After a couple of drinks, the conversation between Jason (Cop) and I (former Navy SEAL) tend to get interesting. Our perspectives are often very different when it comes to certain issues. Last night after our son went to bed, Jason cracked open some whisky and I poured a scotch. We started talking about some training he just attended, then the conversation shifted to politics. At the end of our second round of drinks and one heated debate later, an idea was born.
We wrote down questions we thought could show the differences or similarities in the mindset of police versus operators. There are only three rules; first, we answer the questions privately. Second, under no circumstances can we change our answers when we read what the other wrote. Last rule, any answer can only be one paragraph. Before we start, I feel like there should be a disclaimer, something like, “The views expressed in this article do not reflect those of all police or Navy SEALs.”
1. How do you feel about home protection?
Navy SEAL: Too much is not enough, my family is everything to me. I realize that many families have to live on budget (including mine). I’m always armed or have a weapon within reach throughout the day. Also, having a big ass Saint Bernard that’s extremely territorial of the home is a hundred times better than some crappy home security system that charges you a monthly fee.
Cop: Get a dog. No, seriously. Even the police are hesitant to walk into your house when you have an unpredictable animal with an overwhelming sense of protection for its family. If you must get an alarm system, do your research on the company. Also, know that the police response time varies depending on where you live. If you have a firearm, it won’t help you much if you don’t practice with it.
2. What are your thoughts on concealed carry vs. open carry.
Navy SEAL: Outside of open carrying because your job requires it, I think its kind of douche bag move to open carry unless you’re on a hunting trip or something similar. All it does it make people incredibly uncomfortable. Eating at restaurants, or watching movies is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to focus on the attention-whore trying to look like a bad ass.
Cop: I love those open carry guys. I don’t have to look for their weapons. When I’m off duty, mine is concealed. That way, if Mr. Bad Guy comes in to do his thing, he is picking off the open carry people first. That should give me enough time to draw and move to cover while making a plan to eliminate the threat. That’s my first thought when I see those people. My second thought is, “Nice Hi-Point.”
3. Should PT tests get easier the older you get for SEAL’s and Cops?
Navy SEAL: There should always be a minimum standard that never changes because of age, a standard that reflects the potential demands of the job. If you can’t pass the minimum standard you’re putting other peoples lives at risk.
Cop: My opinion has changed a bit over the years. If I am physically unable to do the job, then I shouldn’t be doing the job. I had gotten to that point earlier this year and did not realize it until I was chasing a criminal on foot. These jobs aren’t about you, they are about the people depending on you. There are other aspects of law enforcement that don’t require physical exertion. Knowledge and experience are very important as well. Perhaps, those areas are better suited for those who can’t pass the entry level PT tests.
4. How do you feel about the military operating within the U.S. borders?
Navy SEAL: I’m not a fan of it, with the exception of disaster relief, humanitarian reasons, or if the state requests it. Much like deadly force in the U.S., it should only be used when all lesser means have failed or can be reasonably employed.
Cop: I support that during times of natural disasters, rioting, or invasion. Not much else.
5. Should the police be more militarized?
Navy SEAL: Yes, but don’t get crazy. I think regular police officers, not just SWAT, would greatly benefit with more tactically sound gear and technology. Having mobile deployable drones, night vision, optics, and the option to wear a chest rig to name a few, would aid in protecting their lives as well as the public.
Cop: I love history. Most people are bored by it, which is why we repeat it. The police have generally looked like the military since the late 1800s. Departments have been organized into para-military structures since that time. If you were to look at a picture of a U.S. Army officer in 1875 next to the Athens, AL Police Chief of the same year, the uniform is almost identical. I remember when the sheriff’s office received a vintage armored personnel carrier from government surplus. Everyone in town thought it was a joke. However, I was relieved to know that the next time a wounded person was laying in the front yard of a barricaded house, we had a safe way of retrieving them before they bled to death. Also, domestic terrorism, who do you think responds to that? So yeah, 150 years later, we still look similar to the military. If the criminals hadn’t upgraded their artillery and armor, we probably wouldn’t have either.
