Social media killed five cops…

Many, but not most, of my Facebook friends are police officers, both here in St. Louis and from around the world.

This morning, for obvious reasons, most of their posts are melancholy and many include words to the effect of, “I have so much to say, but…”

Fuck that but.

I have much to say as well, and I’m going to go ahead and say some of it now.

Yesterday was an exhausting day for me, mentally. While I didn’t get involved in any online squabbling, I saw that many of my friends were engaged in such battles.

It was tough to read many of the posts, even from people I consider friends, about how the police are out of control in their our treatment of “people of color.”

I went to bed knowing that there was a “situation” in Dallas last night and woke up to find out that it had morphed into a massacre.

What happened in Dallas is the culmination of 48 hours or so of frustration and bickering, much of which was fueled by online banter.

When a police officer is killed, it’s a sad day for all of law enforcement.

It’s a sad day for the city where the officer worked as well.

When we see that multiple officers were killed around the country on the same day, it’s a tragedy, but we sort of shrug our shoulders, remind ourselves that it’s a risk we’ve assumed when we took this job, and vow to be extra vigilant as we continue to go about our duties.

We accept that violence is a part of this job, and that violence goes both ways.

Even so, to see five officers hunted down and killed in cold blood, and six more injured in the same incident, by multiple people even, is insanity.

We didn’t sign up for that.

Five officers lost from even a large department like Dallas is devastating. Morale in the Dallas PD was already low, and this will only push many officers who were on the fence about leaving, right out that door.

This is where the line must be drawn.

When the peacemakers are not at peace, there will be no peace for anybody.

How can there be?

When law enforcement officers are not safe, you can bet that you, wherever you are, are not safe as well.

The rules of engagement have changed.

There are no more “rules” out on the streets. Even the worst mobsters and thugs years ago had some tact and chivalry. They played by some rules.

Today, it is not uncommon to see women and children killed, sometimes purposely, and sometimes simply as collateral damage, in a war that values no life but one’s own.

I have quickly become tired to no end of seeing posts from people about what they perceive to be unjustified recent police shootings.

I’ll say this up front. Your postings and rush to judgement is partly to blame for the unrest and the bloodshed in Dallas.

It sure is.

When soccer moms and fast food workers and accountants can discern from a thirty second video that the shooting in Baton Rouge was unjustified, then what do we need a justice system for anymore?

You had a verdict in mind when you saw the video one time. Maybe you watched it twice, but you figured it out, the police officers were in the wrong.

To say that you don’t have to have ever been a police officer to recognize police brutality or “murder”, as many of you called it, is inaccurate.

It is insulting, and quite frankly, it is bullshit.

Police officers go through many months of training before they earn a badge, and even then, none of them graduates the police academy and goes straight to being a homicide detective.

Investigative skills take time to learn and to hone. Not everything, even what we see through the eye of a video recorder, is what is seems.

The “simplest” things we do in the eyes of the public are not so simple as they may seem.

To many people, writing a traffic ticket is a job we could give to any idiot or chimpanzee willing to do it. Many have no clue that the fifteen or twenty yard walk from the door of a patrol car to the window of a traffic violator are some of the scariest steps officers take, day or night.

I’ve walked that walk countless times, and it’s no less harrowing today than it was seventeen years ago. To see the driver’s eye’s following you in the rear view mirror, and then in the side mirror can be chilling.

Is it really just a traffic violation? Does the driver have warrants? Has the driver just robbed a bank or killed his family? Did I kiss my wife and kids before work today?

All thoughts police officers have on many “simple” car stops.

Only the driver knows what’s going on in his head.

There’s more to writing a “simple” ticket than stopping a car and tossing somebody a piece of paper.

Unfortunately, police officers have to be hyper-vigilant now about their safety and assume the worst from everybody.

As much that goes through the mind of a cop on a traffic stop, there is even more involved in answering radio assignments at 12:45 AM for a person alleged to have a gun. Exactly zero of the people on my feed I see voicing their opinions, many of whom have found the Baton Rouge cops guilty already, have ever answered that call, but they’re experts in police brutality.

In many of these posts, the person is bemoaning what they see as officers acting as judge, jury and executioner, while they are, ironically, doing the exact same thing to their defendant police officers.

