Five dead in Dallas. At least three law enforcement officers killed and three wounded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
My heart is breaking.
There is a war on police officers in the United States.
I am ignoring my own rule, writing this as I watch events unfold, rather than wait for all the facts to be known. Screw it. My emotions are raw – a seething mix of utter sadness and building rage – and perhaps I should ask forgiveness now for the tone of my remarks.
But I won’t.
I will never apologize for supporting my brothers and sisters in law enforcement – and I will remain forever proud of my service and my profession.
One week ago I wrote an essay that appeared in the Daytona Beach News-Journal editorializing my support for law enforcement in the aftermath of the ambush-style murder of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.
Now, on a beautiful Sunday morning, we suffer yet another deadly attack.
Following the publication of my op/ed last Sunday, former Ormond Beach police chief Larry Mathieson took me to task in his own Community Voices article, “Police can fight hostility.”
According to Chief Mathieson, my “bias” in supporting law enforcement while condemning inflammatory media speculation, incendiary rhetoric, and our complete lack of political leadership (factors which I believe have contributed to the current demonization of police officers) “are at the core of the problems with race, policing and violence in this country.”
He then stated, in part:
“Doing better is where police should focus their energy. Instead of thinking in terms of paranoia, and pointing the finger of blame at the media, the president or the boogie man, let’s focus on what we can do as a profession to do things better. Let’s start by pointing the finger of responsibility at ourselves.”
Chief Mathieson – I’m not sure what “boogie man” you’re referring to, but a monster killed five law enforcement officers in Dallas two weeks ago, and another just took the lives of three more in a savage assault in Louisiana.
Frankly, I am sick and tired of spineless, namby-pamby apologists like Mathieson telling these brave men and women who are actually in the arena how they should do things “better.”
How dare you.
And by the way, it’s not “paranoia” when officers are being slaughtered in the streets.
I find it nauseating – although not unexpected – that in the aftermath of the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11, Mr. Mathieson had the abject temerity to opine that law enforcement officers – who proudly and bravely hold the line with a target on their backs – should “point the finger of responsibility” at themselves.
Initially, I simply considered the source and opted to let it go.
Let’s just say that – despite his extremely high opinion of himself – Larry is not someone I, or anyone else I know, consider an expert on much of anything – certainly not law enforcement leadership.
Frankly, I dismissed it as the babbling of an irrelevant has-been exploiting a bad situation to gin up business for his obligatory retirement “consultancy.”
But with officers lying dead in the street in Baton Rouge, my rage will simply not permit me to sit quietly. I fear that someone might mistake my silence for acquiescence to Mathieson’s horseshit opinions and International Association of Chiefs of Police group-think.
The fact is, Larry Mathieson is a “consultant” – in my view, just another leech on the government teat – who makes his living as a self-described expert, exploiting and hyping problems that he can advertise to help resolve for a hefty fee.
How many law enforcement officers have to die before you see the utter shame in blaming these brave souls for the craven acts of despicable and cowardly domestic terrorists?
Stop pointing your fucking finger. It is not law enforcement’s fault, Larry.
Do you see that now?
Just last week, while the Dallas Police Department was burying its dead, I witnessed news footage of college-aged young people of all races marching through a major metropolitan area chanting, call and response: “What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want them? Now!” then “We should shoot you!” and “Fuck the Police!”
Unlike Larry Mathieson, I don’t particularly care what underlying social conditions or “community perceptions” may or may not have contributed to this vile brand of hatred. I recognize it for what it is – strategic ambuscades targeting police officers as a terroristic means of advancing a twisted ideology of racial animus to incite further divisiveness.
I also know that when certain groups scream death threats in the streets of America, openly calling for the wholesale murder of law enforcement – and then we see officers dying in violent attacks – only a fool would deny that there is a direct and menacing correlation.
When those same horrific and provocative chants – protected as they may be – are then tacitly approved, if not bolstered, by the knee-jerk comments of President Obama, candidates, political hacks and so-called “social activists,” it sends a distinct message that cops lives don’t matter.
Add to that a complete lack of political leadership in the country – and a few gutless police administrators who preach mollification and self-blame – and you have a hell broth of radicals, apologists and shameless opportunists clawing to fill the void.
In Washington, there is a growing tradition of demonstrating unity and symbolizing respect by bathing the White House in colored lights significant to the occasion. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the colors of the French flag were used. When gay marriage was ratified by the Supreme Court, the colors of the rainbow shone brightly at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Last week, Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, formally asked the White House to consider this public show of support for the fallen officers, and for law enforcement around the nation, following the ambush attacks in Dallas.
President Obama refused.
Spokesman Josh Earnest, speaking for the President, advised the White House would not light up the façade in blue, stating that Mr. Obama had acknowledged the loss in other ways.
Really? It’s a few light bulbs.
But more important, it symbolizes a strong political statement of support for police that Mr. Obama and his administration simply refuse to make, least he alienate the radical fringe.
Better to cultivate political favor from these ‘rebels without a cause’ than honor the memory of eight dead heroes.
I fear things are going to get worse before they get better in this godawful Summer of 2016.
Once again we will mourn the dead and pray for the wounded – and our brave men and women of law enforcement will lace-up their boots, pin on the badge, and go in harm’s way to protect us. All of us. United, as always.
God bless them.
In my view, it’s time we ignore the arrogant lecturing of self-promoting pseudo-experts like Larry Mathieson and others who spew the cheap rhetoric of appeasement and apology.
Let’s simply take a stand in support of the men and women of law enforcement.
They damn well deserve it.