This is a question for those who have served in positions of authority...

Discussion in 'onTopic' started by Kita, 17 Jun 2015.

  1. Kita

    Kita Should Update Title

    Cops, Military, and their bosses. That sort of stuff. If one of your duties/ abilities has ever been to detain others, and you have possessed authority to use deadly force, I am looking for a discussion.

    Mostly, I am just trying to get into the heads and thinking of soldiers, whether civil peacekeepers (cops) or hardcore warriors (military), and everyone in between. This has a lot to do with my epic sci fi thingy story I am working on, and addresses a major theme I have struggled with since I first started writing it.

    Not being someone who has been in this situation, I have relied on the not-at-all reliable portrayal of such persons through media and works of fiction. I frankly am not buying it, and am looking for truly honest human feelings.

    I am trying to wrap my head around this sort of solider/ cop mentality that allows them to push aside empathy and rationality, and replace it with cold obedience... and whether that is what is actually happening. What goes through someone's head when they are in situations perceived as hostile? Is everyone not in your group/ squad perceived as a threat? Is there room for filtering non-combatants/ non-threatening people? Is such a filter seen by you or others as a liability or asset? Do you find this is a way of thinking that has always been a part of you, or trained? And does it bleed into off-duty, or is there just a sort of internal switch that defaults you into a combat mode when working?

    Without the full story, it is easy for people like me to see only good cops/ bad cops and mindless tin soldiers. But I know there is more to the story. I REFUSE to believe things are so black and white. I want to understand the gray here. Maybe it is my rose-tinted glasses, that I see the good in all people. I believe the vast majority people are inherently good, and their actions are driven by a desire to do what they think is good and right. People don't set out with a desire to do bad; bad things are a consequence of drives to do what they believe to be the right thing, which can be misguided. I don't believe that cops/ soldiers are even remotely comprised of mostly bad people, nor do I believe THEY think most people are bad. Bed people are out there, and cops and soldiers are humans, capable of being as bad or worse than those who they strive to protect against. But I refuse to believe those bad apples always spoil the bunch... and when they do bleed onto and imprint on others, causing otherwise rational, good people to go against their nature, I want to know what went through their heads at the time, and what goes through their heads after the fact.

    I think stories with a lot of personal and professional feelings, thoughts, and commentary on the event(s) is really what I am looking for to help paint the picture, and help me understand tough situations and decisions. There is a gravity to the duties of service people that is so much heavier than that of the vast majority of people. Certainly, much heavier than anything I have ever had to deal with. Do people become numb the more they see? The amount of PTSD is staggering, which seems to suggest they do. And I want to understand what is behind this 'breaking' of good people. In a way, I think that perhaps the best people are the ones who take it the hardest and 'break' the worst. And I wonder how lifers do it? My grandpa was a lifer, but I never really knew him. He only saw combat in two wars, and it was all air... which seems like it might be a different mentality. They are bogies to be eliminated. You can't see the whites of their eyes. You don't bust into their homes, rip apart their drawers while their children scream in terror and confusion. How do humans do this to each other without personal consequence... and is it a misnomer that there isn't one? Just chipping away inside, or going numb because thinking about it would destroy you. And at that point, it appears to be an abusive relationship to remain in such a situation. When it is good, it is really, really good. You help people, you save lives, you protect those you love and your community/ country. But when it is bad, it is really, really bad, mostly for soldiers and cops in areas that may as well be warzones. The job lifts you and destroys you... at least this is how I have seen it. I know many, many more soldiers with PTSD or who were discharged than those who have remained active. Some destroyed by action, some destroyed by their OWN PEOPLE, perhaps other humans already broken or a bad apple spoiling the bunch and destroying the best people in the process.