You judged and did the work of a jury, and left the execution to somebody else.

The execution was taken care of for all of you in Dallas.

These murders, and, unlike the two videos being shared online in LA and MN, I’m comfortable calling these murders already, were committed in no small part based on your outrage and adamance that the police had wrongfully killed two black men in cities that these Dallas Officers have nothing to do with.

It doesn’t matter though. “The police” had it coming.

If you kill any cop, you’ve killed the correct one.

It didn’t have to be Dallas, it could have been Portland or New York or even me, here in St. Louis. Any officer would have made a good enough sacrifice in spite of our individual body of work.

All of the original posts I read yesterday were anti-police with respect to these shootings because those of us who recognize that there are two sides to every story, were busy waiting for more facts to surface.

People hate to hear those words. “Wait for the facts to come out,” sets them off as though we have all the proof we need in videos that catch only a portion of an overall incident.

Funny enough, President Obama said, “We don’t know all the facts,” when discussing the five police officers murdered last night. He’s right though, we do need to wait for all the facts to surface before we can know what really happened and why.

I still don’t have an opinion on either of the shootings that have set off this violence. I know that both incidents could have been handled differently, but it’s not my place to say what’s the most right way for each officer to handle a call and it’s nobody’s place to call a cop a murderer until you hear the other side.

Fuck, maybe they are murderers, but that’s not for us to decide via social media.

We’ve lost it as a society when social media opinion trumps Constitutionally guaranteed traditions.

It aggravates me that I’m off work today. While it’s great that I get to spend it with my kids, today is the sort of day that is a perfect teaching opportunity for the new recruits, many of whom I’m sure, are wondering what they’re getting themselves into.

They’ll hear outrage from both sides and have to sift through the bullshit to decide if this career is right for them after all. I wish I could be there to initiate that discussion.

Hell, it won’t be just the recruits either.

There are probably thousands of officers across the country, many at the urging of their spouse or family, considering a change of jobs as we speak.

I’ve already been texted by my wife and mom to remind me that I’m loved and that I need to wear my vest to work. They know it can happen here today, just as easily as it did last night in Dallas.

Were  I not so close to a pension, I would be having the same thoughts, and that makes me sad.

The thought that I’ve given over 40% of my existence on earth to a job that has no doubt taken some years off of my life from stress and aggravation, for nothing, is upsetting.

Social media can be a great thing. Hell, it’s given me this platform to rant and rave and share stories with people from the comfort of my bed. At the same time though, it can be overwhelming and infuriating.

People are persuaded by what they read online, even if it’s from a soccer mom or fast food worker or accountant.

When enough of you call an uninvestigated killing a murder, then it will be a murder, instantly, in the eyes of many.

They don’t care about the justice system or the investigative process one bit.

Some of those many people will have rifles.

Your words in quantity were as good as any judge’s or jury’s, and since you ruled the officers were guilty, the executions they carried out on your behalf, in their minds at least, are justified.

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42 Responses to Social media killed five cops…

  1. Gene Bockelmann says:

    Don you are 100% correct in what you said. I pray for you and all your brothers and sisters in blue every where. Be safe out there and don’t give up, we need more like you out there. God bless

  2. klawrn says:

    Don’t give up. Please. Be pissed now, it’s right. Then, turn back to your compassion, your passion to educate, your rare ability to see through the absurd and show us the human side. Most of us are so distant from your work, we’ll never really understand. So, ya, Don. Be pissed. Seek and appreciate the love of your family, the comfort of your brothers and sisters in blue. It’s YOU that will make this right. YOU are the the man to help us understand. My heart is with you today, sir.

  3. I don’t have cable or satellite, so I had no idea what had happened in Dallas until I came into work this morning. My heart is sick, and I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it.

  4. hmunro says:

    You make a lot of wise and important points here, Don. I wish all cops were as willing as you are to talk openly about what it’s like to be the *human being* behind the badge. (RESPECT TO YOU, SIR.) But the sad fact is that police departments on the whole are not quite as transparent when something tragic does happen. Part of it is that a thorough investigation takes time, of course — but whenever there’s an information void, social media fills the hole. If we are to stop this senseless slaughter we need to come up with a more immediate, more meaningful way for people and police departments to interact during those critical few hours when the videos start going viral. That may not stop the few psychopaths out there who are just looking for an excuse to shoot a cop, but it may at least reduce the number of people who join the mob because they have no other outlet for their anger.

