Before I start getting responses about how I’m denigrating our police officers, STOP. That is not the intent of this article, so please continue reading. Truth be told, I didn’t read this article. I didn’t need to because I know how it’s going to turn out. There will be an investigation, a media frenzy and very likely some rioting and looting. That’s the problem with our society now. We read an article on a news site, see a news story or hear Suzie telling Johnny about something that happened to Freddie and we react–overtly!
Police Officers Get a Bad Rap
This is something that’s been on my mind for months now. We live in a society where we’re always out for someone’s head–it seems. When we’re not picking on one of our elected officials, we target someone else–like the police. How many times over the last 5 years have there been riots because of a police shooting? A deadly mistake? I think we often forget that police officers ARE human after all. (I know I’ve never seen an ED-209 patrolling our streets)
These individuals all have the same basic makeup as us. Which means, that they DO make mistakes. Unfortunately for them, their mistakes sometimes cost lives. Forced to act in a split second while carrying a firearm, they will make those deadly mistakes now and again. How much good do they do though? How often have you seen a state trooper sitting behind a car on the interstate for traffic control while the owner changes a tire? Think about the last time you saw an officer stopping to actually HELP change the tire?
Mistakes or Evil?
I agree that there are “bad cops” out there but I’m sure the ratio of bad to good is pretty close to that of the general population. How often do we make mistakes? True, ours don’t mean the difference between life and death. If I write an errant line of code, the worst it’s going to do is crash a server. When you send an e-mail to the wrong client, what happens?
We put these guys (and gals) on the front lines every day and the one time they make a mistake, we call for their heads. I have no idea what it’s like to be a police officer–and I don’t want to. What I can tell you though, is that they aren’t doing it for the pay. They’re doing it to serve. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad apples out there–the guys that get on their riot gear to stop a black man walking down the street. (For you New Palestinians, yeah, that was a crack about Ron Grey! Biggest bigot and racist I ever met and our tow marshal for years!)
For the most part though, they’re servants. They just want to help. To protect us from the “bad guys”. To save us from the Zombies (gotta love Rick Grimes!).
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
Oh, quiz hot shot. There’s a bomb on a bus, once the bus goes 50mp/h, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?
–Howard Payne to Officer Jack Traven (Speed 1994)
We might not have it as bad as Officer Traven but try to put yourself in their shoes. The next time you take a folder to the filing cabinet, it pulls a gun (or a cheap looking flip phone shaped like a taser) on you. It screams at you. What do you do? Now, say that happens EVERY time you go to file paperwork–or nearly every time. What do you do? What do you do?
Silly example, I know, but what happens when day and and day out you are hounded at work about your job by someone not doing your job? Do you want Kenny the Copy Boy coming to you to tell you how to file that government brief? Telling you how to write a SQL query? Do you want it published in the company newsletter EVERY time you make a mistake?
Our police officers have the unfortunate situation where their mistakes could and sometimes do cost lives. Mourning the lost isn’t at issue here, but what about getting behind our officers when they DO make mistakes. Rather than villianizing them why not get behind them and help them when they make a mistake? I know I wouldn’t want their jobs and I also wouldn’t want someone standing over me scrutinizing my every move.