    In a roundabout way, I both empathize with combatants and don't understand them and why THEY do what they do. I can put myself in the shoes of both them and a soldier/ cop, to a point. I understand fear, and what that can make you do. I understand danger, and snap decisions. I think I struggle with when and where that line is crossed, and how one comes to that point. Where they translate those feelings into violent action that results in death, serious injury, and as an extension, violation of basic rights. With soldiers, it seems the idea of 'rights' applies only to their fellow countrymen, and with cops, bad ones in particular, seem to bend those at times. Is that a power thing, people who get drunk with the feeling that they are above it all? Is it tied in with the fear and danger aspect? When one's duty is to defend rights, how do they justify removing them, ESPECIALLY in cases where a person is not a confirmed threat/ combatant, but merely someone suspected or in the wrong place/ wrong time? Do you ever think of yourself in such situations, and how you would behave and respond? If your own rights were being violated, even if you were innocent, would you allow it for the greater good, and is this part of why you feel capable of denying rights to others? Where is your own, personal line, and do you even draw one? Have you crossed it and redrawn it afterwards or regretted it?

    And, of course, I am even seeking commentary on my perspective and questions as an outsider, a civilian, asking such questions. My obvious lack of understanding. Commentary on whether I am way off, and how so, or if I am right on some things, and how so. I want an open discussion, and I want to understand how people put on 'soldier' or 'cop' mode, allowing them to do things that are so violent, and perhaps against their personal nature or ways. How good people align bad actions with their inner selves.

    I guess I have wandered off a bit, and want to finish this up by just expressing my frustrations with media and the base questions they bring up. The tin soldiers and 'baddies' used in movies, TV etc. to be killed en-masse. I always wonder what the bad guy's soldiers were thinking when they signed up, and see the bad things things they are doing, sitting by and defending the bad guy's mission while he tortures people. In the same sense, the soldiers who bust in and shoot everything moving, without a care for human life, never questioning. People dying, left, right, no names, catching bullets with flesh, mindless assumptions of them being nothing more than an enemy meatbag redshirt. Not a parent, a sibling, a child, a beloved member of their community, an artist, a genius, selfless, loving, and anything else they may be. What is going through people's heads, and how do they rationalize their behavior even when faced with moments of cognitive dissonance? Regardless of their feelings and frustrations with religion/ politics/ etc, do they ever feel the harm is outweighing the good, or stop seeing their agenda as being one that is aligned with their internal selves and internal desire to do good and right? Do they see people, or just missions? And, most importantly, how do people get to that point that they stop seeing people and only see missions or agendas?

    Ultimately, the big question that encompasses all this wall 'o text musing; How do you handle orders/ missions you are morally against? Do you realign your morals to protect your inner ego, lie to yourself, refuse, all of the above, etc.? How do good people do bad things and deal with it, themselves, and continue to do these things?
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  2. nina

    nina still prettier than you

    ive often wondered the same stuff. i know i would make a terrible soldier or cop for the very reasons you mentioned.
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  3. Kita

    Kita Should Update Title

    I think the same at times, Nina. I also worry I could be an utterly cruel and evil soldier if I was forced to be one, because I would find a way to rationalize actions and be utterly efficient at it. That is part of why I am curious as well, wondering about the change that occurs when people are forced to cross the line, no longer able to make decisions based on internal moral compass. It is spun out of control and in the direction you are forced to point it just to survive in the conditions and situations you are placed in.

    Lots of interesting psychology behind it, how people change in stressful circumstances, what it takes to cross that line, and what happens when one doesn't conform and refuses to cross it. Certainly unique for everyone.
  4. nina

    nina still prettier than you

    i think this even enters into play in nonstressful positions like law. would you be able to diligently prosecute cases against people for crimes that you dont believe should be crimes?
    would you make a great CEO? would you be willing to retrench 100 people so that your shareholders could enjoy a few more pennies of return on their shares?

    whatever it is at play, many jobs require you to divorce yourself of ethical considerations. im not sure how people do them tbh. id be curious to hear from one them as well.
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  5. Mulch

    Mulch Why does the drum come hither?

    lol, wrong post
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  6. Briana

    Briana Vibrating erver closer to 4th Density

    Hi Hi Kita. I really like your post, but i do believe you already have the answer.

    I am former military, Navy. I have been in positions of authority on the sea.

    I am not a good service member. I have regrets regarding things I know about in Operation Nobel Anvil, the campaign for Kosovo in 99.

    But to your statement. My answer is going to be anything but practical, expected, and every bit of esoteric, as it is in esoteric information that all the truths we seek lie.


