Many people fail to understand that while stress may explain a behavior it doesn't always justify the behavior. It's stressful to have someone, even a kid, discover your position in the middle of a war (it's also embarrassing, but that comes later). That doesn't mean you kill him. It's stressful to daily face people in less than ideal situations, especially when some of those people, yell/spit/scream/curse/get physical with you (like when I told the captain of a fishing boat he and his crew were under arrest and we were towing his boat to the dock for confiscation because of those odd, plastic wrapped bales that had somehow wound up in his fish hold). That doesn't mean you and your buddies beat them into submission. It's stressful to know another person is depending on you to save his life (whether a surgeon in the OR or a medic in the field). And it's stressful to know someone or several someones are actively trying to kill you (that lunatic Dorner, for instance). I'm not the only person who has experienced all those. Guess what? When you accept the rank, the position, the title you accept all that goes with it. That means it's all part of the job and you are expected to be a professional no matter what! I am sick and tired of hearing people explain away unacceptable behavior as if the circumstances make it okay. It wasn't okay for the LEOs involved to beat Rodney King the way they did. It wasn't okay for other LEOs to shoot at people, one of whom might have been Dorner (because, you know, they all looked so much like him). It wasn't okay for a surgeon to throw a loaded knife handle at a surgical tech because he wasn't responding quickly enough with the needed instruments. I can guarantee you that if you occupy one of these positions, when you started your education and training for whatever your position is, someone (probably several someones, actually) told you there were going to be times of unbelievable stress and that you were still expected to act like a professional. That's just how it is. So, either grow up and act like an adult or get another job!
Now, as for all those folks outside these professions/experiences who make excuses for the behaviors we see from a relative few...stop it! Stop saying it's okay. Stop saying, "well, I might do the same thing in his position" or "it's not really like him it's just how he reacts to stress" as if recognizing human failings makes giving into them under any and all circumstances okay. We all have failings and weaknesses. We all have our own demons and monsters lurking somewhere inside. Part of being an adult, not to mention a civilized adult, is learning to always keep them under control no matter what.
If you are in favor of increased gun control, that's fine. I'll be glad to discuss it with you. I do, however, have a few requirements.
- Don't lie to me. This includes things like making up statistics, pulling quotes out of their context, pretending to a level of experience you do not have and the like. It also includes telling me "no one wants to take your guns" when the efforts to do so are a matter of public record. Oh, and I will only tolerate "I support all civil rights, but..." for a very short while.
- No character assassination. I don't really care if you like me, but if your reason for discussion is to practice name calling or if that's your primary tactic, go away. I go to another blog to practice putting up with that, so it's a no go here.
- If an argument is made and no counter-argument is given, the original point stands.
- If you're going to "run under fire" go argue somewhere else.
- Of course, these rules apply to both of us.
Politics and religion
I know it's popular to think and say so, but accepting another person for who and what they are does not mean I have to accept their position or beliefs as valid. I wholeheartedly endorse the idea that people are free to believe anything and everything they want...just as I'm free to think and express my conviction that their belief or position is effluvium. Sorry, but all beliefs are not equally valid. So, if you choose to think Marxist thought and philosophy is the way to true human happiness, that's fine. You'll understand if I counter with a vigorous rebuttal. Likewise, you are free to hold any view you want of religion in general or Christianity in particular. If that includes worship of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, that's up to you. You'll pardon me if I find your position as untenable as you find mine.
Now, if you, like me, are a Christian and happen to believe civil rights are only for those who agree with you, that too is fine. Understand, I do not agree with you and will not support that assertion. Civil rights, all of them, apply even to people who do or believe things I might dislike or even detest. So, please don't whine or complain when I suggest you relocate to a place more in keeping with your beliefs, as there are those elsewhere in the world who would love to take your place here. We can be free or we can be in chains. We cannot be both. If a person with whom I disagree loses his freedom, mine too is in danger. While you may be willing to surrender your freedom, I'm far too fond of mine.
No, I am not too fond of the current administration. Nor was I all that enamored of the previous one. So, depending on your position, that might make me a rabid conservative/card carrying liberal/Libertarian/Republican/Democrat/socialist/fascist/racist/pick-something-undesirable-to-describe-me-ist. That's okay. Kids, babies, dogs and cats all like me, so there!
I'm a very proud veteran and an unabashedly proud American. If you didn't serve, I do not hold that against you. The military is not for everyone and I would much rather depend upon others to have my back if they are serving because it's what they really wanted vs a way to pay off loans or collect a regular check. Please, do not tell me you understand the sacrifices made by military personnel and their families. Unless you have been a military service member or part of a military family, you have no idea. Likewise with combat. If the surgeon who once remarked to me that his surgical residency was "just like working in a combat zone" happens to read this, I'll repeat myself from years ago. You, sir, are a well educated fool, but a fool nonetheless.
If you think things are so much better "over there" that you must spend your time telling the rest of us how terrible the US is, then please, allow me to help you plan your relocation to someplace you'll be happier. You do not need to continue to suffer in misery here on my account. If you're close enough, I'll even help you pack.
Okay, I'm done and my spleen is fully vented.