Holding Yourself to a Higher Standard

“THE POLICE ARE UNDER ATTACK!!”

That is the headline that greeted me in today’s paper. Let me review.

Plenty of problems exist in the world that we live in today. However, all of these problems seem to be blown way out of proportion for the most part in the way that the media seems to report it. Don’t get me wrong; some media representatives do a good job of reporting facts after verifying the information. Others seem to jump the gun and blabber the first thing that comes into their minds.

“The police are under attack”

Two NYPD officers were shot and killed on December 20th. Investigators believe that this was a “crazed gunman’s ­assassination-style mission to avenge Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

The media are already sounding alarms stating that the police are all under attack. NYPD has responded by instructing officers to do their rounds in threes and that they should be extra vigilant and “not provoke the public and avoid confrontation situations” among other things.

Let’s discuss….

Firstly, being an officer of the law is no easy task. Any and all people actively associated with the task of upholding the law know and understand that their lives are immediately not going to be the same. That they are inherently at risk. That, in order to do their job, they will be putting themselves in the way of danger.

Police officers have to deal with murderers, rapists, thieves, drug dealers and all sorts of maniacs and that requires bravery and courage in more ways than the average citizen will ever understand. This is something that most of us will never understand. The courage and bravery to risk their lives in an attempt to uphold the law.

However, there is some thing else that needs to be pointed out. These are choices that they make. Conscious choices. They choose to do this. Consciously. They choose to follow this path.

They receive training. Training in nearly every aspect there is, from hand to hand combat to weapons training. They are armed and given immediate power. Power of the law. What does this mean?

This means that they need to hold themselves to a completely different standard than any normal citizen. They no longer can act in a way that is deemed okay for other people. That they are immediately role models and need to act like it.

Yes, there are decisions that they need to make, most of which aren’t easy and some of them will always be questioned. That comes along with the job title. Deal with it. Some of these decisions are split second decisions that may be the difference in saving a life or not and this is not an easy task. But, that explains why they receive so much training and are have to pass a test before they can serve. To ensure that they are ready to serve and protect.

Serve and protect. Serve and protect.

Eric Garner was choked to death; Michael Brown was unarmed and shot dead; Akai Gurley was shot in New York; Tamir Rice was shot within 2 seconds of police pulling over…. What do I know about these cases?

Nothing, apart from what I hear in the news…. and the main theme of what I hear is that these are cases of racial discrimination because all of the victims were black.

Men and women of power (police officers), who understand the risks they take by putting on their uniform and badge and going to work everyday. These men and women shot and killed a 12 year old boy within two seconds of pulling up. 2 seconds.

These men and women who are trained in hostage negotiating and advanced firearm training killed a twelve year old boy who appeared to have a hand gun. These men and women who are trained in hand to hand combat choked Eric Garner to death.

How is it that the people who are required to serve and protect are the ones responsible for these actions?

Police officers getting shot or attacked should be a deal. The fact that someone is actively going out to harm and put another human being in danger is wrong, let alone that the person they are attacking is one who is in a powerful position.

But, I have to emphasise that policemen and policewomen know the deal. They know what they are signing up to. They know that putting on that uniform will attract attention; will put them in uncomfortable situations; dangerous situations; they are aware of all the risks associated with the job and yet they  still accept it. They should be commended for it. That they are brave enough to help make their town or city a better place.

This doesn’t however make it an excuse to not be held accountable.

People getting killed in drive bys, children getting shot in play grounds, men getting choked on the street. That is not what they signed up for.

Were those men innocent? I don’t know. I’m not a judge, nor do I have the full details of the case.

Should they have been shot or did the police feel like they were a danger? I don’t know, but I assume if the police were involved, then there must have been a situation that needed handling.

Should the police have drawn their weapons and shot them?

Absolutely not, and I don’t care if the victims were white, black, Hispanic or Oriental, the police have received training for a reason and they should have attempted to diffuse the situation in a calm and responsible manner. The video evidence that exists currently shows that they didn’t act in a responsible manner. The most recent video is of Eric Garner, who was choked to death.

With all due respect, there was never a need to draw out a weapon against a twelve year old. No need for 5 men to hold down Eric Garner and choke him to death.

The coroner of Eric Garner calls it a homicide. The video shows that Eric Garner was not being a threat. The police officers involved in Eric Garners death didn’t face any disciplinary case. The media rushed to the defense of the police and against Garner. The people that the police serve need to feel that they are being protected.

Citizens never signed up for putting their lives at risk, however police officers understand the risks they take.

This is not an easy task for policemen or policewomen, but this is the life they chose. They still have to do their job whilst doing it in a way that doesn’t put the public in harms way.

Police aren’t under attack and there may or may not be a connection between the deaths of the two NYPD cops and those of innocent civilians. However, the fact still remains that the police should hold themselves accountable and if they did, then it would cut down the number of innocent lives that are wasted.

Serve and Protect.