Just Following Orders
Yes, police officers do follow orders.
And you damn well better hope that we continue to follow those
orders! The alternative is the petty dictatorships in South America that I read about in my youth, or the cruel and inhuman
atrocities of modern day African or Balkan chieftains that we
read about today. I am concerned that it has become a
catch-phrase among firearms activists to criticize law officers
for enforcing current laws as "just following orders".
The complaint directed at the lack of concern for constitutional
issues. I wonder at the wisdom of such rhetoric. Do they truly
understand what they ask for when they demand that individual
police officers pick and choose which laws they will
American law enforcement is
quasi-military in nature, with a very strict set of regulations
governing individual activity, on or off duty. Probably a more
restrictive set of rules than those imposed on the average
citizen in their chosen profession. There are many reasons for
the tight regulations, but simply put, when you give a segment of
your society the responsibility of enforcing the law with
defensive firearms and various other weapons, you want to make
sure they are controlled and know and follow the rules! Police
officers respect that responsibility.
There have been some well
appeals to the law enforcement community, recently, by well
anonymous individuals that do deserve some respect. More
often, however, there
has been the extremist rhetoric comparing law enforcement,
in general, to
Hitler's Nazis. Internet discussion lists often include such
inflammatory rhetoric, leading to exaggerated claims of bravado
and outright calls for assassination of local police
officers. It is this latter group of reckless individuals that
concern me the most. Do they really understand the issues? Is
this how you want YOUR Second Amendment activism
When Chief Joe McNamara,
HCI police poster boy,
took the initiative during the mid '80's to drive a wedge
between law enforcement and gun owners, I
thought his rhetoric was so phony and ignorant that no one
would believe him. As
a career police administrator and anti-gun advocate, he was
very much aware of
the importance of law enforcement support for the private
ownership of firearms.
His dilemma, I believe, was that cops were gun owners who
shared an appreciation
for personal firearms that most gun owners understand. His
"cop-killer bullet" and "plastic gun"
examples of pure ignorance to anyone at all familiar with
firearms, but truth,
facts, and accuracy were not on his agenda. He was creating
a divisive issue for
purely political purposes. McNamara and HCI recognized the
with law enforcement as the firearms owner's Achilles Heel.
McNamara picked the
target, and some gun owners are now taking all the shots,
to drive the wedge even further. Are we shooting ourselves
in the foot?
I personally believe that
the extremist element
who casually compare the enforcement of a community's
firearms laws to the Nazi
atrocities of WWII do a disservice to the Second Amendment
efforts of us all.
The exaggerated rhetoric is more divisive than constructive, and
opens the door to easy criticism. We of "the choir"
understand what is intended, but the average citizen will only
view the charges as the voice of a radical element of
"kooks". I hope we can agree that the choir should be
appealing to the citizens of our communities, not alienating
them. "Inclusive" is the word most often used by the
politicians of both parties during this pre-election period.
There is a lesson to be learned from the pros, and it is smart to
include a proven friend of ours, gun owners themselves, the
Yes, police officers do
follow orders. You just
have to ask yourself whose orders the typical officer is
following. Ideally, he
or she would be a student of The Constitution. But he is
more apt to be a
middle-income family man, busting his butt with a second job to
pay the mortgage, car, and ski-boat or motorcycle bills,
encouraging his kids in baseball or soccer, and socializing with
his wife and friends. Being typical, he probably is mandated to
live in the community of employment. As a result, he enrolls his
children in the local schools, attends the PTA meetings, meets
weekly with fellow parishioners at the local church, and has a
family doctor in that community. A police officer has more than
the average contacts with judges and attorneys, and, most
important, his chain of command (administration and supervision)
includes the mayor, city manager, city council, and chief of
We do know what
the National Education Association and teachers think
about firearms rights.
They are actively working to influence the legislation
rights through political activism. The NEA has a working plan
"gun control" in the coming years. They are
active in the community and they
organizations and leaders in every denomination, too
numerous to list here,
are actively demonizing firearms and their owners at
Recently, here in Chicago, a priest sprinkled the
entrance of a gun shop
with holy water as protesters held what they called an
exorcism outside a
gun shop to symbolically drive the evils of gun sales
out of their
communities. These religious leaders have a built in
audience every week and
they encourage them to vote!
Medical Association promotes anti-gun
"research" that is published
for public consumption and recent reports indicate that
more and more
doctors are including questions about firearms in the
home on medical questionnaires.