  5. Laurie Works says:

    Don, thank you for this perspective. I am so incredibly appreciative of your honesty and words in this moment.
    I am feeling utterly ripped in half by everything in the news. I am politically VERY left, but I’ve been keeping my opinions to myself for the last few months because the polarization and divisiveness is so deeply troubling to me. It’s even more troubling to me when I have friends who are people of color, and friends who are cops. I hear both “sides” and I feel equal pain for both of them. So I keep quiet because what is there to say to that, that is not divisive and doesn’t create more pain? I ache equally for the police officers killed, the morale that is waning in the police force in general (the same is true here in Colorado Springs, and I’m deeply troubled and saddened) – and I ache for the fiancee of Philandro Castile, who watched his murder… no one should ever have to see that.
    I’m not so left that I think I’m 100% right about everything, and I’m sick of the lack of dialogue and lack of people listening to each other. I wish we’d all just sit down and hear each other’s stories and talk about our common pain.
    I have a dear friend who runs a nonprofit called Shield 616; he is supplying officers with armor to protect from assault rifles. After your comment about your vest, I have to ask and make sure you’re as protected as you can be – do you have armor that will protect you? I hope you do.

  6. Jen says:

    Very well stated, Donnie. The social media frenzies that create self-appointed police use of force experts and ad hoc constitutional lawyers are directly fueling the fires which lead to horrible tragedies like this. I’ve been saying for sometime now that along with these people’s rights, come responsibilities (yes protestors, that includes you too). Unless they’re doing something that does not involve breaking the law and they are actively de-escalating the tensions (which many are not), they are also responsible in great part for creating this lawless and hostile atmosphere where people feel emboldened to create anarchy and inflict great bodilybharm without fear of consequence. I’m totally disgusted right now and feel like we’re devolving into a civil war. God help us.

  7. Elyse says:

    Yours is a powerful, wise voice. Keep using it. And stay safe.

  8. Mandi says:

    I was hoping you would write about this. I think I’m one of of the soccer moms (more like basketball mom) you reference who got upset yesterday. I think I looked from the perspective of the mother and reacted as you say “before I knew the facts.” I am torn in two. I don’t want people shot. At all. I keep hearing this line in my head that may be cheesy or might perhaps be on point. United we stand. Divided we fall.

    I’m sick about what happened in my city last night. Sick. I’m sick because I care about you. You and all police officers. We need the police. All of us. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry, Don.

  9. byjane says:

    There’s something about blaming social media that seems wrong to me. And dangerous–in that finding the culprit to pin the blame on is the first step in moving on to the next big thing. The fact is that the voiceless now have a voice, but so many of them are saying things we disagree with. Is the answer to that to make them shut up? And how do we do that? I get the raw and justified emotion behind your post, Don, but I wish you hadn’t tripped down the lane of the blame game. These are scary times we’re living in. I count on your ability to be calm and rational. That’s the only bullet proof vest I have available to me.

    • Hear, hear.

      In 2014, I wrote a post about how social media will transform policing:

      Prior to social media enabling citizens to aggregate and share more comprehensive data than news outlets alone ever could, the police accounting of an officer-involved shooting was apt to be the only widely available accounting. This worked well for police while it lasted, but didn’t promote advancement of justice in all cases.

      This post was inspired by countless hours spent following numerous instances of police violence where police agencies seemed perplexed that their proferred narrative was being rejected … principally, repeatedly, when social media presented conflicting evidence. I saw then that this was a struggle to retain narrative-shaping power that has already been lost.

      I continue to believe transparency and community partnership are how all will win … not continuing the tired blame game, which alone neither changes past nor future. This is especially so in light of the fact the systemic issues extend far beyond police, though I continue to believe it’s important to demand special care and accountaility to those provided taxpayer funded weapons.

      In this case particularly, the lone shooter had been planning a violent act for sometime. To say it was caused by two days of social media–versus problems made evident by social media–is incorrect.