    History shows in any civilization at any recorded historical period: soldiers, guards, people in positions of authority and control over their fellow being -ALWAYS ABUSE IT. Every single society on this planet has had the greatest atrocities arise from the sectors of control and trust within the societal construct in which they live. So we have thousands of years dedicated to the control, subjugation and even abuse of their fellow human. This cycle repeats endlessly no matter the location on this planet or time in our linear history (and subsequently still happening in non-linear time).

    Why? It takes a certain mindset to follow blind directions of abuse, control, violation of freewill, and imposition of will over your fellow humans. And if you consider all those who act even more heinously on their own, then their mindset is even more akin to say, a psychopath.

    I use a psychological label because the behavior the people in these roles exhibit is identical on many levels if not every level. This behavior is of course linked hand in hand with narcissism. How so? Soldiers, guards, police officers all believe they are doing a great thing. They all carry this cognitive dissonance where they see themselves as good people no matter that they physically or emotionally abused one person or many persons that day, because the law allowed for them to do so.

    That the "law allows" is what makes the final link in the persona's we are talking about in these fields. We are talking about children. Spiritual, intellectual children. Children do not think, they do as they are told. And when children do think about what they are doing, they get creatively destructive, deceptive, manipulative, and everything else - because they are children and children will always do not only what they can get away with, but often times when they know their parents will not punish them, children turn into monsters. Children kill animals, put poison/drugs in other kids food, in teachers coffee/water, and everything a Dhalmer or Ramirez or even a Bundy would do - except, the victims more often than not match their own size or can be brought down by their numbers.

    This 3 item list explains a few reasons why these people and organizations come together. Why cops are cops, guards are guards, soldiers are soldiers, followers are followers.

    1- Immature minds. The people in these organizations need the structure of control offered by such organizations and give their will to these organizations so that they can by proxy be extensions of the will of that organization. For this to happen, a person must feel some allegiance, some resonance with this way of existing - because these jobs are insidious. They dominate completely your "existence" at all levels of your life activities 24/7/365.

    2- A system of control that not only allows for abuse, but many parts of that system encourage it directly and in directly with hiring practices and punishment of those who do abuse others (or should i say, lack of punishment).

    3 - And finally, to really take it off the rails. These people are not really living. WHOA wait a minute. Socrates said, an un-examined life is not worth living. They are not living. They do not ask why. They do not examine anything except if they need more authority. They do not ever question the circumstances of their own involvement in this framework nor do they objectively question their own actions or the actions/controls/authority the law allows. More importantly, this questioning rarely happens in a subjective manner and from the perspective of those who are or have been subject to and sanctioned by the law and the direct actions of those who enforce the law upon them.

    We are talking about people that NEED guidance, need structure, and are literally riddled with cognitive dissonance (thinking errors):

    - View of self as a good person: Fails to see their own destructive behavior

    - Close Channel: not open to the view and opinion of others

    - Manipulation as a Goal: Tells people what he or she thinks they want to hear

    - Power Orientation: Use their position of power and authority to control people using any means at their disposal, literally.

    - Fantasy Uniqueness: They believe that they are the only ones capable of carrying out the goals of their organization (i.e. We save this city, we save this planet, we keep the people on the streets safe, etc... This is also attached to view of self as a good person).

    - Unrealistic Expectations: The idea that their actions as individuals and even a whole change the world for the better or furthers the goals of the organization they work for. And more importantly, that they are Hero's. Loved by the many - or conversely - Hated by the many.

    - Fear of Fear: They see fear as a sign of weakness

    - Lack of Interest in Responsible Performance: Speaks for itself and how they choose to abuse their position

    - Ownership Attitude: No Concept of the rights of others (as demonstrated by the amount of police brutality cases in the U.S. compared to the developed world at large (The U.S. more resembles 3rd world countries in this regard, sadly - which begs another question for a different post).

