Why do we continue to see the everyday heroes that are police officers be villainized by the media?
Whether the source be local, regional, national, or even global, the everyday rhetoric surrounding the men and women in uniform is as the villain.
Open Google and do a simple search for “Police Officer” and you will find the top hits under news being related to officer involved shootings. You will find subject lines such as:
- “Suspect Wounded in Police Shooting. . .”
- “Police Shoot Man . . .”
- “Police Officer will not be Charged in Fatal Shooting . . .”
An officer involved shooting is something that very few of us will ever experience, nor do any of us want to experience.
The nanosecond decision making pressure that these officers work under on a daily basis is something that people in other professions would crumble under.
We all face challenges in our professions, but none are as important as life or death (shoot or don’t shoot). So, if we take a step back and put ourselves in their shoes; why do we continue to tolerate the media villainizing these officers? Why are officers not celebrated for their triumphs?
I say that a little with tongue-in-cheek, because I know that the humble officers would never want to be celebrated, especially for something like an officer involved shooting. However, if we refer to the three headline examples I gave earlier, why can’t they be written as:
- “Officers Reduce Threat and Wound Suspect. . .”
- “Officers Stop Criminal . . .”
- “Officer Involved Shooting Justified . . . “
I think if the media were able to step back and look at the way their material influences our culture, they would realize they are grooming a generation of people that fear the police.
If they put political parties aside and just took two-seconds to think with a little common sense, I am confident that they would see the benefits of the police force.
I took a quick poll of people around; co-workers, family member, friends, etc. and asked a simple question: “What do you think of the police officers in America?”
It was a simple that could have been answered an unlimited number of ways, however the resounding answer was that there are good officers and bad officers, qualified and unqualified, or prepared and ill-prepared.
It all goes back to what your mother and grandmother always told you: “don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.”
The media has turned to militarize the wording of these articles in an effort to spoil the bunch. The way they use words like “tactical” when describing how an officer is dressed, instead of just saying he/she was prepared.
Or, as I described previously, how they headline their click-bait articles for police bashers/haters to be drawn in to read the article. It all turns out to groom a generation of fear.
All in all, I believe that we need to get back to our roots and attempt to see the good in all people. We need not to put other people under some higher regard than we put ourselves.
The next time you criticize a police officer, think about the last mistake you made. We all make mistakes, so who is criticizing us for those mistakes?
Think about flipping on the television in the morning and seeing your last decision at work as the headline on the news. Are you embarrassed? Shameful? Traumatized?
What if you had an employee at work who was stealing from the company and you had to let him/her go? You turn on the news in the morning and the headline is “Man ruins persons life by terminating his position” and that is what 90% of people at the water cooler will talk about.
No context as to what happened, just that some guy can’t feed his family or pay his mortgage. What they don’t realize is that you saved the jobs of the other employees because now you are not operating at a loss due to the stealing.
It’s all about context and delivery.
We need to get back to a system that villainizes villains and celebrates heroes.