      What is the path forward? How do we make the U.S. safer for and kinder to all? It is a long road ahead, but I suspect it will be shorter by asking more, listening more (all around), and shouting less.

  10. Cori Tyler says:

    100% on point with this. Be safe, brothers and sisters. Wear your vests. Upgrade them, if you can. Might be time to invest in those plates you’ve thought about.

    Watch your six. 1*

  11. Wear your fucking vest! Every damn day. I appreciate your insight on all things related to these matters because as you said – we don’t know all of the facts. If I ever hear of anything remotely close to this in the news, I immediately wonder what you think about it. Thanks for letting me in your head. XOXO

  12. Melissa says:

    All good points excepting the fact that no matter what the facts are and what the final investigations seem to turn up, no one ever gets convicted, and rarely even charged. That is where the anger stems from. If there was a faith that the system would punish those who acted wrongly then things might be different. Not all the incidents that people get upset about are ones in which officers acted wrongly, to be sure. But you cannot honestly say that none of them were. The tiny number of LEO’s who act badly need to be held accountable, but by and large they are not. Instead a game of victim blaming and smearing ensues and there is a deafening silence from the LEO community regarding the bad actors, few as they are, in their bunch. Once people feel that the system works fairly for everyone (to the best of its ability) then I think you will see the anger so quickly and vehemently displayed come down.

    • I agree. The ranting and prejudgment on social media are a problem, but the real issue is that it seems no cop is ever held publicly accountable. Again and again, grand juries decline to let these cases go to court. Since I moved to the US, nearly 20 years ago, I’ve always had such high regard for the police here … but more and more I just don’t trust them. Sorry, Don … I willingly believe that most of you guys are committed, honorable and doing a tough job well. But some aren’t, and the more officers who *might* be found guilty in a court of law get a free pass, the harder it is to trust law enforcement officers.

      • Nick Havrilla says:

        The one thing that you forget is that POs are citizens as well and are entitled to the same Constitutional rights as every other citizen in this country. They are held to the same standards as every other person in the community. For the most part, they hold themselves to a much higher standard than most citizens hold themselves. Yes, there are dirty cops out there and they need to be removed from their job. Many are held accountable, go to trail and lose their jobs and even go to jail. However, it seems to me that everytime someone gets into a situation where there is contact with the Police and the situation does not work in their favor, somehow it’s the Officers fault or they are dirty or the manner in which it was handled is abusive or lawless. The same people who compain the most about the Police are the same ones who complain about crime in their neighboor hood, complain the Police don’t do their jobs, complain on the manner in which they handle the situation or refuse to assist the Police in the investigation of a crime. The Police are constantly in a no win situation where no matter what they do, they are in the wrong. For the most part, charges of police misconduct are false, lack creditible evidence and are filed because of their own failure to follow the laws or ignorance of how the justice system works. No wonder Grand Jurys fail to recommend inditement. When an incident occurs, there needs to be a thorough investigation of what occured that needs to be completed by a third party who understands the rule of law and has all of the necessary facts. There are far too many Monday morning quarterback/keyboard warriors who obtain their understanding of law from Hollywood tv shows, who take one piece of information, a whole lot of inferences, enuendos and just plain ignorance and pass judgement on the officers because they say so. Those people are no better than the “dirty” cops they complain about.

      • Nick, as I understand it – and I am open to correction – the role of the grand jury is to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to warrant sending a case to court. In other words, Fred Jones accuses his neighbor Mike Smith of stealing his apples, unless there is actual evidence either that Mike was in Fred’s apple tree without permission (eg a photograph), or that apples from Fred’s tree are in Mike’s kitchen, there is no case. It is NOT the grand jury’s job to determine guilt or innocence, or to decide whether the evidence is credible – it just has to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence for trial.

        We’ve had a bunch of cases over the past year where we had witnesses, we had video, we had a dead body, we had an officer (or officers) whose guns inarguably fired the bullets inside the body … and the grand jury has declined to indict. No prosecutor has had an opportunity to bring evidence against the cop, no attorney has presented evidence in his defense, and no jury of his peers has been invited to determine whether or not the evidence shows that the officer/s acted reasonably. I believe these grand juries are interfering with the legal process.

