Tuesday, March 15, 2005

So much for the basics

It’s a good thing that I’m ignorant or some of the news of the day would bother me. Take for instance that the courts in California have sided with the homosexual side on the gay marriage issue. It is, at least in their opinion, unconstitutional to withhold the union of anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, from marriage.

I was reading in the
Volokh Conspiracy where it is all related to the failed ERA movement.

“Yet it now looks like the "hysterical" "emotional scare tactic" "canards" may well have been quite reasonable predictions: It looks like courts are indeed treating opposite-sex-only marriage rules as involving sex classifications, and as thus being presumptively unconstitutional. Had the ERA been enacted at the federal level, it would have further raised the bar against sex classifications, and thus made decisions like the California and Massachusetts one more likely.”

I bring this up, not because I wanted to blog about same sex marriage, although that would also be a valid topic. No, I bring this up in light of other topics that are in the spotlight. The first is the Atlanta court house fiasco which all started, as some have suggested, because a female officer was overpowered by a much stronger male prisoner; the end result, several people are dead. I have over simplified to make a point; there is a difference between men and women. Da, you don’t say!...

I suppose I should ask the question, “Could that same suspect have over powered a male officer and taken away his weapon?” The answer; it would have made no difference; the suspect would have overpowered almost anyone in a one on one tussle. There were other issues; the most clear to me, ( link in title bar), was that all suspects should be handcuffed during court appearances and there should be at least two officers holding that suspect in some way during the escorting process.

Any of you remember the scene in the old black and white movie with Andy Griffith, No Time for Sergeants where he has to pass the eye exam so that he will get classified? His Sergeant’s career is on the line and it appears to be in the can when Andy can only see an officer, not a female or a male, just an officer. He stands, squinting his eyes with that dumb country boy look on his face, “No, I only see an officer.”

I think that we could make a lot more progress in the court system if we do away with clothing. This sounds like a joke, at least I hope it does. Think of all the issues that will have to be taken without argument. We the People will be able to see the difference between the sexes, not to mention the extras; size, shape, quality and all the other subjective categories. Instead of ERA there would be more stuttering, “Errr, ah…”, followed by, “I seem to have been distracted, Your Honor. Could you have that last question repeated?” “Do you see a male or a female officer?”

The next issue came up during the week, I should have placed a book marker on the article; except at the time I didn’t give much thought to the article. Should the armed forces put women up on the front lines, in harm’s way? I guess I might have some of those “progressive” attitudes. I don’t see much difference in who should or should not be placed in harm’s way. I worked along side women in the police department who proved that they could handle the job. This is not to say that all women could, only that most of the ones I worked with had the ability to overcome the odds; notice that I did not say that they were stronger, only that they were able to overcome the odds.

Now, to bring up those differences that I saw between men and women that would tend to shoot down what I just said, yes, there were times when I worked with women who put on the uniform and tried to be police officers while it was painfully clear that they were not cut out for it. This is no different than a lot of men who had the same issue, that being they just were not cut out for the job.

I had a female rookie partner with me during a pursuit of a stolen vehicle. I was driving and kept up with the lone bad guy right up to the point where he abandoned the vehicle and I took off after him on foot. The chase took me through an apartment complex and only lasted a little while until I was able to capture and cuff him. I was pretty well winded and was careful to gain my breath before getting back on my portable police radio to let my dispatcher know that I had things under control.

During the chase I had lost sight of my female partner. Losing sight of a police partner is not uncommon since it is often more practical to split up in the hope that one police officer might; by going a different route, have a better chance of catching the suspect. When in such a chase there isn’t much time for choices; being in a foot race to catch a suspect, while also being aware that the suspect may or may not be armed and things like that.

It turned out that my rookie female partner decided that it was too dangerous to go running through a dark apartment complex after an auto thief. She became petrified, locked herself inside the patrol car and called for help. That explained all the other police cars and the police helicopter that I had not expected. Other than feeling like a fool, I’m not even sure why I felt that way, I was angry at having been riding around with someone who could not meet with the ridged requirements of the job. It had nothing to do with the fact that she was a female, it had to do with the timing of her decision to drop out of the situation. I had to explain to my immediate supervisor, who had raced to our location after hearing the call for help from the frightened female officer, why I had left her alone. My explanation must have been sufficient because I did not have to explain it a second time and the female officer voluntarily left the employment of the police department.

This could just as easily been a male officer who found that the dangers of police work are sometimes overwhelming. So, what’s my point? Not all of our soldiers serving in the armed forces are up to the challenge of being placed on the front lines, male or female; however, those who are able to do the job should not be denied that chance based on gender. This is not to say that just because they are capable of shouldering the same responsibilities that they should share the same barracks or the same shower. How’s that for returning to being a prude? Takes all the fun out of the term, “Stand at Attention”. I guess the point of this particular blog might be that if you get enough lawyers and judges into the mix almost anything can be ruined, to include sex.

I started out by saying that it's a good thing that I'm a bit ignorant. I would have saluted the officer in the movie, after having taken in the view to determine how high on the scale of 1 -10 she might have scored; but I would have saluted the rank attained.

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