Jul 17, 2009

A Tribute to Cops

In a New York Times article by Robert D. McFadden, we are made aware of an incident that happened in New Jersey where 5 cops were shot, two critically.

Thomas J. Comey, the Jersey City police chief, said of the gunman, Hassan A. Shakur, 32, "This individual came fully ready to go to war with us.” Mr. Shakur was killed, along with his companion, Amanda Anderson, 22. The chief said the assailant’s weapon, a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun with a retractable stock and a sling lined with slotted shells, was “a gun meant for nothing other than to hunt a man.”

You either love them or hate them, there's really no middle ground. Most who hate them are either caught doing something wrong, or fear that there are abusers out there that will take away their freedom. Those who love them have learned to do so when cops arrived to save lives.

True, there's the stories of abuse - there is one recently that comes once again from the infamous Cobb county police where they shot and killed an unagressive dog just one day before its first birthday, and also stories about a police chief being upset because people are using internet phone technology to avoid speed traps. The chief calls then "cowardly tactics." I have my own personal views about speed traps and don't like them. For me, speed traps are unconstitutional and just a way to pad the town/county/states' pockets.

That being said, we do have some abuses and there are some petty police officers out there. Yet, I'd say 99.9% of our active police are above all that, and they do their job not because they're on "power trips," but because they want to protect and defend.

The other night I was watching the latest Die Hard movie, "Live Free or Die Hard," and in it Bruce Willis who plays the role of a detective was asked a question. He was asked, "Then why do you do it?" the question was in response to how hard his life was as a police officer. Bruce Willis'
character responded by saying, "Because no one else will."

I think that's the mindset of most cops, the mindset of most heroes. They don't do it because they enjoy being hated, putting their lives on the line every day, and risking divorce from their loved ones (being a cop, they have a very high divorce rate). They do it because no one else will. Quite simply, they are heroes.

I have the particular honor to be good friends with one. I've been able to see through her the human side of what it means to be a cop. My two Tae Kwon Do instructors when I was a teen were cops. One was a sergeant, and the other an officer. The officer worked undercover. He'd come in some days unshaven and looking "rough" to fit in with the criminals he was working against. His job was extremely dangerous. So was the Sargeant's job. Yet they kept on doing those jobs anyway.

Most people don't know or don't understand that cops have it very hard in the social arena. They usually stick together because non-cops simply don't understand, or the cops feel ostracized by the community they swore to protect.

You simply don't become a cop because you're interested in being at the top of a "popularity" contest.

I still feel the grip of terror when I see a cop behind me in my rear-view mirror. I don't like it. I don't like being pulled over, and I don't like dealing with cops in that sort of situation. Well to be blunt, who does? Yet, I am also glad that I do have that issue to deal with because that means that there are men and women out there protecting our freedom, our rights, our privacy, our property, and our very lives because "no one else will." A patrol officer is just doing his or her job - protecting the public and trying to keep the roads safe.

All I ask is that when you read the negative news about cops (which is mostly what the media posts), remember that there are cops multiplied over a thousand times who do their job daily, dieing daily, getting wounded daily to keep you free. Keep stories like this in mind where a bunch of New Jersey cops were faced with a mad man and a shot gun who was determined to bring down some cops with him. Remember that they're human, just like you and I. They're doing their job because "no one else will."

So cops, my hat is off to you, and with all of my heart I say, "Thank you!"


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