why they carry guns, not Bibles. Prison Wardens know it, which is why they do not allow Corrections Officers to carry guns inside the prison–they WILL get used and in both directions. And Police know it, which is why there is so much violence toward the public–it is simply the most expeditious way to solve a problem.
Why Did Police Attack the Corrections Officer?
In the case of the three Garden City police, they were apparently chasing a suspect who then entered that same grocery store. The suspect was a black male. So, when they spotted a black male, rather than walk up and confront him, they took him down.
He cried to them that he was ‘one of them.’ But police hear all manner of excuses when taking down a suspect. They become insensitive. Makes sense.
Most importantly, there is a saying in Law Enforcement.
“Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.”
In other words, if faced with a situation in which you may not get the answer you want, do what you want and seek to rectify it later.
Of course, part of this attitude is why so many are now facing criminal charges themselves.
What will come of the situation in Garden City, NY is anyone’s guess. The ACLU and other organizations are now getting involved, so it could turn ugly. But the real ugly truth is that what happened is on all of us…We the People.
allow, encourage our leaders to act tough, to use violence as a first means, not the last resort. We teach our kids one thing and do another. We refuse to hold police accountable when they step over the line–hell, we refuse to even define the line–and if they are not tough enough, we call them pacifists, wimps, or whatever.
The simple fact is that the beating of the Correctional Officer by police was going to happen eventually. The only good questions would have been, when and where first? Now we know.
NOTE: Another issue related to this is communication. The Corrections Officer involved in this situation attempted to communicate that he was “one of them,” but the police officers did not listen. We must then ask, what is being communicated to these officers in their precincts? How does communication in Law Enforcement help or hinder in carrying out the mission of protecting and serving the public? Related to this are the following articles you may find useful.