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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dire Circumstances

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Yesterday David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab, both 31 year old police officers in Tampa, were murdered.  They were shot after what began as a routine traffic stop developed into more when a warrant for arrest was discovered for one of the passengers.  Everyday police officers must stand ready to confront people who are committing or have committed crimes.  I once had a professor, a lawyer, who said that most crimes are, in one way or another, violations of the Golden Rule:  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  In a more exact sense perhaps, they are violations of the Silver Rule: “Do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you."  The unfortunate fact is that virtually everyone has violated the Silver Rule at one time or another.  In the majority of cases, these violations do not reach the level of becoming criminal offenses.  But they do serve to warn that under favorable conditions humans are readily able to break the Silver Rule beyond the point of legality.  The urge to “do to others what you would not like to be done to you” muscles out compassion.  Once compassion is lost, once the rule of reciprocity is lost, and once the passion of hatred overtakes all fear and judgment, then anything can happen.  It is under such circumstances that police are asked to step in and confront the criminal.  Yesterday two policemen in Tampa encountered mankind at its worst, evil in its glory, and the ancient act of murder pitilessly accomplished.

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