- CRITTER TALK
- MOVIE-TV-BOOK REVIEWS
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
Please don’t take that to mean I hate cops. I mean it in the same way I have an aversion to spinach- I won’t eat it if it’s boiled, but I will if it’s in a salad. I treat them like this: if they don’t bother me, I don’t bother them unless I absolutely need to. But having said that, I don’t disrespect them or knock them for the job they do. I know that they serve a vital role in the community. The only problem is, a few of them abuse their authority in ways that goes against their creed, “to protect and serve”.
It seems like every time I turn on the news, there’s at least one story about a cop and an unjustified shooting. I mean, how are people supposed to trust the police if they’re afraid of them? I know there are good cops, but I have to wonder- how do they deal with it when one of their own crosses the line? Doesn’t their job become that much harder?
Earlier this morning, I was reading an article about how a police union in St. Louis was asking officers to adopt the Punisher skull as a symbol of solidarity to show support for two cops who are currently being investigated. I found this interesting for two reasons: one, I am a comic book fan, and two, I can’t understand why a police union would ask its members to idolize a character who stands for the exact opposite of what they do.
Before I get to that though, a little background info. The Punisher, AKA Frank Castle, was a former marine who served three tours in Vietnam. While on leave, Frank and his family were on a picnic in Central Park when they stumbled onto a mob hit. Not wanting to have any witnesses around to identify them, the mobsters shot Castle and his family, killing them. Castle survived. As he recovered from his wounds, Castle learned that the police had scuttled the investigation into the death of his family, so he adopted the identity of the Punisher and used the skills he learned as a marine and wiped out the mobsters. He then vowed to wipe out every criminal he encountered.
Now, let’s get something straight- the Punisher is a vigilante, a criminal, and a serial killer. The fact that he only kills criminals is irrelevant. The Punisher may think that he’s serving the cause of justice, but what he’s really doing is getting revenge. And if you’re a cop who takes on his symbol, you’re pretty much a thug in my book.
I know I’m probably going to get a ton of shit for saying that, but it’s the truth. Police are servants of the law. They take an oath to protect and serve. The Punisher may protect, but he serves no one. He answers to no one. The person who created him, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer Gerry Conway, had this to say, “Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw.”
Besides, in the Marvel Universe, the Punisher has a sketchy relationship with the police anyway. The NYPD turns a blind eye to his activities, and he will not hurt a cop or allow one to be hurt. But that’s not to say he’s above kicking the crap out of one if he gets in the way. In the storyline, “The Brotherhood”, Castle encounters two corrupt police officers, one of whom deals drugs on the side. I guess I don’t have to tell you what he ended up doing to them.
My niece’s boyfriend was both a sheriff’s deputy and a fan of the Punisher. It also turned out that he was a drunk who used to playfully pull a loaded gun on her when he was wasted. She now has a restraining order against him and the Sheriff’s department fired his sorry ass.
Look, I’m not saying cops can’t like the Punisher or enjoy the comics written about him. All I’m saying is that if they want to model their careers after him, maybe they shouldn’t be cops in the first place.
I don’t expect police to be heroes, I just expect them to be decent human beings. I know they’re fallible, but they should be held accountable for their mistakes, just like the rest of us. A brotherhood of solidarity is a fine thing, but police shouldn’t forget that when one of their own does wrong, it reflects badly on all of them. They need to be reminded that they are in many ways, their brother’s keeper.
The shield they wear is a sacred trust, not a license to exercise their own brand of justice. I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but we live in a land governed by laws, not men who try to be a judge, jury, and executioner. The system we have isn’t perfect, but it’s the only one we have. If it fails, then chaos reigns.
There’s good and bad in everyone, and I accept that. No one is perfect, not even officers of the law. Police don’t deal in black and white, they deal in shades of gray. I understand that. The point I’m trying to make is that they shouldn’t model themselves after someone who only sees in absolutes in the extreme.