When called on in crim law, I sometimes gave unexpected answers that disrupted the planned and expected flow of the discussion. You see, my professor had a philosophy background as well as a legal one and often started by asking questions with seemingly obvious answers. He would then challenge those answers with counterexamples, leaving most students walking back on their initial statement. Our exchanges did not often follow this script.
During a discussion of the discrepancy between the model penal code and common law positions on attempted crime, I expressed that no, I did not want cops to be able to prevent a crime from happening earlier in the process than the completion of a ‘substantial step.’ He was shocked that I did not answer yes, as most often do. It started a spirited back and forth, as I refused to say yes even in imagined ideal worlds. During office hours later that semester, he called me a firebrand.
This was not the only time I have been called out for being spirited. In the Army, my Captain once told me, “You don’t have the rank for that mouth.” Both situations have one thing in common, I was defending that which I believe in. The first, a person’s liberty to be dumb up and until the moment they can no longer prevent harm to others. In the latter, the waste of valuable time in a war zone drafting an official target package indicating that we had ZERO intel on a target after several phone calls relaying that exact information.
It has taken a long time to feel confident enough to boldly defend my beliefs and put my high energy behind my passions. I have embraced this brazen side of myself, and am adopting the moniker once given to me with a hefty dose of side eye. I am a firebrand, and I am ok with that.