Saturday, February 24, 2018

Literary And Literally

In Poul Anderson's War Of The Gods there's a tale about a king's hoardkeeper. Allow me to summarize (but do indulge in Anderson's book as it's a decent read):

Glum was an old man, and had been a warrior in his youth. He was appointed hoardkeeper under Haddings father, stayed in the post through the next king, and so Hadding decided to keep him on when he ascended the throne. He was housed in rooms at the front of the king's storehouse, and was given food, drink, clothes, and a servant and was treated with honor. 

One day King Hadding visited the storehouse to take some of his treasure, intending them as gifts for some of his allies and servants. After Glum opened the door to the storeroom (as only he had a key) Hadding discovered thieves had been in and did some plundering. Glum protested his innocence and Hadding discovered the thieves had tunneled in some time in the preceding month or so. He agreed that Glum had been no thief, but charged he was negligent, in that he should have checked on the treasures himself from time to time, or not been so drunk as to not hear the noise of thieves tunneling into the building he dwelt in. 

Hadding had Glum before his court and related what had happened, concluding with the charge that Glum was negligent, having allowed thieves to make off with things under his care. He pronounced that Glum should die and asked Glum if he had anything to say. Glum admitted he was negligent, said that he was too old to do the job properly and the king should have appointed a younger man to the post, but the king could do with him as he wished; just leave his honor intact. Hadding, in concession, agreed and ordered that Glum die on the gallows (which was a more honorable death than the other options) to which Glum consented that it was good.

Robert A. Heinlein has told a story on numerous occasions of an accident that occurred when he was a child. If you'll pardon me I'll paraphrase it:

A lady and her husband were walking through town. when crossing over a railroad track the lady's foot got stuck. The husband started trying to free her with no luck. Then a man - presumed a hobo - happened along and joined the husband in his efforts. A train was approaching and they worked steadily trying to free the lady's foot. They were still engaged at that task when the train hit all three of them. The lady and the hobo were killed instantly, and the husband lived just long enough to tell what happened. The lady was stuck; she had no choice in the matter. The husband did have a choice and he chose to do what a husband should do. The hobo - if indeed that's all he was - had a choice as well. He could have jumped aside at any moment and no blame or shame would have been incurred. Yet he stayed, helping with his last mortal efforts a lady whom he did not know; a couple whom may not have accepted him socially or sat down with him for lunch. He stayed and whatever fear he felt was quelled by something inside him that told him saving a lady whom he had no bond with or connection to was worth his very life.  This is how a man dies, and this is how a man lives.

Heinlein does a much better job of telling the story, but I think I got all the important points. Now contrast those two tales with this:

Four Sheriff's Deputies Hid During Florida School Shooting

"Sources from Coral Springs, Fla., Police Department tell CNN that when its officers arrived on the scene Wednesday, they were shocked to find three Broward County Sheriff’s deputies behind their cars with weapons drawn.
The school’s armed resource officer, Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, was also outside. He resigned on Thursday after his failure to act was publicly revealed." (links in original)

I had been chiding the School Resource Officer, one Deputy Peterson, by referring to him as Brave Sir Deputy. Now it seems I was mistaken using the singular and hence they'll be called Brave Sir Deputies, with the first one being Brave Sir Deputy #1. (I will also note that the Coral Springs PD went right in, along with 2 other deputies that arrived later.)

After he was called out for courageously protecting the safeside of a brick building, it is reported that he resigned. That's not entirely accurate. He had 32 years in and so he retired. Retired. As in he's going to be getting a pension and other benefits. Retired. I would link to the benefits package but it'd just depress you.  Brave Sir Deputy #1 had in the past lobbied for a continuation of certain perks for School Resource Officers. (h/t miss Claire) Specifically he opposed a discontinuation of a policy allowing SRO's to live rent free on school property, despite it not showing much evidence of deterring crime and some abuses of the program (An SRO subletting his trailer to non-SRO's for example).

According to this story from the Sun-Sentinel the original Brave Sir Deputy was supposed to get a salary of a little over $75,000 in 2016, but with overtime and "other compensation" he grossed a little over $100,000.

This New York Post article (h/t Firehand) mentions, among other things (like Brave Sir Deputy #1 thinking he did a good job because he set up a perimeter and called info in), that his base salary didn't include things such as a first responder bonus. This coward got paid extra in case he had to rush into a building where there was a mass murder going on. A union boss in the NYPost article says Brave Sir Deputy's pension will be 75% of the average of his highest earning 5 years. According to my math, if we just go with that $75,000 base, then he'll be bringing home $56,000 per year. $1,000 per week.

