Protests or Mutiny?

It has become apparent to me that there is more going on than what we see on the surface with all these protests.  Yes, some police have exercised bad judgment and some may harbor racist bias … but I personally believe that most are good people and are dedicated to protecting all citizens from harm.

There is something else going on here.  This has taken on a tone that feels more uncivilized than anything I have seen here.  I remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and other non-violent leaders so well.  Why is today’s media so tolerant of people showing such disrespect for law and order?  Why is it that looters are somehow now justified in their behaviors?

Nope, there has to be more going on and one movie keeps playing in my head over and over again: The Caine Mutiny.  You can google it and see the plot and fabulous actors in it.  If you remember, the ship’s captain was not operating with full faculty.  However, the act of mutiny in the Navy of that day and even now carries such stiff penalties that almost no excuse is good enough.  It doesn’t matter if the commander shows bad judgment… mutiny here and around the world is punished with the death sentence.

Hmmm.  Why might that be?  Shouldn’t people on board a ship have the right to object to what they are ordered to do?  This is too big a subject to handle in a blog, but think about it this way: there are times and places for debate.  There are processes for expressing counter points of view and filing grievances.  But, when a ship is underway and in a battle or serious situation, there are rare exceptions to following orders.

When I was 16 years old our family had taken our 16-foot runabout for a beautiful 20-mile cruise on Gardner’s Bay to Montauk Point.  It was a picture-perfect day and the four of us and our dog enjoyed the perfect weather going there.  I had been trained by the Coast Guard in small boat handling, we all had life preservers, and everything seemed perfect.  As we were enjoying lunch I looked up and saw storm clouds coming from the direction we would have to go to get home.  They were so ominous we all were in perfect agreement to leave and head back … a big mistake.

By the time we had pulled out of Montauk harbor, the waves were between 10 and 16 feet high.  My father was at the helm and he had no idea what to do in such big seas.  I had never experienced them, but I did know … I was trained to know exactly what to do, how to do it, and how to adjust to be sure we didn’t pitchpole into the oncoming seas.  My father however was not and decided to try to head to shore which would have placed us sideways to these big waves and resulted in us capsizing for sure.  I warned him but he wouldn’t listen.  Sensing no time to waste I insisted that I take the helm and he relented but was furious.  I brought the boat back safely and I believe he never forgave me … he was a military vet and I had committed mutiny.

I did the right thing.  There was no time for discussion.  But, to this day I wish things were different.  Mutiny is wrong.  Leaders should be allowed to lead.  Most of us are not privileged to know what they know as they make tough choices.

I don’t think we are witnessing protests any longer.



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