Let’s play the game, “Who am I?” Are you ready?
I generally act like a ferocious but dimwitted omnivore with no tolerance or understanding. I have a short temper and little patience for anyone who does not see things my way. I will consume all objects in my path. My appetite for opposition has no bounds. My speech consists of raspy grunts and the occasional growl. Whatever is not consumed is covered with spittle as I spin like a vortex and gnaw through anything. I stop for short spurts to catch my breath before continuing my path of destruction.
Your answer please! … With little hesitation many of you amusingly thought of Al Sharpton, but you know the Tasmanian Devil (aka Taz) of Looney Tunes fame is the correct answer.
Why is this so? Could it have something to do with the manner in which Sharpton came roaring into Ferguson, Missouri last summer? Is Taz a metaphor to associate with Al’s actions? Is it because he is more race antagonist than protagonist? Perhaps you view his civil rights activism as separatism? In my estimation, the answer is yes to all the above.
But let’s not get stuck in the rut left by Sharpton veering his social caravan off course. Once St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch outlined the case before the grand jury in November, and publicly affirmed that no criminal charges would be filed against Darren Wilson, very few with any credibility in law enforcement were surprised. We were indeed relieved, but not shocked. The facts spoke and Wilson was exonerated.
However, most of us held our collective breath as the federal investigation continued.
Last week we heard there would be no federal civil rights charges levied against Wilson. There was no majestic announcement, nor a press conference. Really, there wasn’t much of anything. Just a few reports that federal charges were “unlikely.” Since then we’ve heard nothing but the sound of crickets related to this colossal event. It has been deftly quiet. Underinflated footballs in New England have received more coverage. But why?
While the news is greeted warmly by peace officers everywhere, it is hardly concrete information. Will there be more forthcoming? I don’t know. We often see a feeding frenzy directed at perceived acts of impropriety involving law enforcement. Then when light illuminates the truth, and facts trump spin, objective people move on while the anti-law and order crowd look for another flashpoint to pilfer, loot, and burn.
Has that occurred? Have objective people moved on? I hope so. But that doesn’t restore the wake of madness created in Ferguson and then reverberated in other parts of the country. Darren Wilson lost much more than his profession. He lost safety, security, and perhaps a level of senility. Business owners in Ferguson suffered as well. They incurred financial distress that will go uncompensated by the guilty parties flashing their signs and wearing masks while they proudly, and justifiably in their minds, wreaked havoc.
Would Officers Liu and Ramos have been murdered in New York absent the avalanche of hate that cascaded outward from the escapade in Missouri? It is anyone’s guess, but the dominoes that fell were not helpful anywhere.
I’m searching for answers just like you. But this much I know. I hate evil and all that encompasses it. Yes, “evil.” The aspect of humanity that is apparently camouflaged and unseen by some in the liberal press. I hate it with all my being. Yet while hating it, cops need to deflect the attacks from the misinformed and ignorant among us. While it may be difficult to understand what makes some people undeniably bitter, we need to be better professionals than their caustic accusations would lead others to believe. There have been many police chiefs and county sheriffs who’ve done just that, and I applaud their efforts.
While upholding the spirit of the law, we need to show mercy in our mannerisms when feasible. To show compassion while hating evil might be the ultimate challenge faced on an emotional level going forward. It means exercising what the Greeks referred to as “phileo”—brotherly love.
The bell has been rung and history is in the rearview mirror. We cannot change what has occurred, but we can chart our course for the future.
I pray the feds are done, that Darren Wilson will heal from the nations’ cacophony placed on his shoulders, and that professionalism will continue to prevail. America needs its’ cops now, more than ever. Especially when Looney Tunes are in town!
Jim is the author of The Spirit behind Badge 145. He worked in military and civilian law enforcement for thirty-one years. While in the USAF he flew as a crewmember aboard the National Emergency Airborne Command Post—a presidential support detail. Following his military service, he served for twenty-seven years with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California where he retired as a lieutenant. He holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the prestigious Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the IACP course, Leadership in Police Organizations. Jim is married and has three adult children and three grandchildren. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or view his website www.jimmcneff.com (soon to be www.badge145.com) which is geared toward encouraging officers.