Posted by Matt Little on 21st Feb 2022

“Blind obedience to authority is the real root of all evil.” -Marty Rubin

“I was just following orders.” The Nuremberg defense, known in international law as the plea of Superior Orders. The former Nazi officers at the infamous Nuremberg trials who offered this up in defense for atrocities and war crimes were unsuccessful and convicted for their actions. This defense is much older than World War Two, dating back to at least the fifteenth century in the Holy Roman Empire, where it was used unsuccessfully to defend a knight named Hagenbach who was beheaded for war crimes.

I am proud of both my former professions, and the role I played in each of them. We are in disturbing times now though. At the time of this writing, we are well into two years of “two weeks to stop the spread.” Governments and individuals seem perfectly content with indefinite suspension of individual rights and liberties over a disease with less than a two percent fatality rate. Canada just invoked emergency powers to not only arrest protesters but to seize their bank accounts. Australia has become a police state virtually overnight. Parts of the United States have enacted vaccine passports and severe restrictions on rights of assembly. Protests against these trends have sprung up across the world, leading many countries in Europe to backtrack from draconian mandates.

In my law enforcement career, I was no stranger to public protests and civil unrest. I can say with certainty however that we never violated the protestors’ constitutional rights. In the last two years, I’ve seen things that trouble me deeply though. Police officers in New York detaining children because they didn’t have a vaccine passport. Federal law enforcement stating that disagreement with mask and vaccine mandates is a form of domestic terrorism. Local law enforcement arresting people for simply congregating on their own property peacefully. Law enforcement in other first world countries arresting people for simply being outdoors.

If you get on the wrong side of history, simply saying “I was just doing my job” isn’t going to help you. It won’t help you legally, and more importantly it won’t help you ethically. Don’t compromise your oath and your ethics. Whatever price you pay in the short run to remain true to them pales in comparison to the price you’ll pay in the long run if you don’t.