A video has gone viral on YouTube prompting well over one million viewers to debate heroism, the Marine Corps, Occupy Wall Street, and the New York City Police Department. Some may believe the video as moving, inspirational, and even possibly patriotic. There is so much to dissect here to bring about some understanding towards this situation–One Marine versus 30 Police Officers.
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First and foremost, NYPD is one of, if not, the world’s greatest police department. When confronted with a belligerent, loud, obnoxious, and disrespectful individual who calls himself a Marine, they showed the utmost restraint and professionalism. They are trained in countering such episodes of unruliness and succeeded in defusing this situation perfectly.
Protestor tactics are unique and alarming but only the best of the best law enforcement understand these tactics. As witnessed throughout the video, the antagonizing Marine knew a video camera was filming. He dressed in a way that bystanders would respect him by wearing the Marine Corp Combat Utility Coat. He utilized terminology to depict himself and his family as combat seasoned patriots. And it is highly probable that with the video rolling, this tactic was to set up to depict NYPD as the bad guys–and it would have worked if they handled the situation any other way.
Marine or not, the U.S. Defense Department has strict guidelines about the wear of the uniform for those active and retired service members. These directives follow 10 U.S.C.772, Executive Order 10554 and state specifically in this case that current or former service members are prohibited in wearing the uniform “when participating in activities such as public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration (including those pertaining to civil rights), which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted.”
All service members, no matter their individual political ideologies must maintain honor and respect for authority and those they serve alongside. This is taught on day one in each service branch’s boot camp or basic training. Those appointed above us, our superiors, the law, and GOD shall all receive the utmost respect. The Marine in question failed in this endeavor by blatant austere dialog towards the NYPD.
Some may claim this was a coordinated hoax by Occupy Wall Street. Others believe this was not a hoax at all rather a disgruntled Marine unleashing his Constitutional Rights of freedom of speech and expression. And many such as me simply believe none of the aforementioned matters as this Marine failed in upholding his military service principles–period. In the end, no matter the reason for this harangue, all current and former service members should never forget who we are and what we have been instilled through our years of service.
As a combat service disabled veteran, I am appalled by this Marine’s disrespect to his service uniform, authority, and his negligence in upholding the dignity instilled among each and every service member. Because we are veterans does not give us the right to breach the morals, values, codes of honor, nor directives instilled within us. As the saying goes, “Once a Marine–always a Marine.” Similarly, “Once a Veteran–always a Veteran.” Times are tough for everyone but let’s not forget who we are as past or present service members.
Kerry Patton is a Senior Analyst for WIKISTRAT. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies” and the children’s book “American Patriotism.” You can follow him on Facebook.