Good Evening, God!
In the newspaper this morning I read an article about how, since 9/11, there has been a surge in companies offering to train police to be “warriors”. The article quotes from a 2015 Harvard Law Review article by Seth Stoughton.
And it does seem that more and more police are seeing themselves as just that — warriors. As I look at the Riot Gear they are wearing I think . . . gosh, just putting that on would put me in a state of high anxiety. Hmm.
So, it would seem that there has been a shift in the stories the police are telling themselves.
First, let’s be clear. It is a stressful job. And a thankless job. A job in which I would imagine burnout is endemic. In a job where “staying alive” is a daily goal I can see how easy it would be to see the community as potential terrorists. But, that mindset only makes the stress worse. Being a Warrior in and Evil World is an extremely stressful story to tell yourself.
In an article about 9 Tips for Avoiding Officer Burnout . . . tip number 9 is Talk to the people in your community. “You need reinforcement to remind you that the majority of people out there are good, law-abiding people who know you are trying to make things safer,” McKenna says.
So, as we examine the situation maybe we could begin, God, with the stories we tell ourselves — about our “role” and about our “community”. And especially about those people we are being encouraged to label and degrade and project our anger on to. . . Talking together sounds like a good place to begin.
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