Killing In the Name of Justice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

My thoughts on Justifiably killing in the line of duty.

Submitted: September 24, 2017

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Submitted: September 24, 2017



Recently I've been considering becoming a police officer, but much like when I considered joining the army in my youth, it quickly became an argument with myself on whether I could justifiably take a life. Upholding justice and pursuing truth have always been two traits that defined me since I was old enough to comprehend them. Yet, It gets cloudy when I actually consider killing a human in the sake of that justice. You'd think I'd have no problem with the general act of killing, considering the fact that I grew up in a family of hunters and have killed to eat since I was twelve years old. Though, at the end of the day, animals don't have human cognition, and killing an animal doesn't feel as mortifying as killing a person to me, so perhaps this is where I can draw the line? Can I kill a monster of a man who's no longer human? I'm writing this to work out my own thoughts and find a solution, and hopefully this will act as a guide for those on the fence themselves about justifiably taking a human life. Could you kill a man? How about killing a monster? What if that man becomes a monster? Would you feel pride in that justice? Would you lament yourself? Would you be the monster?

Perhaps I should need to define what makes a good person, and what actually classifies as losing your humanity? Indeed it would seem that a human losing its humanity would make it a monster. So if a man walked the path of darkness and began to sink into vile actions, he must be a monster. Though a man simply breaking a law doesn't make him a monster, does it? I believe to truly be a monster, you have to literally take pleasure in or have no qualms in destroying the beauty of life around you. You have to lose all the things that make you human, but ironically, human cognition is what allows you to even walk the bad path, but we will save a full delve into the depth of what classifies as losing your humanity for later. I shall focus on how this directly correlates to justifiably taking a life as an officer for now.

So,  Let's say a man robs a bank, holds a gun, draws it and dies at the hands of an officer of the law. Did the act of drawing the gun without actually hurting anyone make him a monster, simply because he spread fear and stole money? I believe not. So in my brain, it would follow that he didn't deserve to be killed unless he threw away his humanity by taking an innocent life. So if I became an officer, and I killed that man before he hurt anyone, am I the monster? Even if it was to protect another life? Shouldn't there be a way to stop him without bringing death? These questions are all heavy, and As an officer, you really don't have much choice in the situation sometimes, so to me that means that you have to accept the fact that you could be an accidental unjust killer if you become an officer. Successfully making you into the thing you are supposed to fight.

Obviously there are some black and white conditions that justify the death of a monster, right? A man rapes a child, a cop kills him, to me he carried out his duty, but if he didn't' arrest the rapist, and just put a bullet in his head, the cop would be arrested for murder. Why? He just eliminated a monster, for a justifiable kill, yet he is being reprimanded, but a cop that shoots a man who draws a gun (without firing it, just the act of the draw) is looked upon as a hero just because the situation was currently unfolding. Society's justification is that the cop just saved lives in the moment. So now he's a hero for killing a man who I don't classify as a monster. Yet if that same cop saves a bunch of innocent children by killing a rapist after the fact without his fair trial, he's in trouble, even though he's still saving lives, and killing one of the most vile forms of a monster. So how can an officer even figure out what justifies the death if the philosophy behind it is inconsistent?

My conflicting ideals are what pulls me away from the job I suppose, because I say he should put a bullet in that rapist, i justify it, because I have no problem with killing monsters. I also understand that this proves that doing the right thing doesn't always mean doing the legal thing. No wonder I have doubts about this. My own path of justice isn't always legally sound then, what a solid cop I'd be.

My conflicting sense of justice is what makes me sick sometimes. For instance, I know that if a father kills a man who rapes and murders his daughter, that dad will go to jail for murdering a monster. They say you can't take the law in your own hands right? Well tell me that when your child is raped, and you have the imagery of your kid being horrifyingly penetrated by a psycho, having nightmares of your kid screaming, and knowing that there's a justice system that can't guarantee this person can't do it to another kid. So the drive to make up for not being able to save your own child makes you want to protect other kids, and make the person suffer the same way your baby did. That father was justified in my book, but an officer who has killed to protect will be legally required to ridicule that father and arrest him, then that officer can justify his own killings in the line of duty? What hypocrisy. What a travesty.

The law makes even a cop who understands that father required to arrest him anyway...maybe my conflict is also with the law.

The reasoning surrounding this is so clouded, and inconsistent. I can't be a part of it, and after this short writing, perhaps these questions can help the next person the way they did me. Want to be a cop? Can you accept the fact that you may have to punish some good people who were misguided, then watch monsters walk? Can you accept killing anyone? Can you accept that in order to hunt monsters, you may have to open that door to being like one yourself?

Now don't get me wrong, I have full respect for what an officer has to do, I just find it foolish to become an officer myself when my own sense of justice conflicts with what an officer is allowed to do. I think we should kill monsters, though I'm not even sure I have the stomach for that. Watching the first deer I ever killed struggle for breath as it died haunted me for years, so I'm sure a human would carry just as much, if not more weight.  

My advice moving forward? If you  have the stomach for this, go do it, and I hope doing what you have to do doesn't make you lose your sense of faith in yourself. Most of all, hold onto that sense of goodness that drove you to want to protect this world in the first place...and always try to make killing your last option, because killing, of any kind, is never clean, no matter how necessary it becomes.


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