Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden's Burial at Sea: Was the Obama Administration Right?

The decision to bury the world's most wanted criminal, Osama bin Laden, at sea with all due respect accorded to his religious practices, has sparked quite a bit of controversy. My good friend to the North in Canada and a star blogger, Jon Hansen, posted a survey and call for response explanations on his PI Window on Business blog.

I think President Obama and his administration made the right call to take the high road and do the honorable thing to a man whose actions in life make many think that the President should have done otherwise.

As a police expert, former police chief, police academy director, and criminal justice professor, and even as a uniformed patrol law enforcer, I have always tried to see the big picture of what I and my colleagues in law enforcement were supposed to be all about.

I posted a response explanation to Jon Hansen's LinkedIn and PI Window on Business blog posting to explain why I voted "yes" to his poll. Here is my explantion. What do you think?

Jon: I voted yes and here is why... as an experienced law enforcement professional and police chief, I often dealt with people that just made poor decisions and I was there to enforce the law. And then there were people who were evil sociopaths that just saw the rest of the world as tools to get them what they wanted. If you were not useful, or stood in their way (as I did as a law enforcer), then their aim was to squash you. Even though those people needed to be incarcerated forever (or otherwise removed from society as their actions dictated the response and outcome) in order to protect the community at large, I never felt the need to "become a monster in order to defeat a monster." If I crossed the line in conduct in order to engage those folks, then I became no better than them. True honor involves treating all in a dignified, respectful manner and taking no further action than is required. More becomes an emotional vindictive display worthy of the criminals that we arrest or otherwise dispose of (again, our response is predicated by their actions). We as law enforcers in a society of laws and morals are better than our enemies. As I have often said to my nine-year-old son, "actions speak louder than words." We can say we are a nation that treats people with dignity and respect. Or we can show it via our actions. The proper burial at sea was an action that showcases our words in our powerful way.