This is a 1941 picture of German soldier, Josef Schultz, shortly before his death at the hands of his own comrades.

He refused to shoot Serbian civilians. After a quarrel with his NCO, he dropped his helmet and firearm, and walked to stand with the civilians. They were all shot.

His actions accomplished nothing. He died. The civilians died. The German Army clearly didn’t have our American Army concept of legal and illegal orders.

Should he have “worked within the system”? Should he have fired and missed? Who knows?  The details are lost to time. His actions inspire, but probably aren’t practical.

His result, however, is a clear message from the past, that dissenters to central authority end up on the wrong end of a gun.  Hence, we should be EXTREMELY reluctant to grant central, unquestionable authority of ANY kind.  The power will be abused.