I’m not a Marine. As a quirk of fate (long but true story) I joined the Army instead. So I’m an Army dog. I have brothers who are Marines. My oldest son is a Marine. His wife is a Marine. My favorite uncle is a Marine. I have the utmost respect for Marines and it may be the only regret in my life that the fates drove me toward the Army instead of the Marine Corps. That all said, we recently have been seeing a lot of anti-cop sentiment on our forums and the latest hater is a guy who claims to be an Honorably Discharged Marine and used the name Semper Fidelis 1.
Keep in mind that we have a section on our forums called “Ask A Cop.” We recognize that there are plenty of valid questions a general member of the public might have, and certainly plenty of questions that law enforcement applicants have. That’s the place for those questions to be asked and get answered. Admittedly, sometimes the answers are brutally honest; given without any tact or subtlety. Sometimes the person who asks the question isn’t happy with the answer and starts arguing with the veteran officers on our forums who gave the answers. Immaturity rears its ugly head as the person who asked the question in the first place starts insulting those who provided honest answers. If you don’t want to hear an honest answer, don’t ask the question.
Semper Fidelis 1 came onto our forums and his question was (paraphrased but not changed in meaning, intent or tone), “Why are all cops such unprofessional, power-hungry, a**holes?”
Well, first off, not all cops are. Some of us are capable of it and under the right circumstances our professionalism might thin out a bit… but to generalize all cops into a single category of being unprofessional isn’t realistic, fair or logical. The question itself leads one to believe that the original poster, Semper Fidelis 1, harbors some grudge or hatred, obviously to an unreasonable level, with all law enforcement everywhere. Either that, or he just felt like he wanted to (safely) pick the biggest bar fight in the world: one Marine against 900,000 cops.
I suppose at this point I should also mention that, except for this guy’s CLAIM of being a Marine, there’s nothing to prove he is or was. For all I know he’s some guy who’s smart enough to smear two uniform services – Marines and law enforcement – with a single attack campaign. Be that as it may…
His posts were insulting to law enforcement, accusatory and counter-productive to any conversation. As is typical for our pro-law-enforcement forums, he was banned and his hateful, insulting posts deleted. I won’t keep that filth around for anyone to read. It feeds some and insults others. No need to save it for posterity’s sake.
Once the ban was in place I IMMEDIATELY – and I mean within about 30 seconds – received an email from that user asking why he was banned? He claimed he was simply “trying to help save lives.” He accused me (well, whomever manages the forums) of being afraid of “intelligent conversation,” and finally advised me not to be so weak. As with anyone who has been a cop longer than a month or so, I quickly identified the biggest lie in the email: the combination of his claim to help save lives and doing so with intelligent conversation. Not a single one of his posts had anything to do with saving lives and the insults he offered were those of a raging 7-year-old mad because he’s not getting any dessert.
Less than a minute later I got another email from this, um, gentleman, again with an accusation of being weak because I refused to allow an honorably discharged Marine to speak “the truth” and accusing all of our forums members of being “complete idiots and childish morons.” To this, in my best adult voice, I say, “Nanee Nanee boo boo.” Childish? You want to see childish? I can DO childish. Oh, but wait – I’m a bit too busy focusing on being professional. So, He who smelt it dealt it and that means YOU (Semper Fidelis 1) are the… what you said.
Lastly, in that second email, he encouraged me to show some courage and integrity. While I admit there are occasions where courage and integrity can be demonstrated in the virtual world, I would think that a Marine knows the difference between the virtual world and the real world and this guy certainly doesn’t. Show some courage and integrity? I have done so in both a military uniform and a police uniform – as have many members of our forums – for over three decades now. And I did so in the REAL world, not hiding behind some computer screen.
Finally, I got his last shot via email, some three hours later – and he was still fuming. He was eloquent enough to call me everything I think I ever got called on the street. I wondered if he’d been drinking because he certainly cussed like a drunken… well, you know. He did have one good message though and I’ll share that. “Being a police officer is not a right; it is a privilege.”
In that he is absolutely correct. It is a rare and valued privilege to serve our communities in a manner that so few show appreciation for. We have to earn the privilege of wearing that badge or star. We have to earn the privilege of putting on the uniform every day. Once earned, we have to RE-earn it every day by not dishonoring the uniform; not tarnishing the badge. If we stay on our toes, alert and professional, we get to go home at the end of each shift, able to enjoy the privilege of making sacrifices again the next day and the day after that and the day after that…
In the words of Tony Stark, “It’s a terrible privilege.” We do a thankless job that requires us to put complete and utter jerks – like this Semper Fidelis 1 guy – ahead of ourselves in every way. It’s a privilege we earn through an application process that makes enlisting look like a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. We earn it through an academy that rivals SOME parts of Basic Training and makes other parts look easy. We earn it through an additional field training program that further hones our skills, knowledge and professionalism while building up our experience base to where we’re considered “acceptable” as law enforcement professionals. And then we earn it every damned day by putting up with schmucks like this jerk who are thankless and contemptuous and may one day need us…
Hopefully one of us will be around and not be as hateful of him as he is of us.
Stay safe and stay focused. Stay alert. Stay alive.