Throughout his presidency, Mr. Obama has made it clear that he considers police officers throughout the country to be motivated by prejudice. He appointed as his first Attorney General, Eric Holder – a man quick to explain how he had been stopped and hassled by police based on his race. He attempted to appoint as head of the Justice Department’s. Civil Rights Division, an attorney who had filed an appeal on behalf of a convicted cop killer. And most recently, the First Lady doubled down on the anti-police rhetoric during a commencement address at historically black Tuskegee University.
We – quite appropriately – hold police to a high standard. Police officers are empowered and burdened with the responsibility of making life and death decisions. They do so, many times, with only a split second in which to act. The consequences of their split second decision – usually made under extreme duress – will determine the fate of an innocent, or guilty person and his or her family members. For the involved police officers, it will spell out whether they live or die and if they live, how and under what circumstances they will spend the rest of their lives.
If they respond incorrectly, their own fate; the fate of their family and those who are also judged by their actions, hangs in the balance. If their incorrect response is to err on the side of caution, a perpetrator may go free and kill or injure an innocent person. The community, politicians and activists will blame them and, if possible, make them notorious. If they err on the side of inappropriate action, they and their fellow officers will be branded as racists, thugs and worse. They will be publicly shamed – their years of service and dedication cast aside as if they had always approached the job with evil intent.
It is impossible – and you can verify this with your own experience in watching newscasts – no matter from which station – for a police officer to have made a human error while responding with the best intentions. Imagine, if we assumed that all doctors who lose patients were reckless, uncaring – even racist? How about airline pilots – if they survived a crash only to be labeled as murderers because passengers died? Simply stated, there is no margin of error for police. There is no law enforcement involved tragedy that results in a finding of “human error.” The whole idea is so far fetched in our society that you probably laughed when you read it.
There are many – perhaps the majority of police officers, who believe that working and increasing communications with residents – particularly, children – of low income areas is the key to developing increased opportunities for these children to achieve long-term success; to reducing poverty and violence and to ultimately eliminating inter-generational dependency on public assistance programs. But, communication is a two-way street. Children taught hate in their homes are very difficult to reach. Adults who listen to the voices of hate – the voices who say “the pie has been cut and you missed your piece,” become part of the problem. Politicians and so-called community leaders often preach hopelessness in the guise of kinship. They serve only themselves and leave the poor to remain in poverty. They portray police officers as villains and leave kids instead, to admire who?
Many officers know first hand, the problems these kids face, because they once faced the same challenges themselves. The overwhelming majority of police officers wear the uniform with great pride and with the hope of serving and protecting – but not that alone. These officers want to help change lives and communities for the better. Many of these officers once wore different uniforms – those of our military – and were highly respected. Going to work everyday with the same pride and dedication, they now wonder why their chosen profession is denigrated with impunity and why their service is suddenly and continuously suspect.
But, how can such dedication make a difference – how can we hope ever to make things better – when the President and First Lady of the United States, as well as lesser politicians, continuously create negative straw-men and reach out to our communities and their youth in such a negative and hateful manner?
What is the “take away” for our youth when they read about Obama’s drug past, his arrogant attitude toward his professors, his comments about being followed by store security, his claim that people throw keys to him when he is waiting for his own car to be retrieved by a restaurant valet employee; his decision to trade terrorists for an alleged deserter, but his willingness to leave a U.S. Marine in a Mexican jail and innocent hostages in an Iranian jail; his allegations that police would harass a father taking his child for ice cream in Arizona; his statement that a police department acted stupidly, his health care lies and on and on and on and on.
What do they think when he says if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon? What do they think when he rushes to judgment as he did with the Cambridge and Ferguson Police Departments? What do they think when he commutes the sentences of “non-violent” felons and writes each of them a letter – but, says nothing to the family of a woman slain because of Sanctuary Cities and his Immigration policies?
Is it conceivable that either a white or black cop – working the inner city and charged with enforcement and regulatory duties can overcome the impact of even one negative speech from a black President or First Lady – let alone from a black President once considered the “…undisputed master of agitation….” ?
If this president had the opportunity and the ability to heal the nation – to bridge whatever racial divides exist – to create an environment where all Americans believe in their ability to achieve the American dream and where they all strive to better themselves, to take personal responsibility, to study, work hard and grow; and to use the fruits of their labor to make a better life for their families and those who come after them – if President Obama could do all of these things…would he? Most of the cops I’ve known, would!!!