    - False Pride: Unreasonable need to be right​

    The thing about these thinking errors is that people never know they have them until they examine themselves. How do you do that? Think of any scenario in which you were part of a conflict of words, actions, anything and then delineate how that scenario developed action by action. You then label those actions. What you will see, is a list of
    Thinkers do not stay in these organizations, and when they do, they are forces of change in any area they work, policing their own and truly protecting the rights (rights as in, laws made by humans for humans) of everyone - innocent or guilty.

    And when you believe someone to be a thinker and is firmly entrenched in an organization like police/military, etc, and they are not a force for positive change, policing their own - then they are not really thinkers/examiners. They are just a more advanced and even more dangerous because they become leaders.

    Unfortunately, Kita, the answer is not easy but I do believe I have accurately outlined at least one aspect of the system of control we call authority figures like police, and military forces.

    Sorry for the long post!

    Bri Bri Bri!
    Last edited: 2 Jul 2015
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  7. Kita

    Kita Should Update Title

    Love the response Bri, THANK YOU!! Just what I was looking for :D

    I hope you don't mind some follow up questions...

    How often would you say you encountered such people? Were they a majority? 1 in 10? Too hard to say? Did you see anyone go through this change, from a good, moral person who thought about consequences into an egotistical "good solider"? What did it take? What this common? Would you say such people were easy to pick out from the start, or were they more likely to surprise you? Did it seem they were more 'created' or 'groomed' into the desired image, or did they by and large come into the service as a bad apple?

    And, from a personal point, now that you have had time away from the experience and the opportunity to step back and out, did some of this behavior slip out of you? Did you catch it at the time? Did you feel wrong inside, or totally justified? Did you see it happen to others? Were you able to shield yourself and remain conscious of your behavior, or was this somehow prevented?

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  8. Briana

    Briana Vibrating erver closer to 4th Density

    One last thing. I guess what I am really talking about, is succinctly called "Being" and "non-Being". It only sounds like Scientology because L. Ron Hubbard stole that particular vernacular from someone who published before Dianetics and the first Scientology publications of the late 1940's. And that man was George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.

    Gurdjieff said that "man is essentially mechanical and free will and true consciousness and freedom are only seldom realized possibilities. In the normal state man is subject to circumstance and passes his life in a state of sleep."

    Most notable quotes:

    • "Man such as we know him, is a machine."
    • "Men are machines who are not responsible for their actions. We cannot do. With us everything happens."
    • "Buffers are appliances by means of which man can always be in the right. To destroy inequality and suffering would destroy evolution and the "shock" needed to overcome the buffers."
    • "Constant awareness of the inevitability of death is the only means to acquire the urgency to override the robot."
    • "It is the greatest mistake to think that man is always one and the same. A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour."
    • "Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave."
    • "Religion is doing; a man does not merely think his religion or feel it, he lives his religion as much as he is able, otherwise it is not religion but fantasy or philosophy."
    I guess I have given you insight to how I think now. For more info:

    Have fun, and since you did not ask for that link, then i suggest no one click it, unless you freely choose to learn what follows it.

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  9. Briana

    Briana Vibrating erver closer to 4th Density

    Ok, well, i guess since i don't care anymore. I will just make the words look funny to avoid google indexing monster.

    One of the mi$$ions was the chyne$e imba-c, we dropped like 2000 lbs of ex plos ive s on it.

    They said on the box that tells people lies aka television see-en-en, that it was an accident but it was a target of opportunity because of certain visitors to the location at that time. It upset me immensely. When I was getting out and they asked me if i was proud of my service, i told them no. Because of that they denied me 2 medals that i was supposed to receive, and crapped on my DD-214 discharge paper so hard it takes me like a year to get an official copy and then on that they put the incorrect Rating/Job - which is why it is unsigned and takes so long to get an official copy.

    Kita -

    People who join these forces are ALL non-thinkers or disillusioned thinkers. Disillusioned thinkers change their life and leave. Non-thinkers stay in or get out but when they get out, they go straight to other systems that allow them such extreme latitudes of control.

    These systems "Creates" AND "Grooms" the people to become these monsters. When you are part of these organizations and your instruction includes explicit details on how to impose your will on other humans by force or psychologically, and you choose to stay in these system - then, as i said: it is for you, it resonates with you and it is the guidance you want, the shining beacon in your life that more often than not defines you for the rest of this existence - and if you believe in karma - the things they do to people in these roles of control they pay for in next incarnation after next.

