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Military, Police and the Extremists Among Them

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A New York Police Department officer outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan on April 18, 2019, the morning after a man was arrested after trying to enter the Cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters just days after a fire badly damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. NYPD said the arrested man claimed he was taking a shortcut through the cathedral after his car ran out of fuel, but his answers were 'inconsistent and evasive.' (Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A New York Police Department officer stands outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on April 18, 2019. The night before, a man was arrested trying to enter the Cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters just days after a fire badly damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. NYPD said the arrested man claimed he was taking a shortcut through the cathedral after his car ran out of gas, but his answers were ‘inconsistent and evasive.’ (Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Christianne Boudreau looks at our military, law enforcers and the extremists among them:

Two police officers in Virginia were recently fired for alleged ties to white supremacist organizations. Over the years, we have also seen several violent attacks carried out by military personnel tied to right-wing movements.

Military personnel and police officers are looked up to in our society, and as such, those who hold these prestige positions have a unique responsibility to serve and protect.

As our children grow up, we teach them not only to respect these authorities but that they are special people willing to lay down their lives to keep us safe every day.

How do we uphold this image when there is question of their loyalty and bias?

Most of us try and keep a separation between our professional and personnel lives, but for anyone in these positions of power, the line is much finer.

Can someone who ascribes to an extremist belief systems carry out his or her duties properly? What about their right to freedom of speech and expression. Part of the idea of freedom of speech is that everyone should be allowed to speak their mind according to what they believe in.

Governments as a matter of policy list terrorist organizations. But, there is not such a clean cut line in regards to extremist organizations that have not been designated as such. While we may consider membership in them inappropriate, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily criminal or illegal.

Without clear-cult designation from the government, we have to rely on the top brass within our military, police and other authorities to make those decisions and single out the individuals within their ranks that may cause threat to diplomacy, safety and keeping the best interest of our communities at heart.

Until something drastic happens to create political pressure, this is not likely going to become a top priority, as we are all still very much focused on the threat foreign terrorist organizations pose in to the homeland.

 

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Christianne Boudreau

Christianne Boudreau is a contributor to Clarion Project.