There are very few more dismissive phrases, especially as it pertains to the sacrifices made by the American solider or civil servant, than, “Well. They signed up for it”. That phrase rarely comes out of the mouth of someone who has an ounce of gratitude in their body and is almost always intended to minimize the impact of service.
Being a police officer is a unique calling; and it IS a calling. Anyone who is signing up for this job nowadays knows that all too well. If the documentable dwindling recruitment numbers and astronomically rising retirement numbers weren’t evidence enough for you, take my word for it: morale is as low as it’s ever been.
Done properly and professionally, especially in regards to the actual enforcement of law, police work WILL likely result in someone being very unhappy. No grown tax paying adult likes to be told what they can or can’t do by another unrelated adult who, in some cases, is decades their junior. Even less enjoy actually being punished for it. Yet, so it goes.
Police officers are paid to enforce laws that they didn’t create, were, in some cases, not even alive when they were drafted into law, and have little to no personal opinion one way or the other in regards to. You can thank your elected officials for those; the same elected officials that YOU voted for.
Police officers don’t send people to prison nor do they set the terms for how long someone is a ward of the state. You can thank your appointed judges for that; the very same judges appointed by the same aforementioned elected officials.
Police officers are the accessible face for all the frustration that the average person has with ‘government’. Most people don’t even know who their congressman is, let alone how to contact them. The ones that do, know all too well how pointless that venture is should they ever want to gripe anyways. Politicians of all parties stopped caring long ago; and they also stopped caring that you notice they don’t care. That is evident in every city of every state.
Ask the average person how to address a law that they would like to see changed, amended or taken off the books…or how THAT process happens; and then enjoy the blank stares.
Yet, on virtually every corner of every city block you can find a police officer or call 911 and get one immediately to respond to your house. You don’t need to fill out a fancy form or make appointments to vent to a police officer or, more to the point, to curse one out for the pain that our government has created.
This is where the “defund” and the anarchist percentage of the population thrive. It comes as no surprise to law enforcement as well as the law abiding citizens of the United States that most of the “defund” advocates hated cops long before “defund” was even a thing; “defund” just gave them a social media driven talking point to make them seem like they had a clue.
There is a reason that no politician who is in it for the long haul or cares about their legacy will metaphorically attach their horse to THAT wagon. They know that no functional society survives without law enforcement; and to fully remove law enforcement is akin to a death sentence for their city/state/country. Politicians are too practiced at life chess and spin to be that simple. In reality, their goal never was nor is getting rid of police officers. That’s merely the rallying cry of the anti-cop, anti-government, lawless animals wandering the street. The REAL goal of the “defund” movement is actually a federally controlled police force. But that’s a whole discussion to itself.
Nonetheless, politicians of all levels and parties are, if nothing else, masters at reading a room; and that skill has absolutely alerted them to the notion that the popular thing to be right now is anti-cop. Blaming the police officers for all that ills society is effective because it throws shade by giving the people a tangible, accessible and soft target.
Chris Christie harnessed this back during his tenure as Governor of New Jersey. Nevermind that New Jersey’s police officers were simply fighting for monies owed to them that Governor Whitman ‘borrowed’ from the police officers pension fund years ago in order to meet her budgetary needs. No. Ignore that. Governor Christie was able to successfully spin that narrative into painting police officers as “greedy” for simply wanting THEIR money back; and it worked.
Stay in the same state, jump the aisle and look at what (then) Mayor Booker did in Newark. As part of his re-election drive, Mayor Booker hired police officers he knew he couldn’t afford. After winning his bid, in what could only be described as union-busting, Mayor Booker put Newark PD and the Fraternal Order of Police on notice that their yet to be expired contract was to be renegotiated immediately…a renegotiation that involved major concessions on behalf of the police officers who STILL had a signed contract that was in effect…or there would be layoffs…layoffs starting with the police officers that Mayor Booker hired simply to ride to re-election. When the union pushed back, Mayor Booker spun that narrative into painting the police officers as “greedy” because they wouldn’t negotiate to save their own; and it worked.
The examples go on and on. The point is this: despite all of the vitriol coming from every angle, police officers DO sign up for this job. Every year, hundreds of police officers die while in the performance of their duty; some murdered simply because they chose to wear a shield in defense of an ideal larger than themselves. To minimize the impact of their sacrifice by dismissively indicating that “they signed up for it” shows a level of ingrate evil the devil is impressed by. You never hear that phrase uttered about any other profession, certainly not with the frequency or conviction that it is whispered in regards to law enforcement.
Imagine sitting at your dinner table, struggling to make ends meet, trying to match bills to monies you don’t have simply to provide for your family, just to have your child walk by and crack, “Hey. You asked for me. I didn’t ask to be here”. While it’s not apples to apples, it’s pretty damned close.
We can sit and analyze police use of force incidents and scour the reports for signs that there may have been malintent. Biased emotion can cause people to come to the conclusion that a police officer is a murderer just waiting to come out. Most of the rational world knows that believing that a police officer wakes up in the morning, kisses their family goodbye, dons their shield with murder on their mind…the murder of someone they haven’t even met by means that they can’t even dream up…is a fantastical idea. Anyone capable of that would be a murderer no matter what their job title is/was.
Yet, you know what is NOT fantastical…what DOESN’T require hours of scouring reports to know beyond a shadow of a doubt? That, since the first shield was pinned to the first chest, police officers have been ambushed, assaulted or assassinated simply for being police officers. That HAS happened; and will continue to happen as long as this country remains a republic.
Yes. Police officers DO sign up for this job knowing all the risk vs reward. You know who DOESN’T? The family that knows the weight of a folded flag; and your arrogant dismissal of the sacrifice associated with it speaks volumes about your character.
They signed up for it…and thank God for that.