A Creed Every Cop Should Aspire To

My son and I just saw Lt Col Dave Grossman speak a couple of weeks ago,the Bulletproof Mind seminar where he talked about the warrior models for cops to follow that focus on being deeply invested in a cause. He talked about policemen and where the word came from and what it means; “man of the city.” He talked about our badges that are today directly related to the Knights of the Paladin and the shields they carried as they did good deeds in the land. He also spoke of the Spartans who 2,500 hundred years ago stood shoulder to shoulder and shield to shield protecting their countrymen with strength and honor. Cops are no different when struggling to protect their cities and towns. Their love for country, community and their brothers in arms should be strong and closely resemble the Spartans. The Spartans verbally display this patriotism and brotherly love in a creed every cop should aspire to.

This is my shield. I bear it before me into battle, but it is not mine alone. It protects my brother on my left. It protects my city. I will never let my brother out of its shadow, nor my city out of its shelter. I will die with my shield before me facing the enemy. ~Spartan Creed

This is a short but powerful creed. Note the emphasis at first is individualism (my shield, I bear it before me into battle) that transcends into; it’s not mine alone and working as a cohesive unit protecting my brother on my left and my city. The Spartan creed is not about individuals looking to fulfill their own needs. Instead it’s about selflessness and a focus on individual action that leads to a collective focus of effort and power that comes from all working together towards a common purpose. It’s that bond of cohesion that helped 300 Spartans hold off the army of Persians at Thermopylae to the last man. What a beautiful and powerful bond. How do you create that type of bond and how do you nurture it? What is that type of bond based in? How important is this type of bond still today, to those of us who have chosen to protect and serve?

Steven Pressfield wrote one of the best books I have read on the Spartans titled; “Gates of Fire” he also writes regularly at www.stevenpressfield.com where he wrote a great blog post “How the Spartans Became the Spartans” in this piece is a very important section titled; “The Opposite of Fear is Love” I think cops should take a look at because nowadays many of those in our profession do not associate the word “LOVE” with warriorhood.

The greatest counterpoise to fear, the ancients believed, is love—the love of the individual warrior for his brothers in arms. At Thermopylae on the final morning, when the last surviving Spartans knew they were all going to die, they turned to one of their leaders, the platoon commander Dienekes, and asked him what thoughts they should hold in their minds in this final hour to keep their courage strong. Dienekes instructed his comrades to fight not in the name of such lofty concepts as patriotism, honor, duty or glory. Don’t even fight, he said, to protect your family or your home. Fight for this alone: the man who stands at your shoulder. He is everything, and everything is contained within him.

The soldier’s prayer today on the eve of battle remains not “Lord, spare me,” but “Lord, let me not prove unworthy of my brothers.”

Civilians wonder at the passion displayed by wounded soldiers to get back to their units, to return to the fight. But soldiers understand. It is no marvel to them that men who have lost arms and legs still consider themselves fit for battle, so powerful is the passion to return to their brothers—and not to let them down.

All warrior cultures train their youths to feel this love. They make the young men on the passage to warriorhood dress alike, eat and sleep alike, speak alike, wear their hair alike, suffer alike and achieve victory alike.

Ordeals of initiation are undergone not as individuals but as teams, as units.

Courage is inseparable from love and leads to what may arguably be the noblest of all warrior virtues: selflessness.

"Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie."

Stay Oriented!

Fred