One of the fundamental points of discipline is to correct the behavior of not only the offender but also others who may think about straying down a similar path. For some strange reason, some people are not paying attention or are simply refusing to learn the lessons that recent history is desperately trying to teach them.
Much has been written about retreating and staying in one’s own echo chamber. I believe that it is problematic to only read or listen to points of view similar to one’s own. Now to be fair and show that I try to remain neutral and digest all information concerning a topic, let me point to an article which states that adhering to echo chambers may not be as bad as researchers initially thought. However, I do remain convinced that adhering mostly to homogenous points of view can be a bit dangerous. See what I did there?
The problem comes when some people are so entrenched in their opinions than they refuse to budge from any position previously held. While living in an echo chamber they may believe any headline they come across, especially if it degrades or disagrees with their adversary, whoever they might be.
And let me add as a side note that one should actually read the information or article and not just the eye-catching headline. Recently I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a post by a friend with an interesting headline. When someone else commented on the post, the original post-er, stated that she didn’t actually read the article, just posted it because of the catchy headline. I mean, really?? Let’s get back on track.
Take for example the recent firing of a couple of Louisiana police officers who came across an article and agreed with the outrageous and violent sentiment. One officer came across an article and posted it to Facebook. The second officer saw the posting agreed with the sentiment and “liked” it. The controversial article implied that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot for stating that our military personnel are paid too much and should have their wages slashed. Both officers should have done a bit more digging and he would have found out that the article, which was shared, was a fake news story. How ironic! Nevertheless, he, the original poster and the “liker”, were both terminated for suggesting that the representative be shot for suggesting our military be paid less. It should go without saying that the idea of fact-finding should be very basic to police officers. Over this non-factual article, both officers threw away their careers, one of them a fourteen-year veteran.
In the last few months, law enforcement has suffered some serious blows thanks to their own doing and social media. The Plain View Project and Reveal news have exposed the racist ideologies and illicit memes that officers believe in and routinely post behind what they thought was the veil of secrecy. Let’s not forget about the Border Patrol Agents who had their shenanigans exposed by ProPublica.
People must pay attention to their surroundings and actually read and review what is occurring for not only their line of work but for the sake of their city, state, and world. How many officers have been placed on administrative leave/duty and fired thanks to their own silly posts on Facebook?
To become ensnared by the words of your own mouth is truly disturbing. Let me be clear that I do not believe that the answer to this emerging social media problem among officers is what I’ve read on a few different websites geared toward police officers. Some comments have stated that officers should just stay off of social media altogether. Social media is not the problem, nor posting about saving a life or pics about your fishing trip with the boys. It’s the secrecy and hidden beliefs in the racist, homophobic, anti-Islamic ideologies that are the problem. Officers who advocate for extra-judicial means of violence or suggest that U.S. representatives should be shot should not be in that line of work in the first place. Remember the oaths that are sworn? Something about protecting the serving the communities? Upholding the constitution. I’m sure that most agencies have something in their rules and regulations about morality. If anyone doesn’t see the difference then I question their values and place in law enforcement.
People, please pay attention and actually do some reading and digging into stories. Please keep in mind that every story isn’t a real story. Learn from the mistakes of others and if as an officer you really feel a certain way about any other “group” of people reconsider your line of work.