Friday, August 22, 2014

TIME TO STAND BEHIND THE POLICE

by Marshall Frank

I’m one former career police officer who is fed up with the likes of Al Sharpton and a sensation-hungry media rushing to judgment when a black person is shot and killed by a cop in a confrontation. It’s the same old script: Intimidation, threats, violence, looting, antagonism and racial divide.

And then the president and the attorney general weigh in on the federal level as though it’s a greater tragedy when a black person dies than a white person.

No cop enjoys shooting anyone. No cop anywhere decides to pull a trigger on another human being because they’re white, black or Asian. Not in this day and age. That’s a guarantee.

My thirty in law enforcement were in Miami-Dade, Florida. We had plenty of riots and disturbances. I watched from the inside out as hooligans seized opportunities to steal, rampage and do everything possible to egg on law enforcement into more confrontations. Once it starts, it becomes contagious. A few ignite the many. The outcry is always the same: Racism. And the media thrives. When the media thrives, it emboldens the rioters.

Race riots are scary. People get seriously injured and killed in horrible ways, as a few radical kids wait for the signal from a higher authority. They are criminals, not protesters.

Criticism of police for responding to the streets fully armed and protected is premature. The general public, nor the media, knows what threats are looming from behind the scenes. All that gear is for protection and prevention, because there are crazy people out there who seek excuses to kill cops.

Meanwhile, cops are men and women with families and private lives. They want these incidents like they want cancer. They hate the mere thought of shooting anyone. But sometimes it’s their job. Day in and day out, police officers put lives on the line to protect the very people who threaten, ambush, antagonize and hate them.

All the facts are not yet known about the Ferguson, Missouri shooting. An investigation is underway. But consider this: Cops work every day with a target on their backs, and they know it, their families know it. Training or no training, cops get scared too.

So let’s shift the focus a moment. At least 120 to 180 officers a year are killed in the line of duty. In 2014, the death toll is on track toward 130 dead officers. Half of those have been killed by gunfire. Most of those are killed because they are a cop. Why don’t we label that bigotry? Hate crime?

In July, in the one month prior to the August 9th shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, four American police officers were shot to death. They all had families. Where’s the outcry? Why aren’t the friends, families and outraged citizens of those communities in the streets burning, demonstrating, looting and threatening?

July 30th. Officer Scott Patrick, age 47, Mendota Heights P.D., Minnesota. Shot in the head and killed by a fugitive during a routine traffic stop. He’s survived by a wife and two teenage daughters. Killed because he was a cop. The suspect was a white male.

July 13th. Detective Melvin Santiago, 23, Jersey City P.D., New Jersey. Ambushed when responding to a robbery call. Killed because he was a cop. Suspect is a black male who was killed on the scene. The suspect’s wife said that more cops should have been killed.

July 6th. Officer Jeffery Westerfield, 47, Gary Police Department, Indiana. Responded to a domestic disturbance call. He was ambushed, shot in his patrol car as he arrived. Killed on his 47th birthday, he leaves behind four daughters. Another loyal, America officer… killed for being a cop. Suspect was a black male.

July 5th. Officer Perry Renn, 51, Indianapolis P.D., Indiana. Answered a call about shots being fired in the area. Shot as he arrived. Officer Renn was also an U.S. Army veteran. Killed because he was a cop. Suspect was a black male.

Many more officers will die this year and future years, killed by criminals of all races. But who’s paying attention? Who out there understands what it is like to be in the shoes of a police officer, especially when suddenly trapped in a life/death situation? Perhaps it’s the police who should start demonstrating.

Consider me in. Down with Al Sharpton and the racist pundits who seize every opportunity to cash in on seething bigotry against the bravest and most dedicated protectors of our society.

Why aren’t the likes of Al Sharpton, and the president doing something meaningful, like visiting the ghettos outside Chicago, L.A., Ferguson and other neighborhoods of violence where black kids are dying by the dozens at the hands of other black kids every day, every week and every month? What have they done to stem this terrible tide? I ask them, what difference have you made in the outrageous level of unemployment among young black males? What difference have you made in the pathetic rate of unmarried mothers and missing fathers, breeding more kids into the gangster world? What difference have you made in these and other horrific conditions that black youth live within?

Here’s the answer! Nothing! You’ve made no difference.

So leave the cops alone. They’re job is hard enough without racist rabble-rousers like you stoking the fires of violence.

Three cheers to law enforcement. May we all stand behind them.

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