Last night SIX officers were shot in the line of duty. Two of them are employed at my agency. Two in Kissimmee, Florida and two in Pennsylvania.
There is much in my mind to say about these incidents in light of contemporary ideas that police “must be held accountable” and “officers should be prosecuted.” I don’t know all the specifics of these incidents, but I know what it takes to do this job. I further know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a man or woman who does this job exemplifies the highest moral character imaginable when combating evil for the preservation of innocent lives.
Teddy Roosevelt well said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
It is to the supporters that I say thank you. Thank you for not blindly supporting us, but standing with us when we act correctly. In other words, thank you for knowing what is right and wrong. Thank you for holding us to the higher standard that we humbly accept. Know that when we hold ourselves accountable it is in keeping our collective ability to save innocent lives in mind.
It is to the undecided in this political place in time, that I say: Thank you for your care in wanting to make our world a better place, but know there are things that you must know before you rightly judge the men and women that stand in the gap for you. I ask that you learn from the people who do the job, and not ones who think they are wise in their own eyes without knowledge and experience. Don’t listen to people who call themselves experts, listen to the ones who actually are.
It is to the critics that I say, most humbly, you have not earned the right to speak ill of such noble men and women. You have not earned the right, nor do you possess the knowledge to critique their actions. Your attempt to discredit their nobility falls on the ears of good and moral men and women as nothing but abstract noise founded in prideful ignorance and/or evil. It is in your own words your character is revealed, and your soul is laid bare before the righteous.
To my brothers and sisters, I say: Remain steady. Remain calm. Remain vigilant. It is good to play these things over in your head, but clarity will come soon in your minds. Know that you are not simply employed, but you are called to the most noble profession. You are called to save innocent lives, and that entails standing fervently in the face of evil. Your abilities to defeat this foe do not come from the deep recesses of your imagination. They are found in a firmly resolute mindset that you will overcome. When you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, be prepared for the moment. That moment when this is not just a part of the police officers code of ethics that you recited in the academy, but it is a moment in which your entire existence is brought into being in time and space. A time that perhaps you were born for, a time that may have been predestined for you, and your fellow officers to leave a noble and glorious mark on the pages of eternity. When that moment finds you: Seize it. Know law, know policy, know the Priority of Life scale and be guided by them. But after all of that, the most important part is the knowledge that you are called to something greater. You are called to serve your fellow man in the darkest most dangerous moments of human existence. Do not fear the valley of the shadow of death, but be the most loving and the most dangerous human being within it. Apply both in your decisions. Finally know, if you are with Christ, He is in the valley with you. He goes before you, and surrounds you in His grace.
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Ephesians 6:12-13 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”