Now many of you, my regular readers, know I am a federal law enforcement officer. If you are a regular reader, you also probably realize I do not normally blog about anything wherein I go out of my way to show special support for police or other law enforcement groups, although I may honor a fallen officer time and again. Tonight I am going to make an exception. I am going to blog about the sanctity, in general, of any memorial for fallen police officers. I think that such a memorial amounts to hallowed ground; hallowed by the sacrifice made by the fallen officer. It is not to be taken lightly, not to be tread upon in disrespect, and should be a place where only honor is offered.
Yes that is my opinion, and here is upon what I base that opinion. You see when a police officer lays down his or her life in the line of duty, I think it not just akin to a military service person laying down his or her life for country, but I think it goes somewhat beyond that. Why, well it is difficult to explain, especially difficult without offending any veterans or current service members; and I can assure you it is not my intent to demean loss of life in the military, so please bear with me as I try to explain.
You see, each day when a police officer goes to work, the officer leaves his or her family or loved ones behind and heads out into America, on the streets, in the country, on the waters, into businesses, and into homes. Yes that's it in a nutshell - can you see why the death of a police officer in the line of duty is different than that of a service person in the military. They go out into America, and that my friends is mostly what makes it different from most contemporary duty deaths of soldiers within our military. Our military people are trained to go out and fight our enemies in foreign lands in order to protect our nation. Our police officers are trained to go out and fight crime and criminals to protect our nation. The big difference is that our law enforcement officers go out among other Americans here at home, and most of them who fall in the line of duty fall on their home soil. They do not live, fight and die to protect us on foreign soil thousands of miles from home at the hands of an avowed enemy, they are right here living among the rest of us each and everyday - here at home - yet home is where they are killed.
Despite that, we here at home with them take them for granted, we get pissed off at them if they give us a ticket, we get angrier still if they treat someone wrongly, we accuse them of be jack booted thugs, we call them racists, we sue them regularly, yet we call them for help when we need it, we underpay them and expect them to be honest, and in general we take them for granted until we need them, that is unless we are putting them down. Sure some put down the military too, but the guys fighting the war are not here to hear it. They are focused on a mission thousands of miles away. I know, sure they get it second hand, then come home and get it first hand, but the cop gets it second hand and first hand each and every day of his or her career right here at home. Of course on the other hand they get praised, they get thanked, they get blessed, again all here at home - though I can tell you not nearly enough for what the good ones do for us.
Still though it does not explain fully why I believe that a law enforcement officer losing his or her life in the line of duty is all so much different, more noble, or maybe that is not the word but bear with me, more of something anyway that goes beyond a soldier being killed protecting his or her country. It is not that I am saying one life, that of a soldier or that of a police officer is better. They are both servants of the people, both doing a dangerous job, both wonderful in that they would risk their lives to protect others - and I guess the difference is not so much in who they are, or what they do, or how much they get paid, or much they get put down - but rather the circumstances under which they lose their lives.
You see, it is the Police Officer, the FBI Agent, the Probation officer, the Game Warden, the SPCA Officer, the local Sheriff, the Correction Officer, and all the other law enforcement officers who go out not among foreigners who are our enemies living in foreign lands - but rather who go out among us their fellow Americans each and every day of their careers. Yes that is the main difference between the loss of a soldier (under most circumstances) and the loss of a law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer all to often loses his life on native soil, at the hands of a fellow American - the same guy that the police officer and the soldier are trying to protect. You see the police officer dies at home, at the hands of the same people he is sworn to protect; the same dirtbag who just pulled the trigger may have been saved by that officer just days before. You get my point don't you - you see it clear as crystal now. I am not putting down the value of the life of a military service person, nor raising the value of the life of a cop, but I am saying that the way a cop loses his or her life here at home in is own backyard so to speak, usually at the hands of an a fellow American, or an immigrant to America, is something that strike me as more heinous than a sworn enemy of America killing a soldier. So while it does not take away one iota from the importance of a war memorial, it makes a memorial to fallen police officers something very special to me, and it makes the killing of a police officer in the line of duty not more special than a war loss, but something that is harder to understand, something for which it is much more difficult to reach down into the depths of my soul and find an answer as to why it happened here INSIDE of America - here at home.
So when I see a picture of portable toilets, set up atop a Police Officers Memorial, with the flag still flying at half staff in the background (because of the recent passing of a memorial remembrance for the officers) I get upset. When I see political supporters, of the
"Despite a large amount of open areas in the vicinity, the campaign staffers claimed the toilets were placed on the memorial for safety reasons to accommodate wheelchair access."
Well, let me just say I hypothesize it would have been possible I might have just lost control and punched someone in the mouth. I only am speaking in the hypothetical. I do not advocate such illegal violence, nor am I saying I actually would have gotten physically violent; although I have to admit - I can imagine it. That is I can imagine beating some sense and respect into the arrogant
As it stands, I will keep it peaceful. I will lodge my complaint with the Obama campaign, I will express my concerns to the city of Portland, OR for allowing it to happen, I will complain to he head of the Secret Service (you can bet that they allowed it to be placed there whether by neglect of thought or by design), I will express my disdain to the media for not widely reporting it, and I will express my disgust to all of the elected officials who represent me. Most importantly, I will not vote for the candidate whose staffers were responsible for this sickening display of unabashed disregard something so honorable as the Police Officers' Memorial.
I guess after thinking of it all, it is no surprise that his supporters would pick as a toilet area a memorial to our brave fallen, be they civilian or military service. It is no surprise because it comes from the staff of the candidate whose wife was never proud of America until her husband ran for the presidency, whose minister was an apparent racist and anti-American hack, who has friends who were once in essence considered terrorists, who refused to wear an American flag pin until he realized it was to his political benefit to do so, who refused to place his hand over his heart during the singing of the National Anthem, and who mocks an American war hero by saying John McCain does not support the troops, yet Obama himself has made only a single visit to our troops in a combat area. If this guy becomes president, it is my personal opinion, we are doomed as We The People of the United States of America as his lack of respect for we Americans be we military service, civil service, or the rest of us is, as I see it, absolutely lacking.
All the best,