Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Risky Jobs

Jobs are not equal when it comes to the risk of injury or death, and employees accept that fact when taking the job. That’s rather obvious isn’t it? You would not know it if you listen to Cindy Sheehan and now Simi Valley’s own Melanie House. Melanie and her mother-in-law, Susan, have been traveling around in opposition to the war in Iraq and hobnobbing with Cindy Sheehan. Melanie’s husband,

John House, 28, a Navy corpsman third class, died Jan. 26 when the helicopter he was traveling in with 30 Marines crashed in Iraq.

In eight months, House, 27, became a mother, a widow and a vocal, committed opponent of the war that claimed her husband. She stepped from her hometown of Simi Valley into the vastness of the national stage.
For House, the activism is a gift to her late husband, an honoring of his own desire to speak out against the policies leading to the war and the troubling execution of the mission that found him and his Marines ill-equipped for the tasks they were given.
"This is something my husband would want me to do," House said.

Melanie tells us that John was in opposition to the war prior to being deployed to Iraq. Without any evidence to the contrary, I’ll accept the statements as true.

Melanie and John House weren't always against the war. Their support gradually began to wane before John arrived in Iraq, with the release of the 9/11 Commission's report, the film "Fahrenheit 9/11," mounting casualties, the acknowledgement that no weapons of mass destruction were found and the lack of an exit strategy.

Certainly accepting a risky job and supporting the foreign policy that drives the execution of the job are two entirely different propositions. However, the evidence suggests that John House’s alleged opposition is a minority position among military personnel.

Melanie House is understandably distraught with the circumstances that have rendered her a widow and her child fatherless. But, the death of her husband and the foreign policy that put her husband in the circumstances of his death are only tangentially connected. John House did not die in battle or at the hands of a hostile opponent. He and his comrades died in a helicopter crash in bad weather. Unfortunately, these sorts of things happen all too frequently in both peace and war.

John House knew that he had a risky job. Flying in a helicopter is an accepted risk when employed in the military whether or not it is a time of peace or war. Both Melanie and Susan should have plenty of appreciation for the accepted risks of risky professions. Melanie’s father-in-law and Susan’s husband, Larry, is a deputy sheriff. Every day that he straps on his handgun and gets behind the wheel of his car, he is accepting a much greater risk than does the ordinary citizen. If Larry should be killed in the line of duty, will the two women start demanding that the police withdraw from the cities and their crime work?

Melanie and Susan have a first amendment right to voice their opposition to the war in Iraq. The fact that John died in Iraq is immaterial to their argument. His death does not give their argument any greater relevance.

My sympathies go out to the House family and to all the other military families who have lost loved ones.