TODAY IS MAY 15TH, NATIONAL POLICE MEMORIAL DAY. AND ALTHOUGH MANY IF NOT MOST OF US COMMONLY THINK OF POLICE EITHER AS A NUISANCE IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR OR AS A SERVICE TO BE CALLED ON IN CASE OF TROUBLE, THAT PERCEPTION INSTANTLY CHANGES ONCE SOME TERRIFYING EVENT PRODUCES A DIRE NEED FOR THEIR SERVICES.
Instantly, they become saviours, in a twinkling they are no longer a gang of flatfoot donut gobblers but the most heroic people on Earth. I have with my own eyes seen a young man who constantly referred to the cops as "pigs" and worse break down and cry on the shoulder of a police officer who had just saved him from being killed by a pack of hoodlums.
Consider what these highly trained professionals do every day. When I was in my younger years, I - like most people of that age - considered the police to be something to put up with and avoid if possible. Cops with radar guns helped temporarily end my driving priveleges more than once. Other police officers who spotted me making illegal u-turns and driving with full-time bright lights helped out.
Now, however, I realize that these cops were protecting the rest of us from me, and doing me a service into the bargain. Because I now realize what I had been doing presented one hell of a danger. I drive for a living now, and I know now what a hazard my behavior presented.
Every traffic stop a cop makes is fraught with danger. A driver who looks like Mr. John Q. Average may have just murdered his family, and be prepared to kill to escape capture. Or he may be a wanted fugitive. Or possibly be just a general cop-hater or other variety of nutball.
In most cases, however, the driver has done nothing more than commit the traffic violation the cop has observed. The police are, however, only human; and like anyone else they grow tired of being constantly lied to. Oh, the usual lame excuses and claims of ignorance are usually dealt with in pretty good humor. But running a solid red light and claiming it was green; or claiming that you were going 30 MPH at the accident scene when you have left fifty feet of black skid marks on the pavement will sorely test the officer's professional manner.
Most cops are at root just regular folks like everybody else. They love their families, they love their communities, and they love their nation. So much so that they put themselves in harm's way daily.
And not just harm from bad guys, either; but from your average garden variety moron who blows past a traffic stop at 70 MPH and clips a cop who has stopped another motorist. Or consider this:
A few years ago in Arlington, Virginia; some hucklebuck got pig-faced drunk and stripped buck naked and ran out into the middle of a major secondary road. He was six feet plus, weighed almost four hundred pounds, and stood naked in the middle of South Walter Reed Drive threatening motorists and passers-by. The Arlington cops closed off the street and tried less-lethal measures, with no effect.
Finally, the drunken jerk squatted down in the middle of the road to defecate. That's when the cops jumped him and wrestled him into handcuffs.
I'm willing to bet that not a few uniforms were "dry-cleaned" with gasoline and a match after that one.
The heroism of the police officers who ran up the stairs of the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001 is most often cited, and indeed it is remarkable that these officers did so in order to save lives knowing that it could at any moment be too late both for the trapped people and them. And as it turned out, when the towers fell, they crushed many brave police officers beneath tons of concrete.
But it is important to remember that the courage that led to those officers' eternaal sacrifice is on display every single day somwhere in this Nation. Yet, to paraphrase a well known poem:
In times of danger, and not before
God and the policeman, all people adore
Danger over and all things righted.
God is forgotten,
the policeman, slighted.
Not by me. Police officers of these United States, wherever you are, the Alexandria Daily Poop says:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!