This article from The (also linked above) includes a .pdf of his separation form where among other things he is not permitted to drive any BSO vehicles. Yet in that Sun-Sentinel story linked above (and dated after Brave Sir Deputy #1 retired) is this:

"Peterson could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon at his home in Boynton Beach. Neighbor Nelson Sandy said he saw Peterson leave his house around 3 p.m., driving his work vehicle and accompanied by at least two Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies driving their work vehicles.
'They were here today, three police officers and they all left together,' Sandy said."

 If he was driving his "work vehicle" then he did so in violation of his separation conditions. 

Also from that Sun-Sentinel article linked above we find a teacher who does not understand something very important:

"Felicia Burgin, a ninth-grade English teacher, was locked in her classroom with students on the second floor of the building, as they heard shots from the floor above.
She said the criticism of Peterson is unfair. Peterson wouldn’t have stood a chance against the gunman in hallways that were filled with students at the time, she said.
'There is no one that is going to tell you a negative thing about Deputy Peterson,' she said. 'He was an Eagle and he was committed to our school. I don’t know what he could have done other than literally died.”

That. Was. His. Job. If it meant he'd like, gosh, well, ya know - "literally die", then That. Was. His. Job.

When you have custody, even temporarily, of a child, then you do all you can do to protect that child; you must be prepared to literally die. Literally. like not even fooling.  When you get paid close to or over 1/10th of a million dollars, every year, to protect a large group of children as best you can, then yes; you should be ready to literally die if it furthers that main goal.

That does not just apply to cops, but teachers or anyone else who has temporary custody of a child. It does not matter if a murderer has a rifle, or a halberd, or a lightsaber. When you have charge of children, then you must put yourself between the murderer and the children. If that's not in line with what you think a cop should do, then quit. If you think that a teacher should only teach, then quit. Find another, safer line of work. But while you're responsible for the safety of a child - any child - then you must be prepared to literally die to protect them.

This is not the first time Law Enforcement Officers have hesitated in doing their duty. (Again h/t miss Claire) I knew that in the Pulse Nightclub shooting cops waited outside for hours. I always suspected that the death toll was so high because of that delay - prompt treatment may have been able to save a good number of folks who had already been shot. I didn't know that at Sandy Hook cops arrived before the shooting stopped and waited 5 minutes to go in. Five Minutes.

An LATimes op-ed editor took to twitter to defend Brave Sir Deputy #1:

"Horrible but I feel some sympathy for the guy. Not everyone has, or should be expected to have, the guts to face a maniac with an AR-15"

Contrast that with what happened at a shooting in Tyler, Texas. Mark Alan Wilson, armed with only a pistol, engaged a murderer that used an AK-47 to kill his ex-wife on the courthouse steps, wound his son, drive off cops that initially engaged him and was preparing to finish off his son. Mr. Wilson shot and hit the murderer, but the murderer had a vest that Mr. Wilson's projectiles couldn't penetrate. Mr. Wilson was killed as he exchanged gunfire with the murderer, but by that time the cops had rallied and succeeding in driving off the murderer before chasing him down and killing him.

Mark Alan Wilson was not a cop. He was not a bailiff. He was not a deputy or a Ranger. He was not getting paid for that; received no stipend or benefits. Yet he engaged someone armed with an AK47 (which shoots a more powerful cartridge than the AR-15 is typically chambered for) because he obviously thought it was the right thing to do. And he literally died for it.

Aaron Feis was an unarmed security guard and football coach. He died after he ran towards the gunfire at the Parkland high school, and by at least one account pushed a student out of the way while putting himself between the murderer and that student.  He literally died protecting people despite being unarmed.

15 year old Anthony Borges was shot 5 times as he held the door against the murderer to protect his classmates15 years old! Yet he was more of a man than any of those Brave Sir Deputies. He survived, even though he could have literally diedA GoFundMe has been set up to help with the expenses of his recovery. Ya see, unlike Brave Sir Deputy #1, Anthony Borges does not have a cushy government pension with medical coverage to fall back on. As of this writing they've reached their goal, and hopefully that'll be enough to help him fully recover.

Mr. Wilson, Mr. Feis, & Mr. Borges all tried to stop people bent on evil. They did so at great risk to themselves; they could have literally died, and two of them did. They took such risks with their one and only respective lives because they viewed protecting others as their primary job in those respective instances.

Four deputies who were paid primarily to protect others hung outside in safety while a mass murder was occurring.

I don't have to wonder what Mr. Heinlein would have thought of the situation, and those Brave Sir Deputies should be very glad that they were deputies, and not housecarls of King Hadding.

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