They are active in community politics and they
Mayors? City Councils? Chiefs? Is there any question
about their beliefs or
political influence? Is there any doubt that they vote
and influence voters?
The media? The
evening news? The morning newspaper?
And there you have the
organized leaders of your community, the movers and shakers
who influence the
community and the voters of the community. They give the
orders that your
police are obligated to follow. The organized, voting, and
anti-gun element is intent on eliminating firearms from our
that's the way the process works. The most active and
influential citizens vote for
the laws that the police enforce. Consider the alternative
to "law and
order" as suggested by some who believe that individual
police officers should decide what laws to prosecute, and which
Let's take a hypothetical police agency
in Liberal Southern California, led by a politically correct city
council and police chief chosen for his politics rather than his
ability to lead. Frustration among the ranks as a result of
rampant crime and a revolving door criminal justice system leads
a hypothetical gang unit to enforce the laws as they see fit. The
DA's office, judges, and parole and probation departments have
done nothing to quell the violence and drug trade, so the
hypothetical gang unit takes the law in their own hands. They
mete out justice as they see fit.
I did mention that this is a
hypothetical example, didn't I. Did anyone see the movie,
"Magnum Force"? Perhaps we should be careful what we
It is easy to criticize those who bear the burden of
great expectations, and the larger the figure or enviable the
task, the more exaggerated the criticism. I often think of the
unfair treatment of the true winners and heroes of our society.
Marines and jocks are probably the most maligned , and yet the
envy of everyone who would be a warrior or sports hero. We've all
heard the jokes, but no one can deny that a Marine or sports
figure is the epitome of what our society considers a winner.
Does anyone share my wonder that blind allegiance is the key to
their success? Talk about following orders! Anyone with military
or sports experience understands the importance of following
orders. You don't win a war by voting on which hill to take, or
toss a coin in the huddle to decide on a play. True winners
depend on following orders.
And yet, in such a target-rich
environment of anti-gun teachers, lawyers, doctors, and
reporters, so many frustrated gun owners can only muster up the
courage to berate police officers and even recommend
assassinating them when they go about their duties!
I am afraid for our Second
Amendment "team" when such exaggerated and destructive
rhetoric is bantered about so casually. It should not become the
norm. Have we lost this battle for individual rights so badly
that truth and pride are no longer a factor? You, the citizens,
rightly demand the controls on your law enforcement officers.
You, the citizen, by act or omission, are responsible for the
leadership who make the laws and issue the orders to your police.
The police officer understands this. Do you?
I appreciate and share the
need to appeal to law enforcement for assurance
that individual rights are high on their list of priorities. Like
the majority who choose a law enforcement career, I'm proud of my
profession. I followed orders for nearly 30 years and have no
regrets. I did not always agree with my superiors or the movers
and shakers of my community. I spoke out against them in public.
I wrote letters to the editor, and debated lawyers, doctors,
teachers, and reporters on the radio, on TV, and on the rubber
chicken circuit. I lobbied my fellow officers and joined in to
help with political campaigns. A cop doesn't make the law, but
that doesn't prevent me from doing everything I can to influence
those who do make the laws.
I am registered to vote and will
vote my conscience, regardless of party affiliation. And I am not
alone in my profession. I can honestly say that the majority of
line officers I have known are pro-rights and pro-gun. They are a
conservative lot. They can be a worthwhile ally in the fight to
restore firearms rights! I invite you to join us and view
evidence of pro-gun law enforcement at The Second Amendment
Police Department (in cyberspace) by viewing a few articles and opinions at www.2ampd.net.
You are encouraged to do
whatever possible to influence the police, and every
other profession in your community, to vote for the laws you deem
fair and responsible. I hope you will agree that a reasoned,
factual, and certainly passionate approach is the way to attract
fellow citizens to our cause.
And who do you think is
more inclusive in their
appeal to that police officer in your community, the
doctors, lawyers, and
teachers, or some kook on the Internet raging about killing
KABA NOTE: Leroy Pyle's long stint
as a police officer led him to understand the importance in preserving and
restoring the right to keep and bear arms. Founder of Law Enforcement Alliance
of America and former NRA Director, Mr. Pyle now stands among the leaders of the
"Cops Who Support Firearms" movement. Let us be glad that an "I
hate all cops" idiot didn't do harm to this man - or the many other strong
figures on his growing team of law enforcement Americans. You can read other
articles from Pyle, here.