11 Sep 15
A pundit far wiser (and wittier) than I am once remarked, “America’s real favorite pastime isn’t baseball; it’s jumping to conclusions.” The ongoing controversy involving the alleged misuse of force by police, leading to the cold-blooded killings of cops, is in many ways a result of just such knee-jerk reactions.
The Ferguson, Missouri case of Michael Brown that precipitated much of the current animus toward cops is a perfect illustration of too many people jumping to too many conclusions…before any of the facts were even known.
The entire premise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement was that Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” who was surrendering to a police officer, with his hands up, when he was unnecessarily shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson.
After the case was thoroughly investigated, virtually all of the protestors’ claims about what happened were proved false. The grand jury, made up of Ferguson residents, found that Wilson was fully justified in shooting Michael Brown. Yet even a year after the incident, misinformation continues to be spread by the anti-cop protestors.
Meanwhile, in spite of being cleared, Officer Daren Wilson’s life has been ruined. Forced to resign, Wilson “now lives on a dead-end street on the outskirts of St. Louis. His name is not on the deed of the house. He wears a hat and sunglasses when he goes outside to greet a reporter, having synced his phone with a security system to tip him off to his visitor’s arrival” according to an August 5, 2015 New York Times article. Additionally, “he is unable to find work as a police officer, having been told that he would be a liability.”
Most of us in the carry community tend to be supportive of cops. Sure, at one time or another we’ve all encountered that cop “with a chip on his (or her) shoulder” — usually, though not always, a young rookie. But by and large, we consider those in law enforcement our friends. Many of us even have family members who are cops.
However, this doesn’t mean that we should allow ourselves to fall into the same knee-jerk reactions of the “Black Lives Matter” extremists, except in reverse — by automatically taking the side of cops, even before the facts are in, whenever we hear about some violent confrontation where deadly force by police was involved.
Those of us who carry should be just as outraged as anyone else when it comes to bad behavior by police. I know I am. I also have a lot of cop friends, and not surprisingly, they too are particularly angered by those who “sully the badge” — it reflects on all of them.
Most cops are good cops, but with the hostility toward all police dangerously escalating, the results are as predictable as they are frightening. Cops are becoming fearful, not just of being shot, but of being prosecuted for simply doing their jobs. Not surprisingly, violent crime is skyrocketing, most notably in the very cities where attacks on police have been most prevalent. This is bad for everyone.
Today, more than ever, good cops need to hear that we support them. Lately, I intentionally talk to every cop I see, saying something like, “Hey, officer, you stay safe out there,” or “Officer, just wanted to say thanks for doing your job.”
Keep it simple, and use your own words, but tell them. Every chance you get.