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Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 12:36 am

I've been thinking a lot about what's been going on across the country lately, particularly with the ‪#‎BLM‬ protests.

Some have been peaceful, like the one in Memphis last night. Some have been extremely violent, and people have been screaming at both the BLM folks and the police.

The police seem to be getting the worse end of the deal, from what I've seen. No, I haven't done anything like a statistical analysis, I'm just going by what I've seen and heard.

To those who are attacking the police (verbally or otherwise), I would like to share with you something that my grandmother told me when I was very young.

If you are not able AND willing to do a better job, then don't criticize the person who IS doing the job.

Sometimes that can be hard. But you know, she was a pretty smart lady, and she gave good advice.

If you don't think the police are doing things the way they should be done, go become a member of the force. Go stand in that Thin Blue Line, and speak from there about how the police should be doing things.

Years ago, I read that there were two types of people in law enforcement -- Guardians, and Enforcers, and there were too few of the former and too many of the latter.

I'm not going to claim that just because someone has chosen to earn and wear a badge means that they're an angel. There ARE both Guardians and Enforcers in law enforcement.

But you know what?

When the waste products forcibly contact the rotary air mover, BOTH types move into that Thin Blue Line. BOTH types put their lives on the line for people they've never even met. For people whom they know hate to see them coming... except in the middle of a crisis situation, and sometimes even then.

So, when you're willing to do what it takes and step into that line of blue, I'll be willing to listen to you say how things should be done. Until then your opinion is, at best, uninformed.

To all of those Guardians who stand in that Blue Line... "thank you" doesn't begin to cover it!

To those member of the BLM movement, yes, your concerns are legitimate. Last night, some of your members walked arm-in-arm with Memphis Police officers, and pledged to work together. Can you follow their example and take the high road? Or are you determined to prove what your detractors say about you?
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 11:00 pm (UTC)
You know, I love you a lot, Dragon.

But this entire post baffles me.

I mean, I don't think I have to be a cop (gods all forbid, you've met me) to know that having cops killing people who are unarmed is wrong and something needs to change.

Especially after what just happened in Maryland, where a cop trying to defend other cops was deliberately shot because he shared a skin color with their assailant.
Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 01:27 pm (UTC)
Ah, okay!

That sounds much more like you!

+nods, reassured+

Yeah, I think you're right that it's that the police are an organized body and #BLM is just concerned citizenry.

Also agreed, I mean, it seems like Dallas has done a great job cleaning its house in the last year.
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 06:05 pm (UTC)
I worked for a major police department doing database work and network admin for nine years back in the '90s, I left before 9/11 (burned out due to a bad boss: I had one of those who took all of the praise when things went well and none of the responsibility when something went bad, she was later given the option of quitting or being sued) and it was quite an experience, and one that I enjoyed and am very glad that I did.

I quite like your comment about Guardians and Enforcers. I'd have to say that a vast majority of those whom I worked with were the former. During my time there we didn't have a lot of problems with over-zealousness, though some bad things did happen on occasion that involved minorities.

Anyway, the story that I came to relate goes back two years. My wife and I were at my parent's house after getting back from a river cruise from Prague to Berlin (which I HIGHLY recommend!) and my brother found some ammunition for my dad's father's deer rifle and wanted to go shooting with me and my dad. I honestly didn't want to go, but did so for family-building. At the range there's a small office for buying targets, renting spotting scopes, etc. I was talking to the guy there, and it turned out that he was a cop at the same agency at the same time that I was there! We were in different divisions and didn't otherwise know each other. We were talking about the terrible things going on with the increased militarization of law enforcement, and one thing we readily agreed on: neither of us could go back in to law enforcement these days.

I have tremendous respect for law enforcement, and have attended several police funerals including one for my best friend in high school. There is an occasional need for military-grade hardware, but it should not be used for managing a protest: that is weak leadership and training to default to 'throw the most and scariest hardware at the problem' thinking, trying to cow the protestors in to obedience. It just makes things worse and greatly increases the risk of someone on either side of the blue line being injured or killed. It's a shame that community-based policing seems to have abandoned, and that municipalities such as Ferguson thinks they can fund their operations on the backs of the poor and minorities.

