For the record, I am one of those people equally horrified by the civilian deaths as the officer deaths. I am not against police. I am against criminal behavior, on the part of anyone, including police officers. I totally get it, it's a very dangerous job, and of course it can make you stressed and jittery. But what I have seen documented lately is something entirely different...
When ordinary citizens dare to demand that bad cops be held accountable, it is for some reason taken as an attack on the police force as a whole. Why is that? It seems to me that those entrusted to uphold the law should not themselves be exempt from it. But from all sides, it feels as though you are either expected to "stand with police", or you automatically become a target for police (or gun-nut) retaliation, or at the very least you're seen as a traitor, due to your obvious stance "against police". This frankly creeps me out. Why would any civilized society accept this? We have laws for a reason. If we can't trust our law enforcement officers and the judicial system to enforce them across the board, they become pointless. When a badge or the right connections allow you to operate outside of the system, the system is officially junk.
Anyway, there are some scary things going on in police departments all over the country these days. There are plenty of good police officers around, but the question is this: How are the good guys supposed to safely deal with their fellow "less-good" cops? It is a documented fact that law enforcement is a big draw for psychopaths. This profession offers a 24/7 power trip if one is so inclined. There is an endless stream of absolutely outrageous behavior that is constantly covered up. This dependable protection of bad eggs fosters a climate of "us against them", the very opposite of what we want as a society.
So imagine being a "good" cop for a moment, stuck with one or more psycho colleagues. How does one deal with that? Are you prepared to openly go against them? What do you think the personal consequences will be to you and your family? This kind of situation is in many ways far worse than an "ordinary" whistleblower situation, bad as that may be. Because anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having to deal with a psychopath knows that these people have no sense of personal accountability. They lack any moral compass. Plain and simple they consider themselves to be above the law. Now, add that attitude to a badge-inflated ego, love of violence and money, unlimited access to weapons and drugs, powerful connections and an unknown number of accomplices with the same motivations and interests. How safe do you feel working the streets with these colleagues after ratting on them? Can you depend on backup when needed? Do you have to worry about "friendly fire", or being set up? How safe do you feel off duty?
We need to get back the old school, neighborhood police officers. The ones who got to know their beat, were friendly with and knew most of the neighborhood people, and were motivated to serve and protect. Just so you know, this is pretty much a thing of the past, however: click here.
When our lawmakers are allowed to exempt themselves from the legislation they're pushing on the rest of us, when law enforcement is turning into war against peaceful citizens, when politicians are behaving like spoiled, unfettered brats on spring break, when people are judged on looks alone and when money is all that seems to matter, we have officially lost touch with reality, and, more importantly, with our humanity. Ethics, compassion and empathy are gone. We are slowly but surely turning into a macabre mish-mash of "1984", "The Matrix", and "The Hunger Games".
Why are people's concerns over SOME police officers' actions being taken as some kind of attack on the institution as a whole? The only thing that can be deduced from that kind of reaction is that there really IS something wrong with the whole thing. When photographic evidence of wrongdoing is unapologetically ignored, we are forced to wonder how high up the rot has spread.
The problem is not The Police. The problem is SOME of The Police, and many of their bosses. As in any other instance, the horrendous actions of some should not reflect on the rest. But how do we as a society help the good officers police the bad ones?