How many times have you heard people say that they would defend their family against attack, be it physical or verbal? That they would fight to the death to protect their loved ones? Perhaps you have said it yourself. If you have children I am willing to bet you have said it more than once.
I am no different than you. I will defend my family, too. It happens that mine is quite large. My family consists of hundreds of thousands of people, and they are a mixed bag of races, genders, ethnicities, and religions. This is my law enforcement family. It is made up of those who serve and those of us who love them.
They are the ones you call when your husband has too much to drink and shoves you down the stairs. They are the first on scene to cut you out of your seatbelt and pull you from your car before the gas tank explodes after a collision. They are the people you rely on to find and safely return your missing child who wandered off in the blink of an eye.
They used to be your heroes. Now the media has turned them into monsters. Public officials and “community leaders” with agendas far different from yours incite you and turn you against them. Cop bashing seems to have become the new social media national pastime.
I ask you to understand that when you attack police officers you are not only targeting them. You are hurting their loved ones- their husbands and wives, their mothers and fathers, their children. You are hurting me. The venomous words you hurl at these officers stick us all like poisonous darts.
I ask that you choose your words carefully, and that you consider how you would feel if they were directed at a member of your family. Before you speak, or before you type, pause to think about the emotions those same words would evoke if they were directed at your loved ones. If you would not want them said to your family then do not say them to mine.
Are you careful enough to speak of the tens of thousands of good officers for every one bad seed? Are you vigilant in citing facts and statistics while you use trigger words like corruption and racism? Do you take care not to label and stereotype an entire profession as you would ask that an entire race or group not be labeled or stereotyped? Do you understand that in doing so you are no better than what you proclaim to fight against?
There is no place for evil in this family. We do not want it here, we do not shelter it, and we do not tolerate it. We will drive it out and fight against it. We defend the righteous, and we do not want evil “on our side”. They are impostors and interlopers, and they are not members of our family. Evil can work its way into any profession or any group, but it cannot be allowed to define in its entirety that profession or group. It is our job to rid society of that evil, no matter where it is found.
Can we come together instead of drawing lines in the sand? Can we work together and not push harder to separate and isolate one another? There are issues to be addressed. There is dialogue that must take place. There is room for improvement and change on all sides. We may not agree on the outcome of every situation, but we can approach each other with mutual respect. This can only be accomplished if we are all willing to stop speaking in anger. It can only begin when we cease the use of blanket statements and judgments.
I will defend my family with every last breath in my body. I will defend them until I can no longer put pen to paper. I will defend them because, just as you do yours, I love and believe in my family. I will defend them because they are worthy of my defense.
Who will defend the defenders? I will, and so should you. They are a part of your community. They are your neighbors. They attend your church, and your children go to the same schools. They are my family, and they could be your family if you let them. They defend you. Will you defend them?
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