Next time you think, ‘I don’t like cops’ +audio

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The other day, someone whom I adore made mention to someone else how, ‘they didn’t like cops’, because they get to do things the rest of us are not privileged to do only because they’re the law.

This common paradox within our society today intrigued me to the point of wanting to talk about it in a few insignificant and meaningless words.

You know, I think I have said the same thing only because one or two cops, in my entire life, have caused me grief whether it was a ticket, ( I obviously did not deserve ), or some smart ass reply directed my way when I interfered with their presumably mundane day.  Shame on me for being so presumptuous.

Pretty petty now as I see it.  Pretty petty of me.

After the Boston bombing and seeing the mountains of videos and photos of who was running toward their possible death and those running away, one photo in particular showing an officer, defensively positioned over a fallen elderly man, who was obviously in distress, and shielding him in a firm protective stance.  This photo made me now become something of a different man.  I asked myself, ‘Which way would I run?’

Boston

We all want to say, ‘Of course, the heroic way.’  But would we?

What if it meant your 10-year-old growing up without a Dad or Mom.  What if it meant never to be able to say I love you to your wife, sister, brother, son, daughter, cousin, mom, dad, or even your dog?  What if you had to decide all of this in a sliver of a moment?

Would you run toward the fear, the impending doom or decide easily to run away to protect only yourself?  I’m not exactly sure anymore and if I was forced to say which way, I think and hope I would run toward the fear, not just because saying I would is the right thing to say.

Although there was not any fear involved, I have in my life, run to car accidents, I’ve run to dying men who have had heart attacks on the dance floor of their daughter’s weddings, I’ve run to an old man who was dying from being kicked by a horse, I’ve run to co-workers who were injured in the middle of the night but now at my age I ask myself, ‘Would I run away, run far away from the possible mortality if I had to decide?’

You see, I have a family, I have many friends, I have a wonderful grand baby and a very special daughter, daughter-in-law and son, I have the best wife any man could ever dream of in life.  So I ask, would they really miss me?  Would they after time had passed after I have passed, miss me?

I truly think they would and most importantly need to ask myself; do I want to put them through the horrific depression that is the sum for someone else who is left behind?  Answering that question is not as hard as what a cop, a fireman, a utility lineman or all the first responders who act for us, do everyday.  Answering the call is nothing more than being significant, being selfless and having an inner core human desire of wanting and needing to help.

Did you know, cops do it everyday?

Here’s a matter of fact.  Did you know in December of 2012, remember this is near the Christmas holidays, a cop without a second thought in Boston again, threw himself over a railing and fell into the freezing waters of Boston Harbor to rescue a woman who had fallen into the channel by accident.  Accident or not, who really cares, he knew she needed help now?

“I heard everybody screaming,  She’s in the water, she’s in the water,” said Keith Young, a UPS delivery driver who witnessed the dramatic rescue,  “Then I saw the cop pull up.  He jumped out, he ripped his jacket off, ran down the stairs, ripped off his duty belt and jumped into the water and went right to her.  I’ll tell you what. The cop was a hero today. He didn’t think twice about it.”

Do you know what Officer Ed Norton said?

“My buddies are who helped.”  He was speaking of his fellow cops and fire guys who weren’t even there yet when he jumped.  The video shows us he had made the decision and was running toward the fear.

Are you jumping into the freezing, breath-stealing water or are you standing on the warm bank of the sideline and just watch?

Do you still not like cops?

Did you know that only breaths before he was fatally wounded in an unprovoked attack, a San Diego police officer performed one last act of kindness as he bought a child some needed food while buying his own dinner of fast food to get him through his night shift.

Officer Jeremy Henwood, 36, stopped at a McDonald’s around 5 o’clock on his day of significance on August 6th.  Store surveillance video showed Henwood speaking with a small boy and buying his food shortly before leaving the store at 5:30.

Shortly after that, Henwood, I should call him by his first name, Jeremy, as that is who he was, was shot to death, point-blank with viciousness while sitting inside his patrol car at the corner of University Avenue and 45th Street.  Jeremy had only made it six blocks from the McDonalds after enjoying a Big Mac or something from the fast food joint; it would be the last place he was seen alive, breathing, talking and being what we all want to be at least once in our life, significant.

Witnesses said an evil and cowardly man pulled up on his side of his cop car and shot him with a shotgun.  Massive wounds from such a violent attack ended any chances for him to have a future with those who he loved.

Young Jeremy passed away at Scripps Mercy Hospital at exactly 1:42 a.m. on Aug. 7, because he was a cop.  What were you doing at that exact moment in your life?  I was probably not paying attention to anything and tucked in securely in my bed.

That’s it!  I like cops.

