Friday, November 16, 2007

Should We Trust And Respect The RCMP, Firefighters, And Soldiers More Then We Do With Strangers?

EXCERPT:

You don't respect a stranger, because he or she could be the worst kind of person; this reasoning applies to RCMP, doctors, firefighters, and soldiers etc. because positions and titles mean nothing in regards to someone's character, and as such they should only get your respect and trust when individuals show they are worthy of it with their actions.



In light of the event at the Vancouver Airport on Oct.14, I've given a lot of thought into the trust and respect we naturally give certain roles in society.

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(If you are familiar with the story of Mr.Dziekanski, you can skip this section)

SUMMARY

Robert Dziekanski was a Polish immigrant who had waited ten hours in the Customs area of the YVR, the Vancouver Airport. After time wait by, he became more frustrated, he banged on the windows, and threw chairs, to get attention or possibly help. Throughout the ten hours no one bothered. The RCMP evenetually came, and within twenty seconds tasered Robert twice, which led to his death shorty after.

The four RCMP officers who contributed to the event acted wrongly and the whole affair should be investigated into so it never happens again. The RCMP knew this man had no weapon and they knew he did not speak english. Robert never showed any signs of aggression to the police, and they never tried to resolve the situation in a calm manner. When watching the tape you can hear one RCMP officer ask to use the taser even before they've confronted Robert. Now I am not saying Mr. Dziekanski was a calm, rational victim, but I believe his actions were not uncommon, and certainly they did not warrant 50,000 volts to be shot throughout his body twice.

In addition the event itself, the RCMP lied again and again as to what actually happened. The man who videotaped the scene had the videotape taken by the RCMP with the promise he would receive it back within 48 hours. The RCMP returned the tape a month later, only with the owner of the tape hiring a lawyer and beginning legal processes against the RCMP.

The RCMP also lied in regards to Mr.Dziekanski. Two days after the event, the RCMP alleged Robert Dziekanski was resistant and aggrevated the officers. The tape clearly shows no such thing.

The RCMP also alleged that upon tasering Mr. Dziekanski they sat him up as to prevent him from choking on his own vomit or tongue. As seen in the tape they clearly did not.

Perhaps the most troubling of all is that after the RCMP had brought the man to the ground in screams of agony, and he became unconcious, not one of these officers tried to revive him.

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Please forgive me if I repeated what you already know, I only do so because this event has changed my perspective on how I view RCMP officers and those people in smilar roles in our society. It may be just me, even though I think this is a society-wide phenomena, but I gave RCMP officers, firefighters, doctors, soldiers, etc. an implicit level of trust and respect, more then I would give people of other professions. Perhaps I (or we) see that these people should get a higher level of trust and respect because they take positions that are honourable, as in they are putting our interests ahead of their own.

However in watching the tape and doing a lot of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that this is a mistake. I grant the positions of the RCMP, Doctors, Firefighters, and Soldiers themselves are honourable positions, but it is a mistake to transfer that respect and trust to those people who take those positions.

This video illustrates that positions of trust and respect are seperate from the people who fill them. Clearly these officers should not garner our respect and trust, after seeing their actions we should give them far less.

Now I'm not advocating complete dismissal of all trust and respect for those roles in society, but I am saying we should treat those people like everyone else, and until you see each person's actions, you shouldn't give them any additional respect or trust. Just like with anyone, we should trust and respect those people who are worthy of it. You don't respect a stranger, because he or she could be the worst kind of person; this reasoning still applies to RCMP, doctors, firefighters, and soldiers etc. because positions and titles mean nothing in regards to their character, and as such they should only get your respect and trust when individuals show they are worthy of it with their actions.

I find this very idea interesting because I find it logically necessary; but it's even more interesting in it's implication to viewing soldiers of a given country. In the United States, and occasionally in Canada, it's said that you either support our troops and are for the war, or you do not. Yet soldiers of all stripes have done criminal acts; in Africa, in the past, Canadian troops have raped and killed innocent people. Should we really support those troops? I would certainly hope we do not. So then should we give people we don't know a level of support above and beyond that what we give strangers? I must conclude we should not.

As I said above, I am not saying we feel any animosity or we should go out of our way to distrust or disrespect soldiers, but I am advocating we withhold judgment, that is we don't come to any judgments about their characters.

I admit this is quite a shocking conclusion to draw, but I see it as what rational people must accept. Why trust and respect or give additional support to some strangers and not others? Because of their jobs? Well clearly employment does not imply a good character, and as such, we should withhold judgment and only respect and trust, or give support, to those individuals who have demonstrated they deserve it.

(My Video Post On The Same Subject Can Be Found Here)

7 comments:

Joseph said...

I think this is an excellent post, and a surprisingly novel and complete exploration of a thought that most people - including journalists - seem to dismiss with one-liners, such as:

"we must support our troops" or "we just can't trust the police anymore"

I'm impressed to see someone finally flesh out the nuances of how respect for roles of authority plays out in our society.

Thank you. This is good work.

Fred Bracken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Fred Bracken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

SEE

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/index.html#

Gallery: Memorial at YVR