Monday, August 31, 2015

Police Officer Shootings

Watching the news reports of the shooting of Deputy Darren H. Goforth in the Houston, Texas area is an exercise in frustration.  It seems from the media that our nation has seen several murders of policemen in the past few months.

I heard a CNN reporter speak of it as an execution. Moments later a contributor was talking about police brutality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement as if there is any reasonable excuse for murdering a police officer.

Rural American tends to have a different view of our law enforcement professionals than what is seen on the news today. We believe that most State Police, Sheriff Deputies, and local police officers are good people doing a tough job. A job that requires them to deal with people who make stupid mistakes, those who make bad choices, and even those who have chosen evil and wrongdoing as their path in life. They do this job to protect others and enable our society to function. This job is often done at great risk to the officer’s safety, even their very life.

There are three things that we all need to understand.

1. All lives matter. It doesn’t matter what color you are, where you came from, what you do for a living, your stage of life, or what the balance in your checkbook is; every life has value. We do not believe that you condemn a group because of the action of an individual, much less condemn a group due to media coverage. We respect the individual who conducts themselves with dignity and treats others with respect. We require due process for those who violate the laws of our nation.

2. We need to teach our children that police serve society. They are authority figures that deserve respect, just as a teacher or minister does. We understand that any person who threatens another with harm, or otherwise violates the law, must take responsibility for their actions. If your actions threaten the lives of police or citizens, you should be prepared for the consequences.

3. Bad apples, both police and citizens, must be dealt with. If a police officer violates the trust that the public has in him or her, they should be punished. If citizens violate the law, they should suffer the consequences of their actions. No one should expect to get away with theft from, or harm to another individual.

Our society needs everyone to be a participant. Police officers enforce the law, citizens obey the law, and everyone looks out for each other. Each person takes responsibility for their actions. These are our American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Any other option will result in damage to our society. After all, no society can selectively choose which laws to obey and retain the rule of law.

The Grange is proud to support our law enforcement professionals and the Constitution and laws of the land. Check out your local Grange to find out how they are accomplishing this task.