        If Fred Jones were to shoot Mike Smith, there would be no question about it – he would be hauled into court, even without video or witnesses. So please, don’t tell me the police are subject to the same rules – they are not. I agree with you that many accusations of police misconduct may well be false – but when there’s a dead civilian and a shit load of evidence, let’s let the court decide.

  13. Don, all I can say is (1) Thank you for your service, and (2) You and your fellow officers ARE appreciated and respected by my family.

  14. Kristine Kersting says:

    Amen. This was perfectly said. And you being a law enforcement officer, have the authority to speak these words above everyone else. I will post this, I will promote this on my own website tomorrow morning. I was just telling my husband last night how so much of what is happening would never be if it weren’t for social media. It’s a tool that can be used for good or evil, just as any tool, and I will do my best to wield it for good as long as I am able. However small that part may be.
    I honestly can think of nothing more to say to you and your brave brothers & sisters in blue, than I am thinking of you, praying for you, and continuing to hold a special place in my heart for you all. As you stand in front of us everyday keeping at bay a society that would fall to chaos without you, know that we are a ‘legion’ who stand behind you. With a willing gratefulness and full hearts, in faithful support of our TRUE heroes who walk that ‘thin blue line’ for us all.

  15. Pam Sievers says:

    Don, outstanding message. Thank you, and thank you for your service. The role of social media today is disturbing.

  16. Cookie says:

    Thinking of you, Don, Stay safe, my friend.

  17. LindaGHill says:

    I feel scared because of what’s going on down there. Giving people a voice is certainly a double-edged sword; there are far more illogical people out there than not.
    Stay safe, Don.

  18. larva225 says:

    I’m in Baton Rouge. My son’s play school is on the same street as the shooting – separated by about a mile. We’ve been lucky so far in that things have stayed peaceful.
    I’ve had to largely stay off of social media for the very reasons you’ve cited. Here locally, it’s deafening.
    Thank you for your service and honesty. It should be required reading for any asshat who wants to post their “expert opinions” on Facebook.

  19. AnnMarie says:

    You’re not alone. I’ve been having the same argument with friends all day long. They jump to the conclusion that cops murdered Alton Sterling and claim that cops aren’t trained to shoot except as a last resort. They are ignorant of actual police training and their ignorance is making everything worse. “Conventional wisdom” about police shootings is that you only fire if fired at. And conventional wisdom is the enemy of reality.

    • AnnMarie says:

      And then they call me a person who “makes excuses for murderers” and tell me to stop making excuses. They say those Baton Rouge cops could have cuffed him but shooting him dead was “easier.” I say they go to the police academy and see how easy it is. I say go become a police chief and tell your officers never to shoot unless being shot at and see how easy it is!

