I thoroughly enjoy writing for a law enforcement, first responder, military veteran, and patriot audience, but just this once, I wish I had a way to blast this article into the depths of gang land and the streets, where “men” posing as men aren’t men at all, but cowards trying to act tough to gain respect and credibility.  I’d like to tell those people what we already know.  They’re just the opposite of what they think they are.

If anyone reading this has a way to push this toward that audience, it would make me completely satisfied, as I’m not afraid to voice my opinion, stand behind it, and take whatever flak is thrown my way.  I’ve been that way my entire life – no sense in changing that now.

I was raised watching old westerns.  My dad and grandfather loved all the shows like Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Bonanza, and movies starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.  These TV shows and movies repeated several solid truths and practices that many of us carry with us every day, even if we are too young to have witnessed their lessons in person.

You treat a lady like a lady.  You open doors, pull out chairs, show up for dates on time, you never honk your horn in the driveway when you’re picking her up and you pay for the meal and movie.  You never raise your hand to a woman or raise your voice. 

You work hard at what you’re skilled at, or if that isn’t available, you work hard at whatever job you can get.  You pay your bills.  You carry insurance on your car.  You maintain good credit.  You take care of your children.

You treat friends like friends and don’t talk behind their backs. If they’re going through something tough, you don’t judge them for mistakes, but you help them recover.

You act fairly in business and in financial transactions. You don’t lie to people to get ahead. 

And if you’re ever called to fight, you face your opponent, fight a good fight, and you never, ever, ever, hit someone from behind or shoot them in the back.

Being a police officer and a patriot is now frowned upon, with people on the left villainizing people who believe the things we believe. Words like honor, character, ethics, and pride are all given negative connotations as people with the opposite qualities seek to normalize their behavior.

Those old westerns seemed to always feature some sort of gun fight or brawl.  I recently saw an old episode of Gunsmoke where a band of criminals were going to rob a bank in a town.  The leader of the group was about to shoot Marshal Matt Dillon in the back, and his entire gang left the leader behind because he violated the “cowboy code” – never shoot a man in the back.

This isn’t just a cowboy or gunfighter rule.  In centuries past when a duel was challenged, a person was shunned from society and ran out of town if they cheated by taking unfair advantage or shooting their opponent in the back.

To violate the rules of a duel or the cowboy code makes you a coward.  That’s what I’m seeing today when our police officers, EMS personnel, and firefighters have been ambushed by some criminal or gang member.  They sneak up on their “opponent” and shoot them while they’re eating lunch or responding to a fire call.  These criminals, gang members, and wanna-be tough guys are cowards.  Nothing but cowards.

The word “coward” is seemingly old-fashioned, I’ll grant you that. No one uses that word in normal conversations in modern times.  Here’s some more old-fashioned words that are synonymous with coward:  Wimp, caitiff, chicken, craven, cur, dastard, deserter, funk, invertebrate, jellyfish, malingerer, mouse, poltroon, quitter, recreant, shirker, skulker, sneak, weakling, yellow, chicken heart, faint-of-heart, fraidy-cat, gutless, lily liver, scaredy cat, shirk, white liver, and yellow belly.

I had to chuckle as I was writing those words, since I could hear Festus from Gunsmoke yelling out some of them to a weak person who would rather sneak up on someone than face them like a man.

Let’s look at some similarities in these recent attacks by weak people and subjects we can understand through national-level news stories. Terrorists don’t attack the barracks at the 82ndAirborne at Fort Bragg.  They don’t attack sniper school students at Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton. And they don’t attack police officers training at a firing range.  They attack schools, shopping malls, cruise ships, and hotels – soft targets.  They attack soft targets because they are cowards.

A young man in Florida didn’t walk into a sheriff’s department at shift change and start shooting.  He walked into a high school with one school resource officer and began shooting teenagers.  He did that because he was a coward.

Nikolas Cruz killed 17 in the 2018 Parkland shooting.

Young males (generally involved) don’t play the “knock out game” with a big, burly construction worker in Ohio, a bar bouncer in Houston, or a Tae Kwon Do student practicing at his dojo – they attack men and women in their seventies and eighties.  Men and women who likely couldn’t properly defend themselves in a fair fight.  And then these young people gloat, dance, and record themselves and their “victory.” They pick old people because these young men are cowards.

I watched with great zeal when Captain (now state representative) Clay Higgins out of Louisiana made a video where he called out gang members and criminals by name.  He did that with ministers, business owners, and other city leaders standing behind him. Captain Higgins bore the brunt of national criticism for calling people out like he did.  Most people criticizing him wanted him to talk and act in a more politically correct manner, and not be so confrontational.  I can’t speak for Captain Higgins, but I don’t think it’s in his nature to stand down.  He’s not a coward.

If I had the opportunity to hold a loudspeaker or megaphone and speak to a bunch of gang members, criminals, or other groups of “men” who think they’re tough, hard, and have street credibility, I’d loudly call them cowards.

These males know damned good and well that if they actually faced off with an officer and tried to attack them, they’d lose.  As a society, we must quit glorifying these people and condemn them for what they are.  They’re weak. They aren’t men in the true sense of the word.  These are the same guys who don’t work, and sponge off their girlfriends, mothers, and grandmothers.  They don’t even buy their own food.  They’re only male in appearance, and nothing else – no qualities that makes a man a man.

And they’re trying to kill or hurt people to make themselves appearmanly.  I see through it.  I wish the rest of the world would.

Pass the word.  You’re not a man.  You’re a punk.

Written by James E. Lewis, M.Ed., CDS, Columnist