    Some come into the service as a bad apple - because it all resonates with them. Even the good apples are bad apples because they are part of this system, even if they are working from the inside. The true work is to dismantle the system completely and rebuild it with a new structure, of course. It is the only true answer - all else is simply non-being thinking.


    How did this behavior slip out of me...

    Kendra Bancroft flipped her wig on me in the public forums, cursed me out over my politics and called me a Jingoist. I did not change, but I watched and i thought.

    If a good person, who always wants good things for people see's something horrible in you - maybe you should ask yourself what they are seeing in you that you cannot see yourself.

    I did ask myself why she called me that over and over again. And repeatedly I was slammed for my views - even if i was right or so i believed. Ultimately I saw that my perspective was primarily selfish in thinking, protective of the government and inconsiderate of the pain and suffering of individuals, groups, the human condition. Basically, THINKING. Close channel behavior is an obsession of your own knowledge. That in and of itself endangers you because obsession blocks the acquisition of knowledge - especially knowledge contradictory to your obsession(s).

    When i was in the Military, my thinking may have been somewhat free, but with my indoctrication via a degree in political science, international studies and philosophy - the trick of intelligence i played on myself was complete. The illusion of intelligence was shattered by Kendra. And if was not Kendra, it would have been another, because thankfully, I think. I ask, I question. And now more important than ever:

    Be discerning
    Be observant
    Be aware

    Or else you can and will get caught in a system of control, like political parties, political action committee's and groups, eco-warrior groups, and so on.

    You will serve yourself best, through serving others, or else you will be a selfish creature, subject to easy control and manipulation by systems put in place by governments, organizations, and people who think more than you, but are quite literally, evil or extremely selfish (same thing).

    By serving others, you automatically link yourself to their welfare in an intimate way that more often than not causes them to do the same, thus networking, which connects people, and shares information, and evolves us, changes us, it is one of many natural examples in the universe. Chemisty - elements 'network' with single, dual, triple bonds between atoms to create something more. Everything works this way, and we are barely starting after thousands and thousands of years. Unfortunately, networking can strengthen the bonds of those easily lead -non-thinking- people as well.

    But as Thomas Hobbes said, the lambs can easily defeat the lions, because the lambs have the brains, and all the lions have is brawn.

    Oh. No, i was not able to shield my behavior completely. Even though i felt horrible about that bombing, i still came out, singing praises to the system and was without a doubt a full on Jingoist, and when Kendra called me that.... I told her i was damn proud at that... So there was my thinking.

    Knowledge Protects, Ignorance Endangers.

    Last edited: 2 Jul 2015
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  10. Briana

    Briana Vibrating erver closer to 4th Density

    Kita, you wouldnt do that.

    Why? Because you are naturally further along a spiritual cycle of development that connects you emphatically to these very issues. You would probably justify committing one atrocity and then afterwards, you'd be in the bottom of a bottle, sorrows, or nagging guilt for the rest of your life.

    In fact, I suspect that if you ever did something like that, it would probably act as a extreme catalyst for extreme change.

    Nope, i think you have way too much emotion below the water line that we can't see that would kill you on the inside.


    Lots of people get into these positions and do end up doing something horrible and they hate themselves forever - some people it kills their soul. Others, it is the exact opposite in a positive way.
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  11. Kita

    Kita Should Update Title

    Thanks Bri. :) You have given me a lot to think about!

    Ultimately, it just reinforces the direction I was already going with my characters, and how I have them dealing with these issues. I just wasn't sure how *realistic* I was being, and if people do go through waves, valleys, peaks, or if it is more simple than that. I still am not sure if it is ever black and white, in any cases, but I suppose part of the interest in the characters is the dimension they gain through the struggle. I am also equally concerned about even extras, unnamed characters, their actions and what drives them. I suppose I have an odd way of writing, where there are no 'red shirts', no faceless soldiers. Every face is a person with complexity, not a device or trope to simplify storytelling.

    I worry I put too much on my plate by shirking such established conventions in action movies....
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