A sage old Highway Patrol Sergeant, many years ago, imparted a lesson in leadership that I will take to my grave. I had just entered the challenging world of police supervision. Police service is a quasi-military business with a structured chain of command, with the Patrol’s lowest unit being a zone which may encompass a single county or several depending on the population density. Patrol officers in these zones are commanded by a Zone Sergeant. The old Sergeant stated that “as the Sergeant goes, so goes the zone”. His meaning was clear, the officers would emulate the Sergeant in their roles as officers of the law. That axiom is true today, on every level of our society where structure exists, including the political world. It is however, being rocked by defiance at every level. No good will come of this. I also worked as a staff officer for a Superintendent who made the statement “why should I follow a (particular) general order when the order is stupid”, stunning the staff with this proclamation and defiance of a Patrol rule that he had the sole authority to issue. The staff disagreed with his position and told him as much. If we do not change directions, it is defiance, not the economy, not energy and not climate change that is going to bring America down.
This morning we are reflecting upon 3 officers and a police K-9 being gunned down in Kentucky. This is an ultimate act of defiance. We also awaken to a new law in New York created out of defiance in regard to their unconstitutional handgun law being struck down by the Supreme Court that ruled New York could not create their own set of standards to preclude folks from carrying a gun to protect themselves when their leadership will not. The new law stipulates that to be issued a permit in New York, you must submit 3 years of data from all social media accounts, prove your character, judgement and temperament, and provide 4 character references. You must undergo 16 hours of training and withstand constant background checks. You must submit the social media account information for those living in your home for approval. Guns are banned from all businesses unless the business explicitly states otherwise and bans certain bulletproof vests. The Governor and legislature has said, in affect, to hell with the Supreme Court, we can write laws all day long that defy the court. Lori Lightfoot, the unbelievably incompetent mayor of Chicago, in a rally said “F—K Clarence Thomas“ in reference to the Court’s decision to return abortion rights to the states. She is preaching defiance in a city rocked by a disregard for the law.
Then there is the failed leadership of one President Joseph Biden. He defies authority every day apparently believing himself to be omnipotent. He refuses to enforce the laws at our borders, refuses to enforce the law relevant to protecting the Justices of the Court and openly disparages the Supreme Court because he doesn’t like their interpretations, and now embraces removing another rule that gets in his way, the Senate filibuster rule. Like New York and guns, he is considering defying the Supreme Court by establishing abortion clinics on federal park lands. When top level leadership is openly defiant, is it any wonder the hordes will emulate their behavior?
Defiance is at the root of our problems as a country. It is one thing to lie, in the political arena, as is sadly done every day of our existence, but quite another to defy the law of the land. The example we are setting is forming the basis for the behavior of generations of young folks who are being schooled, literally, in the art of defiance. It is why folks are cavalier in regard to police shootings and why we insist on emasculating our police forces. Laws are rapidly becoming inconveniences. Pity the generations to follow who live life by the iron clad rule the old Sergeant imparted, as leadership goes, so goes the city, county, state or country. We are putting fools in office and fools beget fools. Defiance is spreading like a virulent cancer.
Defiance will be our death knell, and we’ll riot, pillage and burn until there is nothing left to challenge. Law, order and the authority behind them will be a mere footnote in the history of a Democracy brought to it’s knees by folks who despise these very concepts.
Have a great week, be safe and obey the law, a rapidly fading privilege in a country of laws.