By Dan Kontos
I hear it all the time; no one respects law enforcement anymore. Legacy “news” networks and social media dumpster fires constantly expose us to conflicts between “ordinary people” and the police. Riots, shootings, fights, and the unending refrain of politically charged rhetoric makes us feel that the entire nation has turned its collective back on the men and women in blue.
Look around you. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called officers “stormtroopers,” in a July 17 tweet, while former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a July 13 interview that the police have, “become the enemy.”
Even here, Portage County Board Supervisor Ntxhais “Chai” Moua joined a march on June 1st where she proudly proclaimed on a bull horn, “F— the racist police.” How shameful.
Across the nation, virtue-signaling ignoramuses are calling for the insane idea of defunding law enforcement, and what, replacing them with social workers? As just one example, in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the police budget almost 17%, reducing the number of officers by over 1,100, all while in the month of June their shootings were up 130%, murders up 30%, burglaries were up 118%, and car thefts up 51% over 2019. The same can be said for the cities of Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the list goes on.
It’s hard to turn on the news without viewing another story calculated to cast law enforcement in a negative light, all done by some self-important elitist with a condescending tone and supercilious smirk.
In response, firearms background checks, which are indicative of gun sales across the nation, have hit a historic high according to the FBI. This, while politicians call for more gun control or even outright gun confiscation. Now a corrupt St. Louis prosecutor even charged two homeowners for displaying a firearm to protect themselves and their property, all the while apparently after tampering with the evidence she used to charge them.
Why are Americans arming themselves at an accelerating pace? Because the citizens of this nation rely on their police forces to protect them. They are increasingly distrustful of politicians, scared of what they see, and they do not like it in the least. A recent Just the News poll found that only 12% of Americans wanted a reduced police presence in their neighborhoods, while 44% wanted it increased. Personally, I think that it probably is higher—maybe it’s just me.
All the while anti-police irrationality persists, the men and women in law enforcement still continue to do their jobs, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Well, that is unless you’re in one of those agencies where even the higher echelons in the department have turned their backs on their own officers under intense political pressure.
Increasing resignation and retirement rates have strained many agencies, already combating escalating lawlessness and skyrocketing crime. Feckless politicians try and mollify mobs and join in with rioters by telling their police departments to stand down in the face of these thugs and looking for woke photo ops. Ask State Senator Tim Carpenter how that worked out for him. Good luck with all those social workers coming to your next armed robbery.
To be sure, law enforcement officers are human, with human frailties. No one condones misconduct, especially within the very agencies entrusted with the authority to prevent such behavior in society.
Are there “bad cops?” Absolutely, as in any segment of society. As horrifying as it is to me, simply look no further than the corruption, perjury, evidence tampering, extortion, and illegal surveillance conducted by our own FBI and US DOJ on the likes of Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and even the President himself. I believe criminal incitements will be out soon. Good, they cannot come fast enough for me.
So, why do the police do it? Why stay? It’s quite simple. For most, it’s a calling. A noble profession that they feel compelled to pursue. As a retired law enforcement officer myself, I can tell you first-hand numerous acts of selflessness, bravery, compassion, brilliance, and just plain perseverance that I witnessed from these great individuals throughout my career. They did it because that is who they are.
So how do most officers see things? You have to remember that these are their communities too. They protect, enforce, and serve because our society is better for having them and having them do their jobs right. They take pride in their accomplishments, learn from their mistakes, train their cohorts, and have an uncanny ability to withstand immense psychological pressures. This all is on top of the physical threats that they face each and every day. So far, 80 officers have lost their lives this year through August 9.
To understand inside the thin blue mind, you should become familiar with an analogy from an unknown author told to law enforcement officers by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) David Grossman, U.S. Army, in his many police training sessions. He recounts that most of the people in our society are akin to sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who don’t wish to harm anyone else and only do so by accident.
If you are already offended, please wait. The term “sheep” is not a pejorative, just descriptive. It’s just an analogy after all. Sheep just wish to go about their business unmolested, enjoying their lives with others like them. All in all, they have a pretty good and enviable life.
Then there are the wolves who watch for an opportunity to feed upon the sheep without mercy, without remorse. As such, there are evil people in this world and they are capable of doing evil deeds. Never forget that or pretend it’s not true. There is no safety, no quarter, no exemption in denial. The solace is artificial and fleeting.
Then there are sheepdogs. Their duty is two-fold, to keep the flock from straying too far, and also to protect the flock from the wolves. The sheep do not necessarily like the sheepdogs. After all, the sheepdog controls the flock through their ever-present watchful gaze, or perhaps a bark, or maybe even a nip to keep them in line. And so, the average citizen views the police often as a comforting and necessary annoyance, keeping order through traffic regulations, nuisance abatement, but mostly through voluntary compliance by a good and kind society.
What the sheep often forget is that like the wolf the sheepdog is capable of violence too. They have to be. To defeat the wolf, no amount of reasoning will suffice. Only the ability to physically intervene can protect the sheep. Sheepdogs are just as capable of harming the sheep as the wolf, but they don’t. They don’t because it is their nature. They are born protectors. Many understand they were “called” to be so by God.
So you see, if you have no innate capacity for societal violence, then you are a good and healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog. That special someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out willing to do it again.
You must also understand that not all sheepdogs wear a uniform. There are many of your fellow citizens that possess these same qualities, and are willing to act if necessary. Consider this: just in 2019, over 56,000 concealed carry applications were submitted in Wisconsin alone. Just imagine what 2020 will be like.
The writer George Orwell purportedly said that people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men [and women] stand ready to do violence on their behalf. Absent the investigations, traffic crashes, missing persons, and the like, this is the crux of reality when the wolf comes for the flock.
So law enforcement officers sometimes become defensive, wary, and even distrustful. Mindful that a split-second lapse in judgment could cost a life. They do not get the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking. This may make them appear standoffish, arrogant, hypervigilant, or mean. Trust me, they do not want to be like that. They often live in a rather closed-off society containing a disproportionate number of fellow officers, forged by the notion that they can only rely upon their own when it comes time to face the wolf.
After all, how many videos have you watched of a law enforcement officer in a struggle with a suspect, and no one around helps. They just record the encounter with their phones, rather than lending a hand.
If you truly value what they do, there is no better reward for an officer than to tell them that the next time you see one. Simply thank them for their service. That’s it; nothing more is required. It will make their entire day, especially nowadays.
I value them for the sake of my family and my society, and I know you do too. Don’t forget that how you vote also makes an impact. Choose wisely. Combat the anti-police mob and stand with our men and women behind the badge.
Join me on Parler @DanKontos for some bare-knuckles political opinions, a bit of overly dry humor, and shades of columns to come. All opinions are truly welcome there. God Bless.
Kontos lives with his family in Whiting.