  20. Well spoken.

    I am a 21+ year Police dispatcher for a large suburbian community in the Twin Cities MN – and have been taking phone calls with people screaming death threats at me. Our department was not involved in the events that took place a few days back – yet there have been phone calls coming in from people claiming to be from all areas of our nation (callers have specifically mentioned California, Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina to me) harassing, threatening, and generally interfering with the operation of our 911 center getting help to those who are truly in need… We live in sad scary times. Thank you for your service sir!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am happy to join with you today in support of our nation’s fiercest, most under-appreciated, and courageous protectors.
    385 years ago, in the Boston colony, the townspeople formed the first “watch”, including a constable and several watchmen. These men were responsible for maintaining order in the streets, sounding the alarm for fires, arresting criminals, and bringing suspects and witnesses to court for various crimes. These early crimes included cursing in public and failing to pen animals properly. These brave watchmen defended our streets from the beginning of our nations founding. The first known American peace officer killed in the line of duty was shot in October of 1791.
    Hundreds of years later, the American tradition of the law enforcement officer is in turmoil. Hundreds of years later, the life of the Officer is still at risk on an hourly basis, both on and off of the job. Hundreds of years later, the Police Officer has been crippled by prejudice, underfunding, under-appreciation, and a society who builds barriers to the protection of fellow good citizens. Hundreds of years later, the Officer lives on a lonely island of heightened awareness of the dangers of this nation in a vast ocean of carelessness and naivety. The Officer finds himself at risk for exile or violent termination in the land he has protected for almost 400 hundred years. And so we’ve come here today to shed light on a shameful condition.
    We refuse to believe that society can’t repair its relationship with law enforcement. We refuse to believe that society would be better off without their watchfulness. We refuse to believe that we should push our officers to break their oaths of office.
    It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. Contributing to decreasing the numbers of our “boys in blue” and restricting their ability to do their job would cause this nation to tremble in fear and grief. And those who hope that the Officer will simply fade away into history will have a rude awakening if the nation continues to decay in its support of law enforcement. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Officer is held in as high of honor as our military personnel, teachers, medical professionals, and million dollar athletes. They are the soldiers on the home front that make it safe to live and work in this nation.
    If one is truly dissatisfied with the presence of police officers, I offer a simple solution- do not behave in such a manner that requires them to be present in your life. Do not drive recklessly putting your life and the life of others at risk. Do not call the police if your car or home has been broken into. Do not expect the police to arrest the person who raped you. Do not call the police when your child goes missing. Do not allow your vicious dog to roam freely. Do not expect police to uphold laws like public indecency when you walk your child through a park past a couple having intercourse. Do not expect police to get illegal drugs off the streets that cause deterioration of the mental and physical health of society. Do not get so intoxicated that you cannot maintain your morality. Do not decide to pass someone on the highway in a no passing zone and then cause a fatal traffic accident.
    The dissatisfaction of the Officer should not relate to racial distrust, differences in economic status, or in the laws they are required to uphold. If we continue on this path, the dissatisfaction of the Officer will be when a person calls 911 for aid, and no one comes to help. The dissatisfaction of the Officer will be when they treat every person they encounter as a threat, because every person is a threat. And these men and women of law enforcement are not just a “job”. They are fellow citizens who are choosing to put themselves and their families at risk to protect each and everyone one of you. They are beloved sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers. We should appreciate them every day because tomorrow, they could all choose another career path.
    And though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up in support of law enforcement officers, and thank them for their service as they do for military personnel.
    I have a dream that one day on the mean city streets, there are so many officers in uniform that robbers and drug dealers live in such great fear, that they renounce their evil deeds.
    I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not have to hope their father comes home before bedtime because he had to work overtime arresting a felon.
    I have a dream where on Christmas Day, my loved one can be recognized for sacrificing family time to keep watch over our city. As only public servants like EMS, fire, military, and law enforcement choose to do.
    I have a dream today!
    I have a dream that one day, Officers will be well compensated for their personal risk and their sacrifices.
    I have a dream where law enforcement personnel are given functional equipment and adequate staff to do their jobs well.
    I have a dream today!
    I have a dream that one-day society will mend its wicked and ignorant ways. For the Officer is not the “problem”. With the support of society, the Officer can be the solution.
    This is our hope, and this is the faith that I have in this message.
    And if America is to be a great nation, let the ranks of the Badge swell with encouragement from its citizens.
    Let the Badge be appreciated with every encounter.
    Let the Badge stamp out the corruption of the people of our nation.
    Let the Badge be respected for the courage it shows on a daily basis.
    Let the Badge see fewer acts of violence at home than our military personnel overseas.
    And most importantly, let the Badge guide us in our path back to honor.
    While it’s true that not every officer can act perfectly in stressful situations, and not every officer is free of racism, corruption, and other prejudices; it is also true that to judge the collective force based on the actions of a few is just as unforgivable as the claim that all officers stereotype and judge all civilians based on their appearance. It is also true that the majority of mankind do not possess the qualities demanded of an officer of the law. An officer must have patience as men spit and curse upon them. An officer must have courage to enter burning buildings, dark alleyways in pursuit of criminals, and most importantly any door in which a weapon lies on the other side. An officer must be able to comfort victims of car accidents and rapes and then within 30 minutes tackle a combative subject threatening the lives of others. An officer must be able to take the life of an armed gunman on your child’s school campus. An officer must be able to return home, exhausted after a 16 hour shift in which they had 5 hours of sleep the night or day before, to their smiling child and embrace them. Police officers are the soldiers at home. Their mere presence protects us from the wolves of society, and very few people can do their job. But if America decides to go back to the days of chaos, lack of honest justice, and the ability of the vilest criminals to do as they please, let us ask our law enforcement officers to take a well-deserved vacation. Make it known that heinous acts will go unmanaged, but ask yourself…are you ready to protect yourself? Can you also protect every person you care about, such as your children or elderly parents? At all times and from any threat?

