Critics claim LAPD has
'warrior culture'

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

Critics claim LAPD has 'warrior culture'


This is an article which appeared on Yahoo five days ago.

And its basic thrust is that the LAPD, which has been accused periodically and recently of beating up people, has a "warrior culture" which must be reined in.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

Critics say LAPD has 'warrior culture'

By ANDREW GLAZER, Associated Press Writer


LOS ANGELES - The Police Department's violent response at the end of an immigrant demonstration is the latest incident highlighting what critics describe as the force's "warrior culture."

It's an ethos that's been on display before -- the use of clubs and tear gas to disperse 15,000 peaceful anti-war protesters in Century City in 1967 the Watts riots, the Rodney King beating in 1991, the harsh crackdown on demonstrators at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

Public outcry and inquiries that followed each event haven't deterred some officers from cracking a few kneecaps to assert order, even in front of cameras.

Chief William Bratton's criticism of his department and decision to quickly reassign two high-ranking officers after the immigration rally near two weeks ago were roundly applauded, though skeptics say it's not nearly enough to address deep-seated issues that produce violent responses by some officers.


Curiously, the reporter, Andrew Glazer, doesn't cite any one individual who used the phrase "warrior culture."

He simply attributes the phrase to "critics."

Which makes me wonder if anyone actually said it.

Be that as it may, whether a "critic" said it or it's simply Mr Glazer's journalistic invention, what we can see is a misuse of the term.

In the article, "Warrior Culture" is used to characterize a dangerously and violently out-of-control police force, which uses "clubs and teargas" to disperse "peaceful protesters," cracks kneecaps to assert order, conducts "harsh crackdowns on demonstrators" and beats up citizens.

So that in the article, the word "Warrior" becomes a term of abuse, associated with clubs, teargas, kneecappings, beatings, and other harsh measures aimed at the peaceful, law-abiding, and / or innocent.

It's like A O Scott's review of 300, in which terms like "manly," "noble purpose," "valor and freedom," and "warrior ethic," were denigrated and mocked.

Here, the term "warrior culture" is associated with violent attacks on innocent people, the misuse of force, and unfocused and undisciplined aggression.

In point of fact, Warrior cultures, like Sparta's, were tightly controlled and highly disciplined.

Spartan Equals

And while this may seem like a small point, it's not.

The derogatory use of "warrior culture" in this context is part of another culture, modern American culture, a culture which constantly denigrates a sort of straw-man masculinity.

A "masculinity" which is perennially violent and out of control.

The reality is that if the LAPD had a true Warrior Culture, it wouldn't find itself in these messes -- and the people of LA would be well protected.

Because it would be a disciplined, responsible, and equitable force.

And we've talked about this a lot, particularly when discussing the idea of Vir -- Virlis -- Virtus; Latin words which mean: Man -- Manliness -- Moral Virture.

And what we've said is that Vir -- Virlis -- Virtus is "the masculine ideal in a warrior culture."

What does that mean?

It means that Warriors -- MEN -- are supposed to behave in a Manly and *Morally Virtuous* way.

Man -- Manly -- Virtuous.

That's the Masculine Ideal in a Warrior Culture.

And obviously, it's not morally virtuous to kneecap peaceful citizens.

Nor is it Manly to hit unarmed people with clubs.

This is very basic, and it's spelled out over and over in Warrior myths and tales and epic poems.

It's a very clear code.

So to use the term Warrior Culture to characterize rogue elements of the LAPD is way out of line.

Further, when critics characterize cops (or other folks) who run amok as having a Warrior Culture, what they're actually doing is denigrating a Masculine Archetype.

Arguably, the Masculine Archetype.

An archetype which must to some degree be lived if the male is to have a happy and fulfilled life.

Instead, "Warrior," in an article like this, is associated with violence and essentially criminal behavior.

The reality is that the Warrior is the defender and protector of life -- as Patrick has said, he's what makes life on the planet possible.

Saxon Warriors prepare to defend post-Roman Britain

Again, Warrior Cultures teach discipline and control.

Which is well-known.

Whether it's Sparta or medieval Japan or contemporary martial arts -- what's emphasized is not violence, but discipline and control.

Patrick has a saying:

"Peace should be the way of the warrior for he bears the cost of war."

Patrick coined that phrase for use with his karate students -- inner-city kids who'd been targets of recruitment by -- or who had come out of -- gangs.

Gangs which were criminal and violent.

Patrick and his fellow sensei were teaching those kids discipline and control.

Patrick was teaching them to be Warriors.

He was substituting a Warrior Culture for a criminal culture.

Now -- if the behavior of the LAPD, or to be more accurate, certain of its members, is criminal -- why not just say so?

Well, because, by using the term "Warrior Culture" the alleged critics get to attack not just the LAPD, but a perceived attribute of Masculinity and Manliness, and to imply, none too subtly, that it is the Male's natural aggression which is the problem.

The message here is that Men are inherently violent, and that left to their own devices they create "Warrior Cultures" which rape and pillage.

And that only by de-masculinizing Men and stripping them of their Warrior attributes will we solve the problem.

None of that, however, is so.

If individual members of the LAPD are guilty of what they're accused of, they're not Warriors.

Nor are they Naturally Masculine.

Instead, they're playing out a pseudo-masculinity in which it's okay to victimize.

That is not part of the Warrior Way -- and never will be.

So guys -- don't trust people who use a term like "Warrior Culture" in the way it's used in this Yahoo article -- or "warrior ethic" as it's used by A O Scott at the NY Times.

It's false, it's biased, and it does you and every other Man a dis-service.

The real problem with the LAPD is that individual officers are choosing to break the law and flout very clear orders about how to handle demonstrations and other public protests.

That's a breakdown of discipline and control within the force.

Which no true Warrior Culture would countenance or allow.

Bill Weintraub

© All material Copyright 2007 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.

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