As a peace officer, as part of the job, I am constantly asked to make moral decisions, decisions where my judgment is the sole basis on what action I should or should not take in the query of taking a human life.
For a basis of discussion, on a routine traffic stop, - and there is no such thing as routine- do I issue a citation or do I give a warning? Even in the matter of a misdemeanor arrest, do I take my arrestee to jail or do I issue a summons and release them in the trust that they will show up for court? These are all to some degree a moral question, what is right? What is best?
A misdemeanor is a secondary level offense where the punishment is limited to a maximum of one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. On the other hand, a Felony is the highest level of offense where the violation is punishable of any fine amount and can result in sentencing of a minimum of one year in State Prison up to life, and or death as deemed appropriate by the court. The lowest level is an infraction and is only punishable by a fine. So there it is the three levels.
In my 25 plus years of service, I have never had to shoot anyone in the line of duty---but I have come very close and been close to being shot as well. I was never hit and the suspects were taken into custody. But, with that said, to shoot or not to shoot is a question I had to answer over two decades ago. This, like any other, is just one of many moral decisions I have to make on a daily basis. If you think about it, it is not too unlike what each of you are called everyday to do: to decide the right or the wrong of any given matter. Think about it….Just saying.