  22. Paul says:

    Oh Don, I am so, so sorry that your colleagues were killed. I have often worried that with the weapons generally available, an ambush and massacre could easily be planned and executed by someone with even a modicum of planning. That it was of police officers is horrendous. That said, from my perspective (as a Canadian) it seemed inevitable – with the hatred being espoused of the police and the poor or lack of control of powerful weapons that were designed for offensive use only. As someone outside looking in, it seems obvious to me that Americans are distrustful of authority and need to question some currently held beliefs – like free speech cannot apply to the proliferation of hatred by any means or on any platform and the second amendment was clear in that gun ownership, while a right, was to be well “regulated”, obviously no longer the case.

    I grieve for the fallen Don and I pray for the officers and that politicians address the issues that lead to this horrific incident. Oh yeah, and please hang the shooter – that’s the least he deserves.

  23. Jay E. says:

    Thank you for writing this. My best friend (apart from my wife) is LEO, and I worry about him every single day – him and his family. He’s a white police officer with two adopted non-white special needs kids at home plus one biological daughter. I’m probably saying it wrong – they’re all his kids, his family, and I worry that today will be the day he won’t come home. It wasn’t so long ago my other friend Alan never made it home to his expectant wife in Greenville, SC. I see one side claiming that POs are out to assassinate minorities – essentially declaring war on them – and then saying “Who? US?” when someone acts on those ideas. They tell me it’s impossible to understand because of my “white privilege” and “inherent racism” even while claiming its impossible for them to be racists. I’ve had enough. Sorry for the rant.

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  25. Would you feel safer if the public were not allowed to carry guns? Your work in the US as police officers sounds really scary if you have to worry on a daily basis if someone you stop just for a traffic offence might have a gun. And might fire it.
    Never lose sight of the fact that people killed officers. Not the media. In the same way terrorists kill. Not religion.
    People who kill are solely responsible for their actions.
    Consider this: There are umpteen narratives any one of us could listen to, read or participate in. But the decision to take unlawful action and take a life is down to an individual.

  26. Keep up the good work Don and keep speaking out, we need a bit more of the healthy perspective spread on social media to offset the extreme reactions on both sides. Stay safe.

  27. julie says:

    God don! I’m with your wife and your mom! Please wear your vest and stay safe! Please don’t believe for one second what you have done for 40% of your life is for nothing! I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart, and have nothing but great respect and admiration for you! Not only do you take on an questionably thankless job, but you are so smart and your posts are so great! You are an amazing man, and I am so happy to pretend we are friends! I believe my daughter has signed up on your blog, (she is dating a relatively new officer) and I have encouraged her to tell him about you, to get him reading and interacting with you as well. I think you could be a great benefit to him. It sickens me to think about the things that have transpired recently. Wtf is wrong with us?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Wow man. I’m a firefighter and I just couldn’t imagine being an officer these days.

    I know the hardships of running in the same people day in and day out. I could only imagine how much harder it would be, if these individuals were routinely a threat to me.

    • Nick Havrilla says:

      Be vigilant my brother. Some knuckleheads have already said that firefighters and EMS are to be included in this insanity as well because we support our brothers in blue. Keep your head on a swivel and be safe.

  29. Ben Fergu says:

    I’ll be honest as well; I know that this post contains false accusations. You should not, at any time but especially at this time, be blaming the murders in Dallas on anything other than the murderer.

    • Nick Havrilla says:

      By all means, please expand on you assertion there are false accusations in his post. Yes, one person is responsible for what happened in Dallas, but the statements made by the shooter where rather clear.

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  32. redheadmom8 says:

    Let me just say that my family and I stand behind courageous people like you and will not back down from defending you every step of the way. God bless you, your colleagues, and your families.

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