Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why police lives matter less than civilian lives

An ABC News article showed a photo of two guns, one of which is a toy, while the other is a real gun. The point of the photo is supposedly to illustrate how hard it was to distinguish the two. The article goes on to say:

"the officer facing a suspect carrying what appears to be a gun often does not know if it is real or fake," the report said. "Worse, the officer will know that if he guesses wrong, that may be the end of his life."

This is used to justify police shooting at people preemptively when it is not clear whether someone is carrying a real weapon or an object that just looks like a weapon. This justification is wrongheaded, because it implies that it is better for a police officer to kill an innocent person than to wait and risk his own life in the process. The reason is this:

One of the primary reasons why we, the taxpayers, pay the police is to compensate them for risking their lives so that they can protect our lives. Risking their own lives is part of the service that we are paying for. If a police officer is not willing to expose himself to a higher level of risk to protect the lives of civilians, including those who may be carrying toy guns, then he is failing to provide the basic service that is part of his job.

I am a teacher, and the service that I provide to students is education. That service implies that I am held to a higher standard when it comes to communication and interaction with students compared to some random Joe on the street. I am supposed to lead by example and thus teach. That's part of my job. On the other hand, a random Joe's job is not to teach, so he can, for example, respond to an insult with an insult, to disrespect with disrespect. But, if I start behaving like a random Joe on the street, then why am I getting paid to educate people? I am clearly not educating them in that case.

This is why, for example, my pride or my emotions in general, are less important than the emotions of my students. I am not paid to express my emotions. I am paid to educate people, and if that means that I need to sacrifice my own comfort to do my job properly, then that's a natural part of the service I need to provide.

We can apply the same argument to any job. For example, a baker works at night to provide us with fresh bread in the morning. The baker sacrifices his sleep because that's the natural part of performing his job and providing us with the service for which we are paying. A firefighter risks his life to save the lives of others. A truck driver does not see his family for weeks so we could eat fresh lettuce from California. A construction worker works in cold and in heat so we could move into our new home when we want to. The list goes on and on.

My point is this: If the key service that you are providing to others, and for which they are paying, requires you to increase the risk of getting shot, then you either accept that risk or quit your job and do something else. Not everyone is willing and able to risk his life to save others, and that's ok, but it's not ok if a police officer is not willing and able to risk his life to save others. Then he is failing the very task he is supposed to perform.

We have all chosen our jobs voluntarily, with all the risks and drawbacks that they bring. This is why teacher's emotions matter less than students' emotions; baker's sleep matters less than his customers' sleep, trucker's family matters less than his customers' families, and police lives matter less than civilian lives.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jugoslovenski ratovi kao zločin odraslih prema djeci

Često, i prečesto, se žrtve i zločinci u jugoslovenskim ratovima devedesetih traže po etničkim, vjerskim, ideološkim ili klasnim kriterijumima. Dijelimo se tu na Srbe, Hrvate, četnike, ustaše, komuniste, fašiste, katolike, pravoslavce, muslimane i još sijaset drugih kategorija. Onda se, tako podijeljeni, prepucavano oko toga ko je bio agresor a ko napadnuti, ko je bio zločinac, a ko žrtva. Mislim da je ovaj pristup umnogome pogrešan.

Čudi me kako još niko nije primijetio jedan mnogo jednostavniji i objektivniji kriterijum za podjelu između žrtava i zločinaca: životnu dob tj. godine starosti. Tu prvenstveno mislim na osnovnu podjelu ljudi na djecu i odrasle. Mislim da je to smisleniji kriterijum za utvrđivanje zločinca iz više razloga.

Prvo, djeca, ni zakonski a ni materijalno, nisu u stanju da izaberu mjesto stanovanja. Ona ne mogu da odluče da će da se odsele iz ratne zone. Ona su taoci odluka odraslih.

Drugo, besmisleno je djecu dijeliti po nacionalnoj, religijskoj, ideološkoj ili bilo kojoj drugoj osnovi na zločince i žrtve. Moj petogodišnji Dušan bi jednako bio žrtva kao i nečiji petogodišnji Hrvoje ili Mustafa. Njih ne možemo dijeliti na žrtve i agresore po etničkim ili bilo kojim drugim aršinima.

Treće, i možda najvažnije, mi odrasli se uglavnom takmičimo da istaknemo kako je naša osnovna dužnost da djeci, ne samo svojoj, nego svoj djeci osiguramo dostojanstveno odrastanje. Naša dužnost je da ih zaštitimo od emotivnog i fizičkog zlostavljanja. Ako je tako, onda je moja dužnost da zaštitim od zlostavljanja ne samo moga Dušana nego i malog Hrvoja i Mustafu. Isto tako je dužnost Hrvojevih i Mustafinih roditelja da se sa mnom dogovore kako ćemo ispuniti svoju dužnost prema djeci.

U ovom posljednjem segmentu su odrasli ljudi devedesetih debelo zanemarili svoju dužnost prema djeci. Zanemarili su je do te mjere da su djecu izložili danima, mjesecima i godinama trauma. Djeca su svakodnevno bila izložena strahu za vlastiti život i za život svojih voljenih. Djeca su ubijana, ranjavana, protjerivana, pa čak i silovana. Djeca su danononoćno bila izložena najgnusnijim oblicima propagande i ispiranja mozga. Mislim da nema zločina kojem djeca tada nisu bila izlagana.

Ako je osnovna dužnost odraslih prama svojoj i tuđoj djeci bila da nađu načina kako da se dogovore oko toga da djeci omoguće dostojanstveno odrastanje, onda je jasno da su djeca u cijeloj toj priči žrtve, a odrasli su zločinci ili saučesnici u zločinu ili nijemi posmatrači zločina.

Umjesto da terorišu i svoju i tuđu djecu, Dušanovi, Hrvojevi i Mustafini roditelji moraju da se ponašaju shodno svojim godinama, kao odrasli ljudi, i nađu načina da djecu zaštite od emocionalnog i fizičkog zlostavljanja. Oni to devedesetih nisu uradili.

Ta djeca koja su devedesetih emocionalno i fizički svirepo zlostavljana, sada su i sami roditelji male djece. Kod većine je posljedica zlostavljanja bila ta da oni za svoje traume krive neku apstraktnu pojavu zvanu rat, a ne konkretne ljude. Čak i kada krive konkretne ljude, obično se to radi po etničkim, religijskim ili ideološkim aršinima.

Baš zbog takvog pogleda na uzroke svojih trauma ta nekadašnja djeca, koja su sada odrasli ljudi, ne vide kao svoju bezuslovnu obavezu da svoje razmirice s ostalim odraslima moraju rješavati tako da ne ugroze pravo SVE djece na dostojanstveno odrastanje. Zato se bojim da će i oni, ako im se ukaže prilika, krenuti stopama svojih roditelja i djedova u nekom budućem konfliktu.