The cool and edgy sentiment from everyone’s favourite peanut gallery: the Internet
By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer
It’s a trend that’s as old as the profession itself, but has only gained noticeable momentum in the past decade or so. It appears as though you can’t even mention “law enforcement” in a light that is anything but completely negative without some young kid—who spends far too much time reading alternative news websites and YouTube comments—jumping up your ass and verbally tearing you to pieces for implying that we don’t live in a police state where the average law enforcement officer is a power-hungry closet murderer. Aside from that being an unbelievably close-minded view, it’s important to remember some very basic human concepts.
As I write this article, I’m reminded of an officer involved in a shooting that happened early last year in Billings, Montana. The officer approached a vehicle containing four meth heads and, after calmly asking everyone to place their hands where they could be seen, noticed one of the men in the backseat reaching towards the far side of his foot. The officer pulled out his gun, repeated his lawful order once or twice in a stern way, and then shot the man multiple times, killing him.
Now here’s the part that may cause a bit of internal dissonance for the many people who disagree with me. The dash cam footage showed the officer sprawled out on the hood of his car, reduced to tears after the experience. A fellow officer of his could be seen comforting him, reminding him that he met his number one goal for the day: to make it home to his family in one piece.
The moral of the story isn’t that cops are the crème de la crème of society and are always justified in the decisions they make (though I believe, in this case, he was totally justified); it’s that these men and women are only human. Of course, they have to be held to a higher standard, and every civilian death caused by police must be investigated. But to hop on the bandwagon and scream, “Fuck the police!” every time something like this happens is, in the plainest terms possible, just being a total sheep.
“Protect and serve” is a distant second to “surviving” in terms of police priorities, as per common sense and their training. Reading past the sensationalist headlines about these incidents and the peanut gallery known as the general public will reveal that most of these situations aren’t as black and white as they are portrayed in the media.
It’s surprisingly easy to create a personal opinion on a situation where you don’t know what went down. It’s even easier when the extent of your experience up close and personal with the police consists of failing to talk your way out of a speeding ticket because your poker face sucks or you forgot your sexy low-cut top. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to think critically about what you hear from the media, and to see these people as human.