The Last Ship and our Oath of Office

While watching The Last Ship: Scuttle, Captain Slattery of the Nathan James said the following: “We always have a choice.” The situation was the same as that faced by officers of all ranks and types throughout history: Should we follow orders when they conflict with law, instruction, regulation, and even what society at large would consider wrong?  I think he was directly referring to our oath of office.
 
Not only was I taught in several schools of military education that the answer is usually “No,” but that’s what our law says, as well.
 
An officer’s oath isn’t to obey the orders of those appointed above him.  Instead, it’s rooted quite firmly in the Constitution itself.  Indeed, a Presidential Commission expects precisely this behavior from all officers, regardless of rank, such that the entire collection of military, civilian, and law enforcement officers of our nation at all levels throughout our nation from a butter bar to the Commander in Chief him/herself are all bound by the same inescapable oath to our United States Constitution.
 
It’s high time Congress, half of the U.S. Supreme Court, and judges at all levels start taking it seriously, for they have ALL sworn by the same oath:
 
“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
 
Judges take a second oath, further binding them to follow “the supreme Law of the Land” (U.S. Constitution, Article VI: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript).
 
“I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.” – 28 U.S. Code § 453 – Oaths of justices and judges
 
My question is clear: Why are so many judges, mayors, local and state legislators, and members of Congress NOT following our nation’s laws?  Furthermore, why do so many people in our nation keep electing these anti-Americans to office?
Following our oaths of office has nothing to do with keeping you out of trouble.  It has everything to do with your accomplishment of the duty you swore to uphold.  Similarly, electing politicians who will actually follow their oaths of office has nothing to do with assuaging your conscience.  It has everything to do with your duty as an American citizen to your fellow citizens in ensuring only the most trusted and reliable persons are ever placed in positions of our public trust.
 
https://www.hulu.com/watch/1073461

Using Behavioral Science in Modified Arrest Procedures

In a discussion on a law enforcement officer’s Facebook page, I came across a common response to officer-involved shootings during an arrest:

“As a police officer, you have to wonder — why would someone ignore commands at GUNPOINT to get to a certain location?” [what is so important that they will look down the barrel of a gun and blatantly disregard lawful commands]

I thought it was important to shed light into what goes on in someone’s (anyone) head before they pull the trigger. It’s NOT race. It’s not gender, age, sexual orientation, religious belief. It’s simply this, “is this person going to keep me from going home today?”

I agree with him, but only to a point.
In fact, immediately following the Kajieme Powell shooting in St. Louis in 2014, local law enforcement were quick to post a bystander’s video in the hopes that it would set the record straight. Unfortunately, most people who have never been an armed confrontation jumped to all sorts of wild conclusions, including believing the shooting was unwarranted, that the suspect was unarmed, etc.
 
I spent the entire night translating the video to text and adding small bits of commentary where appropriate.
 
The resulting post proved invaluable on various message forums discussing this incident, as it highlights the misperceptions and misconceptions, leaving little to the imagination while clearly delineating why the officers needed to fire:  The deadly knife-wielding suspect charged them.
On the other hand, I’ve also seem a number of videos where a suspect clearly suffering from some sort of physical disability that renders certain movements difficult, slow, or impossible, is pushed, shoved, punched, kicked, and beaten, even after finally arriving at the commanded position.
 
Bottom line, no matter how high the adrenaline rises — on either side — for a successful outcome both law enforcement and suspects must recognize, know, and most importantly, demonstrate understanding, professionalism, and restraint.
 
Despite the undesirable outcome, that occurred in the Kajieme Powell shooting. They gave him plenty of time to comply, and his response was to rush them while wielding a knife, with obvious consequences.
 
In the other videos to which I have referred, I’ve seen rampant brutality resulting from a suspect whose only crime was that they didn’t respond at the same adrenaline-fueled time dilation that was occurring in the minds of the responding law enforcement officers.
 
What law enforcement officers often either do not understand or respect can lead to abysmal outcomes:
 
1. Under adrenaline-fueled situations, the time dilation experienced by responding officers can easily exceed a factor of 10. That is, they will swear under oath they gave a suspect at least five seconds to respond to multiple commands, whereas video shows the commands are strung together in a nearly unintelligible one-second burst with half a second between the last command and the officer’s first physical action taken against the suspect.
 
2. Behavioral scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists all concur that under extreme duress of rapid onset, roughly half of all human beings exhibit an evolutionary “freeze” response — even (especially) in the face of yelled commands. At other times, the survival instinct that kicks in involves either a slow retreat or a rapid defensive attack (law enforcement officers are not immune). These known and often-demonstrated phenomena are shared with many other creatures throughout the animal kingdom, and is likely a major component as to why suspects “ignore” commands. In fact, these very deep-rooted, even instinctual behaviors are not acted upon by any conscious determination of the suspect. They are literally “fight-of-flight” behaviors deeply ingrained into the sub-conscious part of the brain.
 
In fact, as a career military aviator, one who has seen more than my fair share of combat, I have experienced all of these phenomena.  A fair amount of our emergency procedures training, however, is specifically designed to replace these evolutionary behaviors, which could easily prove deadly in the aviation environment, with measured responses designed to maximize the likelihood of a successful outcome.  As one who holds a masters in Management Science, I find the evidence strongly suggests these outcomes can be significantly improved by incorporating modern behavioral science into the response matrix usually employed by most law enforcement departments and agencies.
 
In light of the above, law enforcement could greatly enhance their own safety, greatly reduce personal and departmental liability, while greatly improving positive outcomes of various confrontation if they took some time to study all three phenomena, along with modifying their approaches to conflict in order to take these well-known, proven phenomena into consideration, incorporating them into their own trained responses.
 
No, it won’t be easy. It is, however, necessary.