Thursday, June 10, 2010

"I was counting on forever... I'll never know." This Is Just A Dream by Carrie Underwood.

This is not like most of my posts, but as a newlywed, it caught my eye. I saw this report about a wedding in Afghanistan bombed by a suicide bomber. Apparently, the family had ties to the police, so their wedding was attacked, probably (the current guesses are) by the Taliban. My heart just went out to this family--I can't imagine what they're going through. A wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of your life--like mine was!--but instead, this was probably their worst day. That is probably the very nastiest type of terrorist attack I've heard--right up there with murdering mothers in front of their children or drive-by shootings on Christmas.

It's not just in war-torn foreign countries that the police attack this kind of personal attack. American law enforcement death statistics are tragic, and they can't even keep track of the amount of injured and attacked officers per year. A common phrase you'll hear around here whenever the police are the topic of conversation is, "they got a target painted on 'em."

In the same vein, but on a lighter note, a former county police officer told us was how he went to a house "in the mountains" (read: eastern Kentucky) on a domestic violence call. The house was back up a dirt road, one of those places it takes you 45 minutes from anywhere to get to. He finally arrived in his patrol car, and a huge bearded man came out to meet him.

"Now lissen," he said to our friend in what he thought was a comradely secretive whisper, "I gonna tussel wit' ya; but I'm not gonna tussel hard, so don't kill me!"

I assume most of my readers would not kill a cop, nor even "tussel" with one. Even those of us who live reasonably law-abiding lives aren't exactly kind about the police, are we? We listen to those songs that talk about killing cops or running away from them, we have inventative and uncomplimentary nicknames for them, and our culture (especially my generation, I think) generally considers law enforcement the "them" against "us." We think of clever comebacks if we're pulled over by them (how dare they enforce the speed limit) and we make jokes about coffee and donuts. What thanks is that for these people that enable us to live with our windows open, our children playing in the yard, and our cars safe in our driveways?

I just finished reading an amusing CSI memoir, Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand (it's not quite as randomly gross as it sounds...but almost), and was struck throughout her stories of the attitudes of some of the victims, victim's families, and the general populace as she attempted to solve murder cases. She dealt with some of the most disgusting things imaginable, horrific in nature and spent ridiculous hours on it; but she was rarely thanked for her work.

I guess the reason I'm going all passionately rampageful about this is that we ought to thank them for their work on our behalf, not add to the side of society that makes them laughingstock and outcasts. They give up other possible careers, a decent paycheck (have you ever looked up how much most cops get paid? Not much.) I suppose it's akin to my wrath about people who say mean things about military guys, or who are rude to anyone in uniform. (One of my neighbors informed me that no one in uniform is ever welcome at his house, end of story. Why? I have no idea. It is on principle, and he had lots of nasty things to say about them. and very little nice to say about anything. I was appalled. Of course, he's also a conspiracy theorist, so.) This attitude of ingratitude and shortsightedness makes me absolutely furious, and my husband laughs at me because I clench my fists and stomp the floor in useless anger.

I realize there are corrupt police, as with any organization. Anything that is connected to politics, which law enforcement is by necessity, is going to attract some of the filth that clings to politicking. There are legal, productive, useful ways to deal with those problems, but passively sitting back and joining in the disrespectful mockery is neither helpful nor just--it is an insult to the ones who are honorable and sacrifice everything.

The same culture that laughs at those who protect it is doomed to lose that protection. Do not join the likes of those who mock our guardians--they are the same people who kill them. I wish I could say this better...they sacrifice so much. Whatever happened to little boys idolizing policemen and firemen? There was a brief resurgence after 9-11 (the biggest single loss of law enforcement lives in US history, btw) but now everyone has gone back to wanting to be a rock star.

The same way I typed furiously a few years ago about drug smuggling, I wish there was more I could do. There are so many issues in America that need to be addressed--politically, socially, culturally, morally...the list goes on and on. Every area and strata of life has it's issues (I suppose that comes from living in a fallen world) and most of these problems are things I cannot fix, no matter how much I'd like to. Many of these problems--like this one, like drugs, like pornography, like abortion--may be addressed en mass, but frankly, it's decisions each person makes that will change America or let it continue along its merry way. I can preach about the sad facts all day long--the statistics about how many officers were killed, how many families torn apart by drugs and organized crime, of marriages and lives shattered by the unhealthy addiction to porn (not to mention souls), and how many babies have died and women sunk into depression because of the documented effects of abortion...but ultimately everyone will make their own decision.

I guess I'll just leave you with one more thought. Realize that this "personal decision" you make, it does not just effect you. One person's decision will impact beyond what you realize, no matter how "small" the wrong, no matter how "intimate" the issue. Decisions lead to actions; actions have consequences. And thank you so much to everyone who realizes this and steadily lives your lives reversing these trends. Each daily decision, whether you feel it makes a difference or not, is impacting the entire culture.

Isn't it ironic?

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