Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wages war on the word ‘warrior’
Communities would benefit more if politicians stopped being vocabulary warriors and started developing realistic solutions to violent crime
Recently the Mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey banned all “warrior” and “fear-based training” for law enforcement officers.
In addressing these issues, I shall refer to the Minneapolis Mayor as Minne-Mayor for short. This is because I have detected he is uncomfortable with police issues, so therefore I have empathetically eliminated the Swedish word for police – polis – from the word Minneapolis. I have also left the “a” out of the word Minneapolis since I am a bit of vocabulary warrior like Minne-Mayor. I felt keeping the “a” was a blatant case of excessive use of vowels.
Minne-Mayor seems to be one of the many “leaders” these days who have become vocabulary warriors, occupying their time waging war on words. This is much easier than developing realistic solutions to problems like illegal immigration, violent crime and the carnage caused by the illegal drug trade.
The Next Battle for the Minne-Mayor
Since the Minne-Mayor has legislated that the words “warrior” and “fear” be removed from police training, maybe he will now demand the removal of the Golden State Warriors from the NBA and request the San Antonio Warriors Volley Ball Team disband immediately.
With that done the Minne-Mayor could prepare an edict ordering that every yoga class cease and desist from performing the Warrior Pose. Then Minne-Mayor can also decree that the NBC Show “Ninja Warriors” be canceled immediately.
Minne-Mayor can follow up these bold actions by issuing a Minne-Mayoral Proclamation to groups such as the Garden Warriors, Ecological Warriors, Chess Warriors and Poet Warriors ordering that they disband immediately or change their bellicose monikers to kinder, gentler verbiage.
Then the Minne-Mayor will most probably try to orchestrate the removal of the name “Warriors” from every high school team in the nation currently using it. He will have a mighty Minne-struggle with this effort for when he Googles “High school teams named Warriors” he will receive 180,000,000 hits. What a Minne-Mayoral-motherload!
Seriously, though, I wonder what Mayor Frey means by “fear-based training”? All police tactics training – such as firearms, defensive tactics, room clearing, domestic violence training, SWAT training, active shooter response and crisis communications, to name a few – are designed to give officers a prepared and defensible response for critical situations that naturally would create high levels of fear in any human being. Does the Mayor propose prohibiting all these trainings?
You see, when facing a potentially life-threatening event, fear can cause the untrained officer to freeze, underreact, or overreact. Police officers must be taught to operate defensively effectively, as well as legally, in these dangerous situations, while managing their fear. Training officers for survivability – physically, legally and emotionally – not only translates into successful conclusions to difficult calls, but also less liability incurred for the mayors in the jurisdictions that promote such training.
What Word Should We Use?
I suspect that Mayor Frey, like so many people, have no idea of the desperate struggles that officers engage in daily throughout the nation.
Police trainers do use the term “warrior.” I have used it to describe officers like my friend Bill Gray who was stabbed in the face through the hand and had his neck slashed during a brutal sudden assault, but he still managed to fight back and survive.
I have another friend by the name of Stacy Lim who was shot in the heart but still fought back and not only won this deadly encounter, but recovered to complete her career with the Los Angeles Police Department retiring in June 2018. For me Stacy has forever earned the moniker of warrior as well.
Ann Carrizales is another warrior who was shot in the face and chest, but instead of lying down as her attackers thought she would, she climbed into her squad car and pursued them. Can you imagine their shock?
My friend Marcus Young was shot and stabbed repeatedly but never gave up, when many would have. Marcus, who personifies the warrior spirit that trainers try to breathe into their trainees, fought on courageously to prevail.
I had another friend named Craig Birkholz who survived Afghanistan and Iraq but was killed in the line of duty as a police officer arriving at the scene of a shots fired, officer down call. He was a warrior.
Is it a war out there?
Those who do not like the word “warrior” often ask, “Do you think it’s a war out there?”
My answer to this would be, “No, it’s not. However, there are times in officers’ careers where they may experience close-quarters combat where the cost of losing will be as high to them as those soldiers who have fallen on the battlefields of our wars. Survival training is an essential part of preparing officers for these terrible and fear-filled moments that are unscheduled, but inevitable.”
I am certain the Honorable Mayor Jacob Frey is one of those people who sincerely love the sound of the word “guardian” to describe their police officers. It makes people feel good. It even makes me feel good.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Minneapolis police officers work often and they are indeed guardians. They know this. However, they also know something Mayor Frey has failed to realize. When you take up the proverbial shield of the guardian, sooner or later you will be required to draw the proverbial sword of the warrior!(Oops, I said it again.)