Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Two recent events have really been bothering me. The first is the prosecution of Lt. Colonel West in Iraq who used some rather unorthodox methods to glean information regarding a plot to kill him and the soldiers under his command. Colonel West threatened to kill an Iraqi policeman who he believed had information on the pending plot. He fired two shots near the man's head to frighten him - it worked, the policeman divulged the names of several people involved as well as the place and time. Colonel West saved some lives that day. Call me crazy, but I cut people in a war zone a little extra slack. He included his actions in his official report and was suspended from command and is currently under investigation.

The second, more recent event was the death of Nathaniel Jones during an altercation with Cincinnati police. The initial reports I heard regarding this seemed bound and determined to make it Rodney King redux, the race aspect was definitely played up. Scott and I were discussing this over lunch today and he mentioned seeing the video on one of the big 3 channels showing one portion of the video without any context (he did mention that Foxnews aired the clip in its entirety). I watched the entire video and think Nathaniel Jones got what he deserved. I don't care what color Mr. Jones was, nor the pigmentation of the police officers. The event needs to be investigated to divulge whether or not the police acted appropriately, end of story.

The connection here, to me at least, is twofold. The first aspect involves the mindset that God forbid we upset the (insert appropriate Grievance Industry® minority here) community so we'll essentially hobble ourselves. In the West case we are fighting Muslims, sorry but there it is. American soldiers (and Iraqi civilians) lives are at stake here, if we offend some Muslims WHO HATE US ANYWAY, so be it. In the Nathaniel Jones case police were called to an incident involving a large, belligerent, drugged up man and resolved the situation when attacked. WHO CARES what color they were. The second and more important aspect here is that the work the police and the military perform is a very serious, very dangerous, and very necessary business. We cannot put these people in the situation of constantly being questioned and second guessed. They cannot perform their roles properly when they are not certain they will be supported when the going gets tough.

The sorts of incidents seem to be media driven in many cases, especially with the glut of information available at our fingertips in this day and age. The non-ending hype, speculation and spin seems to pressure police administrators or army brass into doing "something" which is usually the wrong thing. It is up to us as citizens to help effect changes that will allow the Colonel Wests and Cincinnati police to perform their jobs fully, safely and without worry of recrimination.

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