Helping Fallen Officers

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Another video has been released of the shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer, this time during a traffic stop in New Jersey, a shooting that has resulted in outraged “activists” demanding an investigation.

Frankly, doing an investigation after a police shooting isn’t a bad thing. It helps keep everybody honest. But what drives me absolutely nuts are the smug, self-righteous pundits who pontificate from the warmth and safety of their studios as if they had a damned clue what they were talking about. I learned about the video of the shooting (which apparently occurred about a month ago) last night while watching CNN, where they showed it over and over again as they tried to dissect what was going on. And that should tell you much about the reality of the situation right there: watching the police dash-cam video repeatedly, in the safety and calm of a television studio, no one could say for certain what had happened. Now try to imagine how you might react if you were one of the participants, with your blood pressure in quadruple digits, your heart red-lining, and adrenaline squirting out of your ears. How perfect is your judgment going to be? How perfect are your reactions going to be?

But it was a lady named Sunny Hostin who really got to me. In the interests of full disclosure, I have no idea who Sunny Hostin is or what her background is. Nor, at this point do I care. What I do know is that she is self-righteous and judgmental, sanctimoniously sitting there and condemning the police officer (who in this case was also a black man) for use of excessive force and—and this is what caused me to lose it—his use of “inappropriate” language.

I kid you not.

Imagine you are walking along the edge of the Grand Canyon and your foot slips. Sunny Hostin would demand that you maintain a decorous silence or softly mumble eloquent platitudes as you fall to your death.

Just so you know, the man the police shot was a convicted felon with a lengthy record of multiple arrests who had served two substantial (not long enough) terms, once for narcotics trafficking, and once for shooting at police officers. This record was known to the black officer who shot him because that officer had already previously arrested the decedent. A handgun was seen in the car by the black officer and retrieved by him with extraordinary courage.

It was at this point that the black police officer began to use highly colorful language, notably the F-bomb as a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb, which apparently offended Ms. Hostin. What did she want? “I say, old chap, that chrome-finished semi-automatic pistol you’re waving around is making me a trifle uneasy. Would you mind very much placing it on the ground with all possible dispatch?”

The officer then repeatedly told the decedent not to get out of the car, an order that was ignored by the decedent. (It appears from the video that the decedent pushed his way out of the car with considerable force, but I put that observation in parenthesis because it’s not an unqualified fact that I could tell for sure.) When the decedent got out of the car, he was moving quickly, and his hands were up by his chest. Whether that should be interpreted as a gesture of surrender or as preparation for an attack has yet to be determined, but it was at that point the black officer fired several shots, and the white officer on the other side of the car fired at least one.

Let’s review the bidding: a convicted felon; a convicted felon known to have attempted to murder law enforcement officers before; a convicted felon known to have attempted to murder law enforcement officers before who had a handgun in his possession; a convicted felon known to have attempted to murder law enforcement officers before, with a handgun in his possession, who ignored an officer’s clear and repeated commands not to get out of the car and who did so possibly with force and certainly with speed.

Why of course that officer had no conceivable reason to believe his life might be in danger. What could have possibly given him that silly idea?

I don’t know why there is this wave of anti-police sentiment in so many corners across the country these days. God knows law enforcement officers are no better or worse than you or I, but they sure as hell are a lot more courageous, and they risk their lives for us on a daily basis, and are rewarded for their efforts by the Sunny Hostins of the world judging and condemning them after the fact from the comfort and security of a television studio. And unfortunately many a moron across the country will listen to the morons pontificating and take their judgment as gospel.

I have been doing some research on how you can support your local police, and there are, apparently, three options.

A law enforcement officer on the East coast sent me an email recommending an organization called Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S. whose mission statement is: [to provide] “resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty as determined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB), National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) or Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) criteria. Furthermore, C.O.P.S. provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors.”

There is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund ( which is, as I understand it, primarily an organization dedicated to paying tribute to fallen officers and preserving their memories. Their mission statement reads: “As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to carry out our work of honoring and remembering the heroes of American law enforcement. The Memorial Fund does not receive any taxpayer money to fund our day-to-day operations.”

And finally, and most importantly, my local sheriff’s department, who have been very kind and patient and helpful, recommended contributing locally whenever—God forbid—an officer in your area is killed or injured. In the event of such a tragedy in your neck of the woods, you can walk into the local sheriff’s office or police station with your checkbook in hand and write a check to help the family of the fallen officer. It will get to them, and it will be remembered.

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