Sunday, December 25, 2016

"A man's got to know his limitations."...

Fictional character police inspector Harold Francis "Dirty Harry" Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the film Magnum Force (1973) whispers to himself after rogue police lieutenant, Callahan's superior, Neil Briggs (Hal Holbrook) blew up in his car.  The bomb that killed him was planted by Briggs' cohorts and had been intended for Callahan.  The camera then zooms in on Callahan and the closing credits roll up.

Yes, I am taking about Duterte, the mayor of Davao who reportedly relishes the moniker "Dirty Harry".  He was 26 when the eponymous Eastwood starrer was released in 1971, and Magnum Force was sequel to Dirty Harry.  He might have fancied the nickname but he had long since murdered the character.

Callahan: It's not hard to understand how this could happen, the way things are. As incredible as it seems, there may be a sub-organization within the police force.  Sort of a death squad like they had in Brazil some years back. Damn.
Rogue motorcycle cops (Briggs' band) confronting Callahan: Do you have any idea how hard it is to prosecute a cop?
Callahan: You heroes have killed a dozen people this week. What are you gonna do next week? Kill a dozen more.  Is that what you guys are all about, being heroes?
Rouge cops: All our heroes are dead. We are the first generation...that's learned to fight.  We're simply ridding society of killers that would be caught...and sentenced anyway if our courts worked properly.  We began with the criminals that the people that our actions would be understood.  It's not just a question of whether or not to use violence. There simply is no other way, lnspector. You of all people...should understand that. Either you're for us or you're against us.
Callahan: I'm afraid you've misjudged me.

Briggs: I run the investigation, with your record, I can make anything stick.
Callahan: What I can't understand is, why you of all people?
Briggs: A hundred years ago in this city, people did the same thing. History justified the vigilantes, we're no different. Anyone who threatens the security of the people will be executed.  Evil for evil, Harry. Retribution.
Callahan:  That's just fine.  But how does murder fit in? When police start becoming their own executioners...where's it gonna end, Briggs?  Pretty soon, you'll start executing people for jaywalking. And executing people for traffic violations. Then you end up executing your neighbor 'cause his dog pisses on your lawn.
Briggs: There isn't one man we've killed that didn't deserve what was coming to him. Yes, there is. Charlie McCoy. What would you have done?
Callahan: I'd have upheld the law.
Briggs: What the hell do you know about the law? You're a great cop, Harry.  You had a chance to join the team, but you'd rather stick to the system.
Callahan: Briggs, I hate the goddamn system. But until someone comes along...with some changes that make sense,  I'll stick with it.  You're about to become extinct.  Living a bad dream in which all of us are the victims.

Callahan: A man's got to know his limitations.

Duterte himself has owned and bragged to have committed vigilante-type killings while mayor of Davao.  He rode his motorcycle and shot, just like the rogue cops -- taking the law in their own hands.  As president he has turned the presidency rogue and could turn our own police force rogue, if he hasn't already. His cheap movie has obituaries for credits.  It has to end now.

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