6. Black lives matter vs. blue lives matter, how do you guys feel about them?
Navy SEAL: I feel like this question is trap, because it’s pitting the two against each other. I’m not going to say some bullshit like all lives matter because they don’t. I’ve been around long enough to know there are some real evil people who need to die. I think the real issue behind both movements is the importance of black people and police officers as it pertains to racism and the justice system. Ending racism and having a perfect justice system is never going to happen. They are impossible mountains to climb. But the funny thing about these mountains, though it’s impossible to reach the top, we shouldn’t be discouraged by that. The true summit lies in never giving up the climb.
Cop: “No lives matter. The universe doesn’t care about any of us.” That was my favorite saying on that, couldn’t resist. Looking at it objectively, both of the BLM movements are based on one group not giving a crap about the other. It’s very divisive. There are problems on both sides of the fence. Are there bad cops? Of course. I hurt my career reporting one. So when I see these keyboard warriors typing, “As long as there are bad cops out there not being reported, there’s no such thing as a good cop,” I can’t help but think “The police are hiring every week, so put that hot pocket down and suit up.” Someone from every race has tried to kill me (except for Asian or an Indian which are very small numbers in the area I worked). Should I blame those races as a whole? Should I blame their professions? Nope, I’m blaming that individual asshole for his actions.
7. Should there be a reform for police training when it comes to deadly force?
Navy SEAL: Of course, but the picture is much bigger than that. The training that police get is often based on a very tight budget. For our police to perform, we have to treat them like professionals. That means raising the bar across the board. The qualification and vetting process needs to be more challenging, training needs to be frequent and reflect current threats, and with that should come improved pay and benefits.
Cop: We are constantly reforming. Every year I attend training on the evolving techniques that the bad guys are using to kill us. Most agencies across the country are now carrying less lethal devices and wearing body cameras. The goal has always been to bring someone in to face justice, but officer safety comes first. The latest trend in modern training is for the police officer to retreat. They call it a ‘tactical retreat,’ we call it cowardice. Additionally, I believe that public reform is necessary. Citizen police academies were a great idea; it was a three week course to teach the public about why and how the police operate. When you are going through it yourself, it’s a lot different than watching it play out on TV.
8. Jason, what could Brett learn from police?
Cop: Patience. Brett is a direct-action, get it done quickly kind of guy. I recall an incident where we both went into the office on a Sunday to get some work done and we forgot to lock the front door. An older black male busted in through the front like there was an emergency. He rushed toward me as I did a quick scan and saw no weapons, hands in plain sight, and judged him to be of altered mental status. I looked over at Brett coming out of his office in kill mode. I threw up a hand to stop him. Based on what I was seeing, this man reminded me of a crazy homeless guy in my patrol zone that everyone loved and tried to take care of. You wouldn’t want to hurt someone like that if you didn’t have to. I confronted him and he turned around to talk to a picture hanging on the wall, his pants fell down, and then he left. No harm done, except for a foul stench that took about 30 minutes to dissipate. The neighboring business confirmed that was this area’s version of that lovable crazy homeless guy.
9. Brett, what could Jason learn from Navy SEAL’s?
Navy SEAL: In the past, Jason bitched about cops whom he feels wouldn’t have his back, or couldn’t do the job in the event a situation escalates. As a SEAL, I never knew that feeling. Every guy on my team would die for me, and I for them. That doesn’t mean I liked them all, some of them were straight-up assholes, but I never doubted their operational ability. I wish he could know what that feels like.
10. Is the ratio for training versus actual operational time adequate for cops and Navy SEALs?
Navy SEAL: I received almost three years of training before being operational. I felt extremely prepared, and that was due to the amount and quality of the training. However, cops operate every day they go to work, yet get a fraction of the training a Navy SEAL gets. So ‘yes’ for SEAL’s and ‘no’ for cops.
Cop: Cops attend an academy for 3-6 months to go through the next 25-30 years. In-service training happens along the way but the amount varies with the department’s budget. Navy SEALs train for 6 months for a six-minute mission. Obviously, they win that one.
