In 90 minutes at Uvalde, more damage was done to the reputation of American law enforcement than was done in an entire summer of BLM protests.
In the cowardice and incompetence of some small-time cops, the nation’s confidence in its protectors was shaken and an issue was raised that now confronts every America police officer – Who are you?
Are you a sheep dog, or just a sheep?
Do you keep your oath, or do you not?
Do you fight, or do you run?
Are you a cop, or are you a poser?
Every agency and every officer will need to answer those questions. And the public will need to discern and hear those answers.
Because right now, things are a mess. While the instinct of every man and woman would have been to storm that school, at whatever cost, the demonstrated response of those Texas cops was to hang back and wait. To argue with and handcuff anxious parents who called for action, to ignore the repeated and frantic 911 calls of little children being hunted by a killer.
Some four-star fool drunk on his own authority, and a platoon of beta males with badges, having some sort of circle jerk while a couple dozen little kids and their sainted teachers are bleeding out. It was something even lower than cowardice. It was the rare human response which doesn’t even care about the pleadings of a child, which doesn’t tap into the instinctual rage of defense of the young, which places ass covering above life saving.
No, Officer Fife, actually, your highest priority isn’t going home at the end of your shift, your highest priority is doing your duty. You swore an oath, for some reason nobler than a pension after 20. You promised. You put on a badge and a uniform. You joined the thin blue line. You told people they could count on you.
You are in the fight between good and evil, and if you can’t be all in on that, then maybe you should consider a career in retail or welding. If you’re going to be an American law enforcement officer, be one. If you’re not, then don’t.
But understand that peace and freedom come at the price of blood, and some day it might be your blood. And if you can’t accept that, then this isn’t the line of work for you. If you consider your life more precious than the life of someone who needs your help, again, this isn’t the line of work for you.
And if the cry of a child doesn’t inspire in you the heart of a lion, nothing will.
And you are a freak.
Because if it had been a crowd of BLM protesters outside that school that day, half of them would have stormed the building and killed the gunman with their bare hands. If it had been any group of anybody randomly picked from across the society, that is what would have happened. That’s how people are. That’s what nature tells us to do. We defend our own, even if they are strangers and the children of strangers.
That’s what beats in the hearts of the American people.
Have you never heard the words, “Let’s roll?”
That’s where American law enforcement is – tarred by the demonstrated weakness of 90 minutes of uselessness. Children died because the cops didn’t stop their killer; children died because the cops delayed their access to medical care.
We don’t believe the cop-hating protesters, but we can’t ignore the failure in Texas.
And now the good cops will have to build back the trust the bad cops have shaken. The daily courage of America’s officers will slowly have to reclaim its hold on the nation’s perception.
The cops who race through backyards, chasing suspects they know are armed. The cops who jump into swollen creeks to rescue people submerged in a car. The cops crawling through smoke or pulling a victim from flames. The cops who run toward the sound of the gunfire, instead of cowering behind cars.
Because we know those are the officers who predominate, those are the deeds that define.
Every day on every shift all across this nation, the men and women of law enforcement live and breathe courage and selflessness. We know that. We believe in that. We must believe in that.
Or we have nothing.
Like the little kids of America, the ones who watch the news with their parents, the ones who wonder if, if they get in a bad situation, the police will come to help them, or if the police will hide in the hallway.
You’re a cop, you don’t wait for the janitor to come with a key.
You’re a cop, you don’t let some fat ass keep you from your duty.
You’re a cop, and if your life buys 15 seconds for some kids to escape, or for your buddy to get off a shot, then you lay down your life.
Because “Protect and Serve” is neither free nor easy.
And if you can’t keep the promise, don’t make the promise.