When was the last time you thanked a cop? And wouldn't it be nice if, for just a brief moment, the mainstream media would hold a ceasefire in its incessant cop-bashing crusades?
There are good cops, and there are bad cops. But national press outlets, predisposed to harp on law enforcement as an inherently racist and reckless institution, hype the hellions at the expense of the heroes. Case in point: the hysterical feeding frenzy this week over reports of a cop shootout gone awry in Compton, Calif., and of a Seattle officer who reportedly Tasered a pregnant woman over a speeding ticket.
As Jan Golab writes in a cover story for The American Enterprise magazine this month on how political correctness undermines policing: "Today, cops all across the United States battle a foe as destructive as crime itself: the presumption of common prejudice ? This view has been fanned by a media elite which has made 'diversity' its virtual religion." The anti-cop bias, Golab notes, comes through the national mainstream media's "sins of omission -- the stories never told. Propaganda, as Orwell said, is in what gets left out."
Thus, we'll be subjected to wall-to-wall coverage of the Tasered pregnant lady and the shot-out SUV. But you won't see Peter Jennings reporting on the tragic loss of Denver Detective Donald R. Young. The married father of two and a recipient of the police medal of honor was shot three times from behind last weekend in a cold-blooded ambush. Police believe the tattooed young assailant, a suspected illegal alien, has fled to Mexico. Det. Young had received numerous awards during his 12 years on the Denver police force. He was awarded the police department's medal of honor and a distinguished service cross.
And you won't see Larry King talking about the murder of undercover vice Sgt. Gerald Vick in St. Paul, Minn., at the hands of a reputed gang member of the Vice Lords. Sgt. Vick was a Medal of Valor winner who had rescued two children in a raging house fire in 1990. The local St. Paul Pioneer Press recounted his heroism:
In 1990, Vick pulled [Rachel] Patterson's 3-year-old son clear of a fatal house fire on Sherburne Avenue in St. Paul. Then he broke through a window, crawled beneath the smoke and took her unconscious 15-month-old daughter out. He went back in to rescue her husband and 5-year-old son, but it was too late.
For his efforts, Vick won the department's highest honor: the Medal of Valor.
"Officer Vick saved my life," said Patterson's daughter, Kacheala Willis, now 15 and in the 10th grade at a high school in Houston. "I hope he makes it into heaven." Sgt. Vick leaves behind a wife and two children.
Det. Young and Sgt. Vick may not be on the media's radar screen, but they will undoubtedly be on the minds of those gathering in Washington, D.C., this week to commemorate National Police Week. The event kicks off on Friday with a much-needed reminder of the grossly underappreciated sacrifices American men and women in blue have made to protect us. At the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the names of 415 fallen officers will be read and added to the memorial.
The sponsors of the memorial reminds us that since the first recorded police death in 1792, there have been more than 16,500 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. There were 153 law enforcement officers killed in 2004. New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with more than 580 deaths. California has lost over 1,350 officers, more than any other state.
Daniel Felten, a former cop, soldier, and blogger, reflected on the strength of character required to do the job the rest of us too often take for granted:
"Some people reach a point where they can't face another dead body, another senseless murder, another grieving family member. Or another dead police officer. Then there are some who can do the job every day, for 20 or 30 years. I thank God for people like that." Me, too. Thank you, officers. From the bottom of the heart: Thank you.