11. Who are you voting for and why?
Navy SEAL: I don’t know. This whole year of politics has been nauseating. I’ll most likely reach a decision after the debates, and I hope that Gary Johnson is in them. I think that having a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian would give the debates some much-needed breadth.
Cop: Gary Johnson. I own a small business and I agree with most of what he has to say. During this bat-shit crazy election, he’s the only one that makes sense to me.
12. If you had a billion dollars you couldn’t spend on yourself, how would you spend it?
Navy SEAL: I would keep the funds within the U.S. and set up a non-profit that focuses on donating to children’s, veteran, police, and LGBT organizations. Once one is vetted and qualifies, we would track the award to ensure proper allocation and execution of the funds.
Cop: I would divide portions to go to family members and close friends. I would invest in business and real estate/commercial development investments. I would donate to small town development projects.
13. Should pedophiles be castrated?
Navy SEAL: As a father, my knee-jerk answer is yes, and much more. However, there are probably many different types of pedophiles and situations. It’s just something I don’t know much about, and probably should read-up on it; especially since I have a knee-jerk reaction.
Cop: My sexual orientation is gay. I can’t change that. The guys that say you can change it are usually the ones who get caught on gay porn sites or at homosexual cruising spots. I’m pretty sure that a pedophile’s sexual orientation is pedophile. I do not believe that they can change. So, my answer is yes.
14. What made you choose to become a Cop / Navy SEAL?
Navy SEAL: I was a teenager living in Egypt, and overheard a conversation between my father (a Colonel in the Air Force) and my older brother. Navy SEALs had come to the embassy in Cairo and my dad was not allowed to see their faces. I thought that was so cool.
Cop: When I was five years old, I was afraid of monsters. One night my Mom asked about it, and then she pointed to a police car across the street. She said, “If your monster is out there, that police officer will get him. They are out there all night looking for monsters.” They became instant heroes to me and I was able to start sleeping well knowing that I wasn’t the only person in the world that was awake. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.
15. So the zombie apocalypse just happened, what are your priorities?
Navy SEAL: Are they slow zombies or the fast ones like in World War Z? Because that shit makes a huge difference. For the sake of only one paragraph we will say they are slow. We all live out in the country, so I imagine our extended family would all gather at the best defensible property that has a water source (Jason’s dad’s). Everyone would grab his or her guns, ammo, food, water, and anything else that could be packed in our cars and link up. From that point, I like to think we would be Alabama’s premier zombie eradication team.
Cop: I would make sure that Brett is protecting our family (no worries there), and then I would go out to do my job. A zombie apocalypse (or natural disaster) would be made even worse without that first line of defense against total chaos. Natural disasters (excluding an unlikely zombie apocalypse) are usually temporary. However, your actions during them follow you the rest of your life.
16. Give a solution to the gun control debate.
Navy SEAL: The argument always comes down to principle (interpretation of the Second Amendment), law, and practicality. This argument has our country divided and is a distraction from the root problem. The focus needs to be on the real causes of gun violence, which is the primary motive for the debate. My solution is fighting severe poverty, addiction, crappy public education, shitty parenting, and identifying and helping those who suffer from mental disorders.
Cop: The solution is that there is no solution. The debate is too broad. I also like to collect guns.
17. Who could kick whose ass?
Navy SEAL: Jason is probably going say he could… but we all know the truth 😉
Cop: We occasionally let each other win. If he stays on his feet, I don’t have a chance. But if I can get him to the ground, I use my weight to crush his soul.
18. Brett, what is a stereotype about cops you think (for the most part) is true?
Navy SEAL: I’m going to go with the doughnut shop stereotype. However, I believe it’s mostly for the coffee and not so much doughnuts. A lot of those shops offer free or reduced-price coffee to cops. Still, that won’t stop me from teasing Jason about it.
19. Jason, what is a stereotype about Navy SEALs you think (for the most part) is true?
Cop: They are pretty. Very pretty. And they like to write books.
Image courtesy of author