“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
My family business for three generations was law enforcement. I retired after serving 29 years on the Long Beach, California, Police Department. My father retired from the Los Angeles Police Department. Both of my grandfathers retired from LAPD. I had a great uncle and a cousin who retired from LAPD. My Uncle Don retired from the Hawthorne, California, Police Department. I had another great uncle who was a Long Beach police officer for a few years. I jokingly tell people that growing up, I wanted to be a bank robber, but I didn’t think I could survive my first family reunion.
With that background, I was a little disappointed that neither of my two sons went into law enforcement. The way things are going now, and have been going the last couple of years, I’m very happy they chose another occupation.
While in the Long Beach Police Academy in 1974, we were given a class on officer safety. The instructor ran through a 1967 case when two Long Beach police officers, Donald Knott and William Isham, were murdered while responding to a domestic disturbance call. In the handout that was given to the class, was a eulogy that was given at one of the officer’s funeral by a Catholic priest. It included the biblical quote above, from John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
I don’t believe I had ever heard that citation before. That the priest recited it in reference to officers being killed in the line of duty, had a profound effect on me. Over the years, it has been a comfort and help assuage a small part of the sadness felt when men and women I’ve known or worked with have been shot, wounded or killed in the service of others.
Whenever I hear about any law officers, anywhere, losing their lives while doing their duty, I know that a good and loving God will recognize that their sacrifice is akin to that of his son, Jesus, laying down his life for others. These tragedies are felt by relatives, friends and coworkers for the rest of their lives. I have witnessed retired officers get choked up and teary eyed when speaking about a father, partner or bother who was killed in the line of duty.
Our country is now engulfed in a maelstrom of crime and lawlessness. Murder rates are skyrocketing, violent and major property crimes are increasing exponentially. The most evil part of this phenomenon is the enormous increase in the seemingly motiveless, random attacks and murders of law enforcement officers. But the growth in the number of these ambushes can be placed at the feet of the progressive media and politicians. They will never admit it, but they have the blood of these officers on their hands.
In the summer of 2020, the so-called summer of love, the “mostly peaceful” protests killed dozens of people and some eight to ten police officers. These major riots were dismissed by the left media. Every confrontation that was filmed was blamed on “racist” police and the films were edited in such a way as to show none of the criminal acts of the crooks. Many of the most progressive politicians fomented hatred for law enforcement by spouting the “defunding police” rhetoric and donating money for bailing out the rioters.
It all started years before, with then President Obama stating that the police acted “stupidly” in the Cambridge, Massachusetts incident. Then the press and politicians accelerated the hate with the Ferguson, “hands up, don’t shoot” myth. With every one-sided news report of alleged police racism that the news organizations kept on their pages and screens, the hatred grew in the minds of the criminals and the mentally unstable who consider themselves to be the victims of “systemic racism”. This was a term invented by progressives, to give those in the minority communities who are easily led, an excuse to commit crime. It also gave them targets on which to vent their anger. Those targets wear badges and uniforms.
Thankfully, what used to be called the silent majority, is finally voicing their opposition to such slanted political views. With the public support shown for the slain officers in New York, and other cities the last two weeks, it appears that the pendulum is swinging back toward sanity. The test will be if the electorate recalls the District Attorneys who won’t prosecute crime or demand cash bail for recidivist offenders. If our voters change laws that have opened our jails and prisons, we may again return to safer communities.