Only a week after returning to the airwaves after deciding that even for a liberal she was too young to retire in her mid-50s, Randi Rhodes has staked a firm claim on the churlish end of left-wing commentary.
The ex-Air America Radio host, now venting via podcasts and a Kickstarter-funded website, let loose last week with what those deemed more balanced would consider a peculiar irritation.
Rhodes claimed it is "stupid" and "wrong" for murdered police officers to be described as "fallen." Here's what passes for her reasoning --
RHODES: So anyway, we had this funeral today and the verbiage that's bothering me is that they call the police 'the fallen.' Now, first of all, that's military terminology. That's what we call soldiers after they've been killed in combat. We call them the fallen and everybody who's ever served in the military ...
Rhodes alluding here to her own stint in the Air Force during the Carter years, according to her Wikipedia page. (The page also claims that Rhodes voted for Reagan in 1980 -- there might be hope! -- but hasn't cast a ballot for a Republican since). --
RHODES: ... and even people who haven't but are anti-war or, you know, for the warriors, the soldiers, you know that you do a pair of empty boots and you take the weapon and then you put the helmet on the top and that is the memorial, the makeshift field memorial for when you lose your friend in combat and now we're applying it to police officers. That's just stupid.That's not good. That's wrong.
This whole militarization thing has gotta end and one of the cool things you could do right away, media, is stop calling police officers who are killed in the line of duty 'the fallen.' And then the people who are shot by the police, a, you don't insist on them meeting the bar of justice -- they go on paid vacation, this is really disturbing to me -- and then, you don't refer to them as 'the fallen.' They should be called the executed -- because that's what they were, they were executed, right there live, you know, so I have some issues ...
Yeah, specifically with authority, we get it. Keep in mind the context here -- Rhodes referring to the Dallas police officers who were murdered by a sniper acting as judge, jury -- and executioner.
The "military terminology" Rhodes cites -- also applies to police departments, which are quasi-military by their very nature. The same terminology and command structure also applies to firefighters. When firefighters die in the line of duty, they too are described as "fallen." Same for those who work in emergency medical services, such as ambulance drivers and paramedics. (Police dogs too, for that matter). And this is not a recent development as suggested by Rhodes due to the "militarization" of police -- those in Dallas arguably weren't "militarized" enough -- but extends back for decades. Nor is it coincidental that so many police, firefighters and other public safety personnel are veterans. It is less difficult for them to accept and respect the chain of command than it is for civilians who've never worn a uniform.
Notice how Rhodes readily cites the word she believes should be used to describe criminal suspects killed by police -- "executed." But as for police murdered while doing their job, Rhodes describes them as "killed," a word that could apply equally to an officer slain by an assailant or one involved in a fatal crash while responding to an emergency call. In other words, Rhodes extends the presumption of innocence to criminal suspects but not to police we entrust with protecting us from criminals. Shouldn't it apply to both?