Photo credit: Mickey Z.
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Aug. 10, 2013
"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."
- Nuremberg Tribunal, Principle IV
As long as the "just doing his/her job" defense continues its relentless reign of terror, I'll be reminded of the Nuremberg Tribunal quote above. Most recently, I contemplated the cultural concept of "jobs" and "following orders" as I watched the agonizing but excellent film, Fruitvale Station.
One could say that the cops responsible for Oscar Grant's murder were indeed doing their job (oppression as profession) that night. The fact that these Blue Bloc members were ultimately fired over the incident is carefully presented by the mainstream not as a judgment on law enforcement as a career. Rather, a few individuals are deftly portrayed as unfit to hold such an important job.
The day after I saw Fruitvale, I found myself riding the NYC subway to attend a demonstration in support of Lynne Stewart. Known as "the people's lawyer," Stewart was targeted precisely because she was doing her job (details here).
Reminder: If the State needs to send a message to those who'd defend "enemies," jobs suddenly aren't so sacred.
Anyway, on the subway, I encountered an increasingly common sight: a homeless person asking for help. Reflexively, I reached into my bag for money (I always carry change with me specifically for this purpose) but the passenger next to me felt the need to offer the following advice: "Be careful. If a cop sees you giving him money, you'll get a summons. I've seen it happen a few times."
Indeed, as the robotic subway announcement voice warns us: "Ladies and gentlemen, soliciting money in the subway is illegal. We ask you not to give. Please help us to maintain an orderly subway."
I half-jokingly asked him if he was a cop but my Blue Bloc radar told me he wasn't. So, I simply replied: "We've criminalized compassion."
"Yeah," he said, "but it's not the cops' fault. They're just doing their job."
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