In 2016, law enforcement officers found themselves the target of assassins who attacked and ambushed police at previously unseen levels. During this past year, 135 officers died on the job, with 64 dying by gunshot. Two hundred seventy six police officers were shot. That averages out to an officer shot 3 out of every 4 days, and 1.19 officers killed per week. The previous year was almost as bad.
Last year, I was talking on the phone to my granddaughter who lives in Georgia. She was 9 years old at the time, and she knew I was teaching gun safety and self defense classes. At that time, the media was really hitting heavy with the anti-cop propaganda. There were headlines such as “Cops gun down 16 year old boy.” Or, “Cops kill another unarmed teenage youth.” As if the television news isn't bad enough, schools around the country were teaching the students to be afraid of the police. I read about one elementary school which had given out an assignment in art class. The students were instructed to draw pictures about how they felt about cops killing people.
Then my own granddaughter hit me in the face with a brick. “Papa,” she said, “Please teach the police to stop killing people.” Those who believe that cops are just begging for a chance to kill someone are living in a self induced fantasy of media and lies. People need to start realizing that at every single encounter police have with citizens, a GUN is involved. Yep, at least one gun is present every single time officers come in contact with citizens.
Back in the day, when I was a new officer, the number one weapon used to murder law enforcement officers was the officer's own gun. During the ‘90s, we began using some very well engineered holsters that helped keep our guns from being snatched away during close encounters.
This is just one of the reasons attitudes toward law enforcement need to change -- and that change begins at home, facilitated by parents. It also needs to be taught in our public schools! Here in Northern Alabama, especially in the city of Athens and Limestone County, we have two very fine law enforcement agencies. Chief Johnson and Sheriff Blakely do a superb job, and both have officers in the public schools throughout Athens and Limestone County. One of the local papers showed pictures of Athens Police giving out Christmas gifts to children.
Mom and Dad, this message is for YOU. Have you contributed to the disrespect and loathing your child or teenager has for the police and sheriff deputies? What do you say to your sons and daughters when you pass an officer who has pulled someone over? What do you say when YOU get pulled over? What do you say to your sons or daughters when you see a news story on TV about an officer involved shooting?
This past year, men and women have been wounded and killed in the line of duty just because they wear a uniform. That is frightening. I will admit there are a few bad apples out there. BUT, they are really few and far between. I believe this “war on police” has also made many men & women question whether or not they want to be police officers. Officers have found themselves repeatedly vilified in the media. This anti-police attitude in the media, and in the highest levels of some elected officials, has caused a serious shortage of police applicants in many large cities. Who would want to sign up for a police officer's job in an area like Ferguson or Baltimore?
In Washington, some sick elected officials put up some despicable painting they call “art,” which depicts police officers resembling pigs. What message does that send to our children?
To emphasize again, this past year, 135 officers died on the job and 276 police officers were shot and 64 gave the ultimate sacrifice. Who would you take a bullet for a total stranger?
As I can attest, there are many rewarding things about doing law enforcement work. But, there is something chilling that runs through your mind, as well as that of your family, when they see you strap on the ballistic armor and walk out the door. Will tonight be the night an officer does not come home? Cops will not be safe on America's streets in 2017 if current attitudes prevail.
Who would you die for today? John 15:13
By: Paul Foreman