In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, thousands of brave men and women fled into the chaos of smoke, debris, and carnage. Some of these responders wore the uniform of New York Police and Fire Departments; others were good Samaritans. Without the heroic response by these personnel, one may only speculate how many more individuals would have lost their lives.
Fewer than fifteen years later, first responders are being demonized. Their lives are being attributed no value in cities across the country. In New York City, two officers have been murdered. There have been threats from across the country to inflict more injury on police officers.
America’s first responders, policemen, firemen, paramedics, and others, are a group of the most patriotic and selfless people the world may ever know.
Now, I understand that my being a young, white male renders my opinion meaningless in the eyes of many who feel that America’s policemen are out to get them. That will not stop me from sharing these words which I find to be necessary during this dark time.
I am deeply saddened by the hatred and disrespect our nation’s police officers are experiencing. These are men and women who wake up each morning, put on a uniform and badge, and risk their lives to protect us. These men and women take an oath to defend the people of the city in which they serve. They are our protectors whom ensure banks and stores can operate with less fear of robbery. They patrol the streets in an effort to shield people and their property from harm.
It is a crying shame that these same individuals are on the receiving end of death threats. Sure, there are some bad policemen, just like there are bad teachers, politicians, parents, and drivers. The actions of a few should not be a reason to despise them all.
Despite popular belief, most police officers do not pledge to defend only white people. The oath they take is colorblind. I do not mean to downplay the tragedy of the losses of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a life lost is a serious matter. The deaths of these men are heartbreaking. Even so, these losses are in vain when our police are threatened.
Imagine a world without our first responders. Who would respond to a house fire? Who would respond to a robbery? Who would respond to a heart attack? The Reverend Al Sharpton has taken it upon himself to vilify police officers. Doing so puts their lives as well as others in danger. I am not a betting man, but I am certain that the Reverend and his followers would not think twice about calling in responders in a time of personal emergency. If and when that time comes, he will certainly cry foul if emergency personnel respond in the same manner he has responded to them.