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Battle Mindset

September 02, 2000
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Battle Mindset

By Dave Helm

Battle mind set is not politically correct, neither am I, that’s why I chose the subject to write about. Understanding battle mindset and utilizing it in your daily operations may save your life. It will make you safer as you perform your duties. You can be absolutely positive that every career criminal that you deal with understands and implements the concept of battle mindset every time the deal with an adversary. (In case you have forgotten the dribble the academy staff was dolling out when you went to basic cop school 101, we are their adversaries). Sadly, many line officers do not, and it gets them killed.

I have attended more than one funeral for an Officer who was killed in the line of duty. Without exception each officer was described as a fine, honest, decent, hard working individual, who sought to better the community by their efforts, and would be forever missed by their family and friends.

I never once went to a funeral where the decedent was described as a hard charging ball buster, who would pass on his lunch to volunteer for the next hot call, so he could practice 3 from the ring with his new 30” baton, on some low life who really needed an attitude adjustment. We have all worked with those guys, not for long, IA usually saw to their untimely departure from the ranks of the men and women who stand as guardians of the thin blue line (sorry I was having a Waumbagh moment).

I remember the first funeral I went to. I was a member of the honor guard. We stood at attention in our class A uniforms in the mortuary by our friend’s casket, as family, friends, and comrades, paid their last respects. I went home that night thinking nothing could be worse then that experience. I was wrong. The next day I rode with five other officers who were granted the honor of escorting the casket from the mortuary to the church. I was riding third motor on the left looking straight ahead trying not to cry, as we proceeded across town at 5 miles per hour. People in the community were standing by; many saluted, many were crying, as we made our way down streets that never seemed to end. When we finally arrived at the church where 1200 officers were there to pay their last respects. There were many fine speeches and condolences during the ceremony. The pastor asked that we remember our friend fondly, and forgive the man who had brutally stabbed our friend to death during a suspicious vehicle call, which went terribly wrong. The officers had no idea that the person they were dealing with had just been released from prison after serving seven years for stabbing a man and woman to death. Had they had that information I’m sure the call would have been handled differently, but hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

After the church ceremony the casket was loaded into the hearse and we began the long ride to our friends final resting-place. The flag that draped his coffin was presented to the widow after it had been neatly folded into a small triangle. The bagpiper played “taps” as the helicopters flew by in a missing man formation. The widow, overcome by grief, fell to her knees, crying. Everyone else stood at attention, choking back tears. It worked for awhile, until it was time to lay our white gloves on the casket, before it was lowered into the ground, then we all lost it. We all cried like children ashamed that our wills were not strong enough to endure the pain which overwhelmed us. The press was kind enough to pick that time to take their photos for that afternoon’s front page.

What does any of the preceding paragraphs have to do with battle mindset? Nothing! Not one damned thing! I wrote it to paint you a picture of what your family and friends have to look forward to when you get yourself killed on a “routine” call because you failed to swap hats from traffic officer, officer friendly or social worker, to soldier. That’s right, Soldier! I said it, never mind what the city fathers (and mothers), the administration, or the Verbal Judo instructors, tell you. You are a soldier and you only get paid if you are alive to collect your check.

Battle mindset is preparing yourself to win any confrontation with any opponent, no matter what. There are only two kinds of fighters. Those who play by the rules (losers) and those who write their own rules (winners). Is brutality appropriate in a police agency? It most certainly is! Do not get me wrong, there is absolutely no justification for excessive force, under any circumstances. But, the penal code is very specific, and there is more than ample case law, regarding the use of force……Ahhh…..Folks… force is brutal…and if you do not believe me, stand in front of your partner and let him whack you with his baton until you get the concept. You can appease the administration by having your partner recite some Verbal Judo, or whatever politically correct mantra, is deemed acceptable these days.

Have you ever asked yourself why some low life meth using scum bag who is a poster child for the necessity for retroactive abortion, can get shot five times, beat a cop over the head with a bar stool, killing him, and live to tell about it? The answer, BATTLE MINDSET! He is prepared to win, no matter what the cost. Sadly, many of us are not. Yes, there is a place for officer friendly in law enforcement, and yes, we should do everything to prevent violence. But when it’s time to wrestle around in the rocks, bottle caps and dog excrement, you had better damned well have prepared yourself to win, no matter what the cost, your opponent most assuredly will have.

If you can not bring yourself to prepare for the eventuality that you will soon be forced into a life and death struggle, do yourself a favor before you leave the house for your next shift. Sit down and write your family a heartfelt letter telling them how much you care for them, how much you love them, and how much you will miss them after they lower your cold stiff corpse into the ground after some stranger pulls out every organ in your body and examines them, during the obligatory autopsy, following your untimely death. Put the letter next to your will, that way, when they come to settle your estate, they will be sure to find it. After the funeral, they are likely to need a little cheering up. It might help them with their grieving and help them through all of the tough times that will follow during your absence as they grow up without a father or mother.

Me, I got out with a retirement check, which I will happily cash every month, just to make PERS miserable. I hope when they finally lower me into the ground a bunch of lowlifes are standing around cheering and throwing beer bottles at my casket. With any luck, my kids will be there in uniform, to hook them for littering, or whatever other creative charge they can find, to make the ACLU types cry foul.

Please do not let me read about your untimely death at the hands of some knuckle head who will exploit the system until the next “true believer” takes office and sees fit to commute a death sentence, to life, in some “club med” prison, where the scum bag will happily tell the story about how you drew your last breath, after he shot you with your own gun. Gun retention……Nah, I’ll leave that one for another article.
Be safe, we all need you, though you probably do not hear often enough how important you are to all of us who care about you. Ladies and gentlemen, I truly believe that you, are all that stands between us, and anarchy. God love, and protect all of you, as you perform that thankless, and all too necessary duty…Law Enforcement.

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