When I was in elementary school and the nun asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, most of the boys said a policeman; we girls were divided between nurses and nuns. (To my knowledge, only one of us followed through on our professional declarations.)
At this writing, following the police bashing on the Brooklyn Bridge, I am listening to the televised broadcast of New York’s mayor Bill DeBlasio who just said, “… anyone, anywhere—whether in protest or anything else who assaults a police officer–is unacceptable and they will suffer the consequences.” (Yes, the grammar is flawed, but you get the point.)
I question where Mr. DeBlasio was a few months ago when a group of trouble-makers threw buckets of water on policemen/ women on patrol in one of the tougher parts of town. I wonder what God thought while watching the celebration of the offenders who cheered, videoed, laughed and danced while trying to humiliate the officers who did nothing—absolutely nothing—in response. That evening, one of the news reporters predicted that if the New York mayor or governor failed to send a message that this behavior would not be tolerated, the disrespect for police officers would grow exponentially. A prophetic statement, for sure!
So, what has happened since then? Now, if you disrupt a peaceful, religious protest led by Hispanic and black leaders by taking a steel pipe to officers’ heads, you will be out of jail—with no bail– with plenty of time to buy your celebratory water-soakers (or guns) before the stores close. So, what message does this no-penalty-release send to our nations’ finest? In my opinion, the same one as decreasing the officers’ budget by a billion dollars. (“You don’t matter.”)
Re-read Mr. DeBlasio’s quote. Where are these “consequences” to which he refers? The only ones suffering any consequences right now are the officers. We, the majority of Americans who still respect our first-responders–those whose lives are risked every day so we can live a few more, those who repeatedly knock on doors of the same abused caller who, yet again, refuses to press charges, those who give up holidays and weekends and nights when duty calls, those who come home smiling when they have correctly completed the paperwork to expedite a pedophile and cry into their pillows when a toddler is shot—are scratching our heads and wondering from where Mr. DeBlasio’s vitriol for his city’s protectors comes.
Do I sound dramatic? I think not.
We are a country of law and order…well, some places are. Many of us still believe that our Declaration of Independence means what it says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Surely “all men” includes police officers, right? Crushing my skull with a pipe does nothing to assure me of life or happiness, not to mention, my liberties which will be tossed aside if I choose to retaliate.
Are police officers always cordial, fair, friendly, compassionate and unbiased? No. And neither am I. And neither are you. That’s because we all are sinners who fall short of the glory of God. But God values justice. Deut. 32:4 teaches that all God’s ways are just, and Proverbs 24:24-25 tells us this: Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them.
I pray that someone will encourage Mr. DiBlasio (and others of the same mindset) to take a good, hard look at how God views justice because if things continue the way they are now, no child will be including police officers as one of his/her top professional choices.