Police Psychology | Republicans Show a Bit of Class
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
I was going to avoid making any political comment this voting season, but I saw somethings at the Republican National Convention that was just extraordinary and warmed my heart and mind, so I thought I would comment. I am old and wise enough to know that it might just be rhetoric, but I don’t think so.
First, one of the speakers before Ivanka Trump, was Peter Theil, the Paypal, first outsider in Facebook, billionaire who admitted he was gay and talked about being gay and getting rid of the social distractions of culture to handle the country’s problems. I was actually in tears to see him address a convention of conservatives in the US and being cheered. Say what you want about the candidate behind the convention, but that was a class move. For the first time in American history, a man talked about being gay in a convention of people that traditionally never accepted gay men. I am not gay and I can’t imagine what it is like being gay, but I know it is not easy for these Americans, and I am proud to say some of the nicest people I have met are gay, and yes some are police officers and firefighters. I volunteered for people that had AIDS early in my career, and I was in the theater early on. That was a part of history I am glad I saw.
Secondly, the acceptance speech by the candidate Donald Trump on a couple of occasions reached out to law enforcement. He talked about bravery and the need for law and order in the United States. Whether you build a wall or not, it should not be between law officers and the citizens and I fear that is starting to happen. Law enforcement was down and needed some encouragement and reaching out to law enforcement was a class move. But it needs to go further and really make a difference in how the populace shows their support. Hopefully that will happen.
Let me talk about Peter Thiel first. His message was clear, let them go to the bathroom wherever they want, the president should worry about things like the economy, immigration and terrorism. Boy, did that message come at the right time. I am tired about elections being decided on gun control and abortion laws and whether someone said something that offended someone, somewhere, and it got printed in the newspaper. I can’t stand people making judgements before an investigation. I think the newspapers have stopped reporting the news and are trying too hard to make the news. I don’t decide a treatment before I hear the problem, and although no one seems to believe it these days, no cop I know shoots at someone before they see if a person is going to comply or is dangerous. It’s just not what we wake up to do! I just think that abortion and gun control are statute laws and should be left to the states, and pissing someone off is a right that we all have and anyone in the public eye is bound to exercise that right, as no doubt I am demonstrating right now. Meanwhile, let’s control the deficit, get the economy moving, fight terrorism in an effective manner, and not sacrifice our way of life by letting others come in and take advantage. Simple, but perhaps you needed someone like Peter Theil to say it to make it easy for everyone to understand. I liked that on the Thursday night of the convention.
Secondly, I spent last week in Singapore. I remember at the World’s Fair in 1965 that Singapore had just become a country. They had a good basis for setting law and order their way. They have the lowest murder/homicide rate in the world at 0.3 out of 100,000 (the US Rate is 3.9). Drug dealers were a problem until they passed a law that they were put to death for selling any kind of illegal drug. I spoke with the head of prisons who said they caught a prison guard sleeping with inmates, and the head of prisons claimed he would not be doing that again because the punishment was severe. For the most part, their law and order works.
In the US, too many of these things are not properly adjudicated or punished. Too many reasons are given; too often we negotiate a clear crime to lessen the sentence. Law and order is not martial law, it is enforcement and punishment for people who break the rules, and the world needs more of it. Law and order is recognizing that if you are in a situation that breaks the rules you will pay a heavy price, and that sometimes is your life. There is no prejudice when someone is yelling “he’s got a gun.” There is no prejudice when you represent the law and are trying to straighten something out and someone is not listening to you.
“Don’t you Find the Singapore rules a little restrictive” is the mantra I hear from many people. “No, because I don’t break the law” I find myself saying. I would stay within the structure regardless of where I was. When someone who represents the law asks me to do something, I comply. TSA does it all the time in airports and I listen. Time to stop the excuses of people and stop protesting against those designed to uphold the law.
So what does this have to do with psychology you ask? Our greatest gift was being born in a world of freedom and laws. Allow others to be free to act the way they want, and you will be free. Allow others to hold different opinions from you and you will be free. Allow for rules and rule enforcers to exist and you will be safe to make choices. You see the basis of all psychology is in the choices we make. Freedom and safety set the groundwork for choices to be made. I don’t now what I will vote, but I thought I saw a little class in the Republican Convention last week. Perhaps I will see it also in the democratic convention. That’s the good news out of so far a negative-based election. I can always hope.
Site Editor: Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
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