Ok…as provocative as the title may seem, it is not intended to produce sensationalism or elicit a wide readership. It is simply a reflection on my thoughts for a couple of days in light of the shooting of a GPD (Greenville Police Department, Greenville, SC) Officer in recent days. (You can google the story…but here are the broad strokes…and a link to the most recent update on the shooting from local news outlets).
A 23 y/o male approached the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) entrance with two weapons. When he found the doors locked (security procedure), he shot out the windows. The Desk Officer requested backup on scene and a nearby officer responded and confronted the criminal (not suspect since we don’t suspect him of being a criminal…he is one. It is illegal to shoot up the police station). The criminal shot the officer three times before turning his weapon on himself.
The officer, unidentified to the public, is currently being treated for GSW (gunshot wound) and is, by all accounts of the third hand information I can gather, going to make it.
Now I read (mistakenly) some of the commentary on the incident by the public. I read prayers for the officer’s recovery, well-wishing for the police, prayers for the suspect’s family…and then there were those people who wanted to make the incident about their own agenda. These folks commented on how Police are too authoritarian and should be more like Andy Griffith if they wanted to avoid such encounters. I read how gun control should have been enacted (as if disarming the citizenry would have stopped this triple murderer and police assaulter from committing his crimes). I read how society should not treat this violent crime any differently than other violence…which is the impetus for my limited response here.
Crimes against the police SHOULD be considered more heinous than other violent crimes, since a crime against a police officer is a crime against all of society collectively. An officer is not just some person who was shot…he is someone we as a society CHARGED with the sworn responsibility to enforce the enacted legislation we affirmed as a society to be important and binding. He/she is only a target of the attack because he/she is representing us (the society) by enforcing our shared values.
When I was a deputy sheriff, now MANY YEARS AGO, it was a minor crime to resist a police officer. It was a more significant crime to arrange a dogfight or a rooster fight than it was to refuse to stop for a police officer on the highway. That’s WRONG. It should be universally considered a felonious to act out against a police officer performing his sworn duties, since he is simply enforcing the rules that we the people have enacted. To resist him…is to resist all society.
This officer was shot, not because he was putting in his shift at work, but because he embodied the weighty responsibility to run toward danger when our social order is challenged by a criminal. He sought to protect society from a dangerous criminal and to uphold the laws that we enacted and charged him to uphold…and he did so.
As a society, our OUTRAGE should be focused on the audacity of a criminal who would dare confront all of us, the people, and spurn the civil government’s attempt to enforce our values. We should be outraged at the bold and flagrant disregard of our collective will embraced by this singular criminal who would (and I am speculating here) still be killing if our officers were not intent on fulfilling their charge to uphold our laws. Their commitment is on display today as one officer continues the fight…this time the fight back from injury to health…an injury he sustained simply carrying out our will.
So…for any officers or deputies or agents who might accidentally stroll by this post…thank you. I am one of you in spirit and I THINK that my opinion represents the majority in our society…but even if it did not…I’d still stand for you. You are instruments of good and until someone has strapped on a “Sam Brown” belt and pinned a badge to their chest…they cannot truly understand the nature of your calling, sacrifice, professionalism, and contribution to our civilized society.
For the officer injured: Thank you. Get well. Your beat partners want you back. You matter. You and your family are in my prayers.
For the family of the criminal who perpetrated these acts: I am sorry for you and I pray for God’s comfort for you in this season of dealing with loss and bewilderment as a result of your family-member’s choice. You are going through difficult days and I pray you persevere.
For my fellow citizens: I pray we would never forget that the crimes perpetrated by this criminal were crimes against all of us, not a couple of police officers or a police organization. He attacked us. We, as a society were pinned down, and would remain in such a lawless and chaotic state if it were not for the bravery, professionalism, and instincts of this officer and others like him in blue, tan, gray, or other colored uniforms everywhere. They rescued us, and they make it safe for us to sleep at night…and they only do so because we asked them to and they agreed. Give them respect, honor, grace, and the benefit of the doubt.
For those who might disagree…feel free to comment. My rule on this forum is that I invite dissenting opinions as long as you keep vulgarity and profanity to yourself and share your views in a respectful way…otherwise they will never see the light of day.