I find myself doing a slow burn that is turning into a fast burn over all of the recent rhetoric being spewed against police officers, mainly as a result of the events in Ferguson.
I am open to discussion, and I do not blindly support the police without substantive facts. I do, however, as a police officer’s wife find myself incensed over snap judgments of racism, privilege, etc.
Before you speak I offer you the following opportunity: go through the lengthy application/ interview/ testing process involved in being hired as a police officer. Once hired, try not to laugh when you are advised of your pitiably low salary (oh yeah, and don’t forget that I pay your salary!!). Next leave your family for an extended period of weeks/months to attend an academy for training. When you finally get on the job resign yourself to rarely spending a holiday with your family – missing birthdays, Christmas, school plays, family bbqs, etc. Get used to working 12-hour shifts and sleeping a good 4-5 hours per day.
If you are on night shift add in no family dinners/bedtimes/bath times/game nights in addition to the other things you’ll be missing (remember that huge paycheck, though, cough, cough). Now, prepare yourself to withstand a barrage of insults daily – to you, your wife, your mother – all manner of vile vitriol to which you may never respond because your every word and action are scrutinized.
As you strap on your Kevlar vest each day take a moment to stand before the mirror and notice all of the body parts not covered by said vest, most notably the head. When the call comes out that has you alone in the middle of an angry crowd don’t panic, and don’t be afraid. After all, you asked for this, right? When you signed up to be a cop for the money, the power, and the prestige? Because you couldn’t have possibly signed up to protect and serve, to help people, to do good!
Flash forward to when you’ve now been on the job for about seven years – tonight you get to attend the memorial service. Would you like to talk to the officer who witnessed his 28-year old partner being shot in the head and killed (remember the parts the Kevlar doesn’t cover)? Would you like to speak to the young lady he had proposed to only days before, or the parents who will never be the same? Would you be able to stand the sight of grown men openly weeping in mourning? Yes, those same power-hungry, heartless cops you so easily rage against.
Ok, have you done all of the above? If so, then by all means, carry on with your rants, your rush judgments, your interpretations of “facts”, your hate-baiting, race-baiting, anti-authority-baiting from behind the safety of your keyboard. Done.