by Nick Palmisciano We need to step up. All of us....
Bounties and Bad Intentions
By Grin and Barrett
I have a particular routine I adhere to in my morning commute to work. I start the day with a prayer for wisdom, grace and strength, and I thank God for the majesty of those beautiful Alaskan mountains I pass through on the way in. After my moments of thanksgiving, and my morning ritual of counting moose on the Palmer flats, I get my morning fix of ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning.
Today, as I carried out this daily routine, I heard something that really troubled me. Chris Carter, the studtastic wide receiver for the Vikings who torched NFC North defensive backs for so many years, spoke of his need to put “bounties” on opposing team’s defensive players that he felt threatened him and his well-being; that harbored him bad intentions. Specifically, he mentioned the threat he felt from then Denver Bronco’s player Bill Romanowski, and his contention that Romanowski vowed to end Carter’s career. Carter, in turn, put a bounty on Romanowski, offering team-mates an unspecified reward for keeping Romanowski in check. The thing that bothered me with this whole situation isn’t the fact that Carter felt he needed to be protected, but the fact that Carter felt he needed to pay his teammates to have his back.
As a Soldier, this confuses me. In an earlier post I wrote, “Grammatical Retirement – Going to War,” I wrote of my disdain for athletes who wax poetically about being a Soldier, going to war, and dying for their brothers/sisters. The differences between a professional athlete and professional Soldier are both narrow and wide at the same time. When it comes to going to war, that gulf could not be wider, and evidently this also applies to protecting our own. Why on earth would Carter feel he needed to pay his teammates to do what every Soldier, Marine, Airmen and Sailor would do without even thinking about it? Brothers and sisters in law enforcement and emergency services understand this as well. What is that thing we do without thinking about it? We protect our own! I don’t go into a hostile situation with the promise of reward. This, to me, isn’t even fathomable!
“Hey bro, we’re seriously hitting the shit today.”
“Yeah, I know man.”
“Well, brother, can I ask you something?”
“Sure man, anything.”
“If it all goes to shit, would you do me a favor and watch my back?”
“There’s a cool hundred dollar bill in it for you…”
“Ah, hell yeah then! You got it bro!”
“And if some Taliban scumbag gets a bead on me, if you take him out, I’ll throw you another hundred.”
“Bet! You got it man.”
Never seen that exchange? Yeah, me neither. Cause that’s not how we do things. We automatically have each other’s backs. I’d like to think we model our protective instincts on that of Sparta. Spartan culture was one of protecting your brother before yourself. When the Spartan mother told her son, “Come back with your shield, or on it,” it was because to lose your shield meant you exposed the man on your left to peril. That same ideal of protecting your own is alive and well today in our military, seen every day in Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world.
We don’t offer rewards; No Rolex, no new SUV, no trip to Hawaii. But what we do offer is so much more precious, so much better; the camaraderie of kindred spirits who would lay down their lives for each other, with no other reward than knowing that your brothers and sisters would do the same for you. Carter and Romanowski can occupy the media with bounties and bad intentions, while we continue to keep watch over our brothers and sisters, and over you.