I have had experience studying martial arts, though not remotely to your level, and I also have a tremendous respect for Zen. I think that definitely is a major influence on my opinions.
Friday, March 10th, 2017 07:41 am (UTC)
Just Wayne is sufficient. :-) My blogging history goes back to Xanga and that was my original blog name, and for whatever reason that name went to LJ and I kept it here rather than trying to come up with something clever when I copied my blog over a couple of months ago.

Years ago I studied some shotokan karate, and further years back while in grade school I did some aikido. Unfortunately the sensei who started the dojo was killed in a car/bicycle accident. The black belts kept it going for a while, but I think they either closed or moved/merged with another facility. It was kind of amusing: years later, I briefly played indoor soccer with a team run by some friends, plus my girlfriend was filling in as goalie as my friend's wife, the normal goalie, had broken her finger. I once took a hit, did a forward roll, landed on my feet and continued running! So some 20+ years later my body remembered a move! That was kind of cool. I wanted to do kendo or iaido, but I live in an extremely rural area and there just isn't that much around here, I think the only local facilities are kenpo karate and tae kwan do. While I like TKD, I found out that I have some severe shoulder problems and it might be risky for me to try it. I'd really like to try aikido again, but no facilities nearby. I think philosophically it suits me better now after a few decades have past: I appreciate the concepts behind it better.

I had a problem with the iaido teacher as he wouldn't consider teaching it for a lefty: my right hand, at the time, had had five operations, was fundamentally weaker, and doesn't have the range of motion that my left does. So I didn't press it and didn't try to study it while I had access to it.

I have a tremendous respect for practitioners who achieve black belts. I understand the commitment required to get it, I've also gained a lot more appreciation for what teachers go through to educate people. My normal way of life is that everyone gets X amount of respect by default (where X is greater than zero): further interaction with that person causes X to rise or fall. Earning a black belt definitely adds to X. It is possible for X to reach zero or drop to negative values.

As far as zen is concerned, part of it is a dislike for Abrahamic traditions, which might simply be the inconstant nature of man. When I was in my 20s and extremely regularly involved in role-playing games (working at a game company made it far too easy, but also gave me life-long friends), I started studying Japanese and other Asian cultures more deeply, which led me in to some initial readings in Buddhism, Shinto, Tao, etc. Eventually I came across The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet, and later acquired Zen Flesh, Zen Bones and some other books with some excellent koans. I find zen to be much more 'thinkie' and intriguing than most religions where the teachings are drummed in to you from a pulpit and the philosophy is not very deep and doesn't have much of a ponder value.

In fact, I just gave my sister a copy of Tao of Pooh/Te of Piglet for Christmas. She is a very high-strung person who just concluded a divorce from her third husband. She had problems with the church not providing any spiritual support when she was in an abusive marriage with her first husband, which caused her to leave that org. She says she's finding the book quite interesting: aside from acupuncture as a stress-management technique, she's learning some meditation techniques to help cope with her current situation and apparently is finding the book useful.

And you will note that I am known far and wide for short replies. :-)
Sunday, March 12th, 2017 04:24 pm (UTC)
I understand the right-handedness of many traditions and cultures, there's also the Arabic tradition of not eating with your left hand, and for good reason -- IF you're right-handed. But if you have mobility restrictions and greatly reduced strength in one hand, plus mobility restrictions and risk of extensive damage to right shoulder, you have to find another way. To me, it was a conflict of a student wanting to learn and a teacher unwilling to innovate to accommodate a serious handicap. If you look at classic fencing, us lefties drive righties nuts, teachers can find us to be an advantage to team scores.

Indications are that I would have been right-handed except for my birth defects. It took five operations before the 3rd grade to put my thumb right, and nothing can be done about the mobility issues and shoulder problem. I can swing a baseball bat (poorly) from either side, and miniature golf I'll frequently switch sides depending on obstacles.