It’s T.I.M.E. to Wake Up and Walk Up

People are responding vigorously to the mass shootings in a manner previously unseen. Students have been compelled to walkout of school to make sure their voice is heard.

Walk Up, Not Out

Yet I’d like to make the case that “walking up,” not “walking out” is a more productive choice.

Protest Marches Are Not the Answer

The protest marches being encouraged have one message: Gun Control. That is not the answer. It is a diversion from reality and is not helping the dilemma that has legitimately left students in fear of the future.

When a student in Ohio wished to maintain neutrality by remaining in class, he was suspended for failing to follow directions and report to study hall.

But where was his teacher? … Part of the walkout?

More Laws Are Not the Answer

Regardless of your position on the topic, more laws are not the answer. Chicago is a fantastic illustration. Even when law violators get caught with illegal firearms in the Windy City, the same ideological mindset encouraging the “walkouts” are also responsible for allowing thugs accused of weapons violations to “walkout” of jail as political collateral. … even as gangbanger funerals have turned into shootouts. 

And I’m not isolating Chicago. The same “get outa jail” policies are occurring everywhere. Even when a thug who should be incarcerated kills a cop, it still falls on deaf ears by people capitulating politics over solutions.

It’s a Paradox

It’s a paradox that some people want to throw guns in jail while releasing criminals from custody who commit acts of violence with these same weapons.

Moreover, we want and need better people in society, but our legal community is beating up on the institution of the church, the very place where teaching biblical principles—when adhered to—leads to better citizens.

Weapons in Circulation

There are currently as many firearms in circulation as there are American citizens, according to 2013 Pew research. And there is little doubt those numbers have recently increased.

So even if there wasn’t another firearm sold in America, there are enough weapons in households across our nation to ensure that psychopaths and sociopaths will find them.

Furthermore, weapons in the hands of good people account for self-defense about a million times per year. Therefore, even as a retired cop, I maintain firearm ownership and skills so I can defend my loved ones and myself.

Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to invest in developing good people in society, and incarcerate those who break the rules. I did not say, “incarcerate and throw away the key.” I believe in second chances, but only after consequences have been paid.

Developing Good Citizens

Therefore, we better make a concerted effort to develop “good citizens” who will pull the trigger on friendship, rather than a firearm.

One simple, yet substantive method toward this end was articulated in a post making the rounds on social media. It is untitled and the author is unknown, but a teacher brought it to my attention. Consequently, I am calling it, “Wake Up and Walk Up.”

Wake Up and Walk Up

Instead of walking out of school on March 14, encourage students to walk up – walk up to the kid who sits a lone (sic) at lunch and invite him to sit with your group; walk up to the kid who sits quietly in the corner of the room and sit next to her, smile and say Hi; walk up to the kid who causes disturbances in class and ask how he is doing; walk up to your teachers and thank them; walk up to someone who has different views than you and get to know them – you may be surprised at how much you have in common.

Build on that foundation instead of casting stones.

I challenge students to find 14 students and 3 adults to walk up to and say something nice to honor those who died in FL on the 14(th) of March. But you can start practicing now. #walkupnotout

– Author Unknown

People Want to be Known

There is incredible wisdom in this simple piece. People want to be known by others and believe their life matters. They want to experience the warmth of caring relationships. Humanity needs a sense of purpose to identify with. Most of all they need hope to sustain them through hard times.

Our Role as Humanitarians

As law enforcement officials, it is our duty to re-establish order when it’s disrupted. But as humanitarians it is our role to connect with others within our circle of influence—family structure, neighborhood, friends—to make their world a better place. And by “friends” I mean people that you actually know, not 5000 contacts on Facebook.

Cynics might question, “Isn’t that a bit Pollyanna?”

Indeed it is! But if you’re unwilling to inject some optimism in your life then you are not contributing to a solution.

The Role of Parenting

This is not an article on parenting, but too many children become wayward for a variety of reasons. Therefore, I believe it is worth discussing. These monsters (mass shooters) are being created in homes, not a laboratory.

Children thrive when they are loved and there are clearly established boundaries. A majority of the problems I have seen stem from the absence of loving borders.

T.I.M.E.

One of the foremost guiding principles when it comes to developing little people into responsible adults is the application of time.

If time is money, then how it is spent is vitally important. Thinking of T.I.M.E. as an acronym is something I shared in The Spirit Behind Badge 145:

  • Talking and listening – Do you talk and listen to the children in your life?
  • Inspiring and affirming – How do you inspire and affirm them?
  • Making it a priority – What have you done to make them a priority?
  • Experiencing bonding events together – Do you have fun as a family?
A Dagger to My Heart

My daughter is now a mother of three children. But when she was two-years-old she taught me a valuable lesson.

At the time, going to the gym was a high priority in my life—perhaps too high of a priority. One day she asked if she could come with me. When I told her no, she asked if they had childcare at the gym.

“Of course they do,” I replied.

My little two-year-old sweetie confirmed the childcare would cost me five dollars. As a result, she retrieved her piggy bank, brought it to me and asked if she had enough money to go to the gym with me.

That was a dagger to my heart and clearly demonstrated how much our children want and need our attention.

Seed, Weed, and Feed

Raising children is a bit like cultivating a flower garden. We need to plant seeds to produce beautiful blooms; we need to remove the weeds to eliminate harmful elements that will choke out the flowers, and we need to fertilize and feed the vegetation to nourish and watch it grow.

The way to seed, weed and feed is by taking the T.I.M.E. to do so.

If you are legally and logistically able, do you spend enough time with your child? Children of police officers are not immune from trouble. Sadly, I’ve arrested more cop offspring than I care to remember.

And by the way, do not buy the myth of quality over quantity. If you were starving, would you prefer a big juicy hamburger or half a bite of filet mignon? Pass the ketchup please; it’s time to Wake Up and Walk Up to a generation of students who are living in fear.

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today