On any given day, a police officer’s life hangs in the balance, and most have come to know how fragile life can be. Not only do officers experience the horrors their grueling job subjects them to each day, but they are bombarded continuously as well with the false narrative that they awaken with the sole intent to kill people, more so, people of color. It seems that certain groups of people, on either side of the political aisle, thrive on divisiveness and to say that blaming other people for their own problems makes them feel better is an understatement.
America gets it… Police officers are easy targets, and people love to devalue law enforcement’s positive role within society. Officers write tickets, show up for court when you least expect them to, and when necessary, they make arrests. What is often missed by the lame-stream media, and those who love to perpetuate hate towards police officers is the accident that never occurred because of the speeding ticket officers wrote last week, or how the officer killed last month gave his life selflessly for a family he or she had never met.
Think about that last sentence for a moment. Mark 12:31 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” While this verse sounds excellent when read out loud during a Sunday sermon, most Americans would stop short when that biblical love for their neighbor means dying for a stranger. Dying in defense of another has always been an unspoken contract between the public and the police; one that has been signed with the blood of more than 21,500 police officers who have paid the ultimate price. Perhaps what’s most interesting is that this contract can best be described as sided. If policing were a business, this agreement wouldn’t work, yet 900,000 police officers across America suit up, drive to work and begin their shift with this contract’s understanding at the forefront of every decision they make.
It’s painfully evident that police officers are often portrayed as rabid, minority killing machines, who go unchecked by their like-minded peers. But why? The best answer available: because crappy circumstances coupled with even crappier outcomes increases overall viewership, newspapers purchases, and ad space sales. If it seems unfair that a profession which exemplifies the best of mankind has been pitted against citizens for financial greed, you are correct.
News channels are a for-profit business. Their news anchors, cameramen, writers, marketing personnel and field reporters alike are all in it for a paycheck, and those throughout the ranks are willing to exchange their responsibility to report facts for the poisonous fruits of falsehood. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the father of two holding the camera during a cop-bashing news segment is complicit in perpetuating the hatred police officers experience, but what is certain is that thousands within the media industry are careless about the grave consequences their words have on officers across our nation.
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While the law enforcement profession cannot stand before God himself and say that every police encounter in America goes off without a hitch, it’s a mathematical fact that the clear majority do, and under the worst of circumstances. This area is explicitly where cop haters hope those listening won’t be the least bit inclined to fact check their presumptive rants. Police officers seldom (if ever) get called out to a scene where everything is just right. Ask any officer, and they can attest that real-life scenarios are anything but.
An officer’s job is never easy, but nothing compares to the moment when a police officer must take human life in defense of another. Not only does it mark the end of the suspect’s life, which is a tragedy in and of itself, but the life of the officer as well, if only metaphorically. Those hellbent on ignoring the evidence will do everything they can to loot the officer’s job, their family, finances and most importantly, their will to serve. If that sounds like a good recruitment slogan, then you are part of the problem.
As of late, the most significant point of contention between the public and America’s police forces is the subject’s race and not the subject’s actions, their criminal history or the facts surrounding the shooting itself. If it’s considered a justified shooting, of which the overwhelming majority are, those with their Facebook law degrees will still determine the shooting isn’t. For instance, the fact the suspect had a gun which had been reported to 911 by three previous callers, or that he failed to drop it when ordered to is inconsequential. Sadly, it’s easier to villainize a hero than it is to face declining social structure issues that plagues crime-ridden neighborhoods.
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Sadly, blaming others by draping the cloak of racial bigotry over an entire profession is easier than fixing social issues that correlate to an increase in crime, a decrease in family values, and an uptick in aggression towards authority figures.
While America wrestles with change, officers selflessly continue to wage war on the streets they have sworn to protect. The mission: to hold firm the thin blue line that separates the predator from the prey, even when it seems that the victim works tirelessly at safeguarding the predator.