Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty.
We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Colonel Jessop, A Few Good Men. You hear something similar from an alarming number of police officers should you have the temerity to question shootings, racism, deaths in custody. The police service has to start to recognise that while we are grateful for the protection they offer, that protection does not mean we are not allowed to question when they act beyond the bounds of what they are charged to do.
The police service wants us to respect the difficult job they do. While the Jessop attitude pervades, that respect is a long way off.