Now comes the story of Army reservist James E. Dean, a 29 yr-old Cpl. who had already served 18 months in Afghanistan and was suicidally despondent over leaving his new wife and returning, this time to Iraq.
His family, over concern for his welfare, took understandable action, but one that proved to be a fatal error. They notified the Sovereign Authority of the land. St. Mary’s County took the notice, but apparently not the reason for it, to heart. Man, did they ever take it (14 photos) to heart (7 more).
Now, I can just imagine: had the County not seen fit to use all of the toys, fashions, and guns at their immediate disposal, and had the Cpl. gone through with his threat to harm only himself, would then a parasite — otherwise known as a "plaintiff’s lawyer" — have induced the family to file a lawsuit against the county? So, I dunno. The constant threat of legal action for every little thing under the sun kind of creates the meta-standoff, from which a whole lot of other standoffs emerge, and people get killed.
It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but there seem to be many
unanswered questions here as to why police would initiate a standoff,
especially given the fact that they ended up killing a man who simply
could have done that himself. The family’s objective in summoning the
police in the first place was to prevent Mr. Dean’s death,
no? Was there no way to contact Dean without being seen? Were there no
strategies available that could have involved Dean’s military
commanders, who could have at least lied and told him his orders would
be terminated for the sake of his health, if only to get him through
the current ordeal? Or, are matters of life and death merely issues for
government to decide?
All valid questions, of course. But what’s not been addressed or accounted for is that the corporal was killed for his defiance of the State, the Sovereign, and nothing more or less.
At the moment of the momentous response from the Sovereign Authority, the context shifted entirely (if it even existed) from concern over the corporal’s welfare, or the welfare of any civilians in the land, to the imperative that the corporal dismiss any and all other considerations; that he dismiss, with prejudice, any and all rights, obligations, fears, concerns, beliefs, emotions, love, respect, pride, duty or anything else, and simply submit himself — in whole and unequivocally — to the dictates of the Sovereign.
Given his state of mind, a state in which he was potentially harming no one but himself — until the Sovereign appeared and interjected itself into a state of potential harm — it’s unsurprising that he did not do what most people would do, which is to simply submit.
But he didn’t obey, and in a context where one is morally entitled to end his life himself if he should so choose (provided it involves no aggression toward others), then what is the moral standing of anyone who attempts to prevent that act by force? Do you have a moral right to attempt to stop someone from killing themselves with — completely ironically and self-contradictorily — deadly force?
Well, as it would be if your Supreme Court were to speak to the matter, you do have such right if you are the Sovereign Authority. The penalty for defiance (or uncompromising self-defense) is always the same, and there is only one penalty: death.