Did you really know that the police officer who was wounded while chasing the Boston Marathon bombing suspects lost all of his own blood and, for 45 minutes, his own heartbeat, after being shot in the thigh.  Hey what the hell you might say because Doctors believe he will make a full recovery.  So what’s the big deal?

I’ll tell you what the big deal is.  This Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Officer, named Richard Donohue Jr., 33, drove or ran toward the bombers and suffered a severed femoral vein during an exchange of fire with them.  He has a six-month old boy.  His boy doesn’t even know him yet.  That’s a big deal!

Dic Donohue, was wounded early that Friday morning, when he raced to help MIT and Cambridge police as they chased the Boston Marathon bombing suspects to the corner of Dexter and Laurel streets in Watertown.  No one knew whether Donohue knew then that his friend and MBTA academy classmate, Sean Collier, an MIT police officer, had been killed earlier, allegedly by the suspects he was now chasing.

A shoot-out ensued, during which a bullet ripped through Dic’s right thigh, hitting both branches of the femoral artery and the femoral vein. The gunshot drained his and his family’s life out of them, one cup at a time.

So easy it would have been for him to ease off the pedal and lose the crazy Chechen terrorists and then go home.  Would I have slowed down?  I hope not.

A 2010 police academy graduation photo showing Sean Collier with his arm around Richard Donohue Jr. depicts a hopeful friendship.

boston-marathon-explosions

How would they have known that the friendship would someday and forever be linked by a horrible tragedy.  Sean was sitting by himself when he died.  He might have been typing something on the laptop, or just texting family that he loved them.  Boston police say the Tsarnaev brothers ambushed him while he responded to a disturbance on the MIT campus late Thursday, three days after the deadly carnage at the Boston Marathon.  He was hit five or six times. His gun was still in the holster but earlier when it mattered, he went toward the danger.

Look closely at Sean’s eyes in this photo.  What do you see?  I see intense and overwhelming pride.  I’d want him to run my way if I needed him.  I’ll bet my entire life savings that he liked cops and he was only 26 years old.  C’mon!

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So now when you sit at home, in the warmth of your family life, with your loved ones around, or even by yourself, with your nice, secure and safe job or even an un-nice, insecure and unsafe job, as some of us have, think about this next time you’re here to kiss your children, your wife, your husband, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your friend, or your mom and dad and be able to just reach down and pet your dog because today, you know you don’t have to decide, in a moment of life or death, which way to run?

Then as you’re lounging comfortably on your easy chair, close your tired eyes and think about this.  Think about buying someone a Big Mac just for the fun of buying a tasty and filling Big Mac, for anyone who might be hungry, just like Officer Jeremy did.  And if this also comes to mind, ‘I don’t like cops.’

Then think again.

The End

“The best part of life starts at the top of the stretch.”
The WiseGuy

Click here to read more stories of The WiseGuy

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41 thoughts on “Next time you think, ‘I don’t like cops’ +audio”

  1. I am proudly married to a man that runs toward the fear, feeds the hungry, and protects those in need. I love this post. Thank you for writing it, for saying what my heart says daily.

  2. Some people call police sheep dogs who guard their flock. That is good, I tell the rookies that I train on nights in Americas 9th largest city, that we are not sheep dogs. My thinking is a sheepdog guards the flock and attacks only when the wolves come. We are not sheepdogs, we are wolf hunters, we take the fight to the wolves on their turf and most of the time on a battlefield of their choosing. Where the wolf can lose fights every night, the wolf hunter will lose only one.

  3. Thank you for your kind words for the sheepdog warriors. I wish others could read and understand that the majority of police officers in this country go to work everyday because it is something they love to do. It is the knowledge that their actions have the potential to effect this world we live in. As in any profession, there are some bad apples that slip through the cracks. The reality is that society needs the police to stand the line and deal with the wolves in this world they just don’t want to see how it’s done. Rest easy tonight my friend. We have the watch.

  4. Interesting enough my fiancé (getting married November 1st) were laying in bed watching TV the other night. One of my favorite shows Rescue Me was on and it was an earlier episode before Tommy Gavin’s nephew became a fireman and was expressing his want to be a fireman. His mother told him in short ‘your father and grandfather were both firemen and now they are dead so don’t even think about becoming one’. I am a cop, my father was a fireman and my brother is a fireman; I looked at my fiancé right after watching that scene and asked her, what if I was killed in the line of duty and our children said they wanted to become a police officer?

    She looked at me puzzled and said she wasn’t sure but if that’s what they wanted she would support them just how she supports me. Then I asked myself the same question after she fell asleep. My answer? My answer was yes! Once you get past all the bravado and macho BS it is the best job in the world. 99 out of 100 times you may not make a difference but its that 1 time that makes it so great.

    Thank you for this article.

    1. I’m so energized by this comment. It’s like taking a thousand pictures knowing you may get one shot that makes all of it worth it. It’s about significance. It’s about that ‘1 time’. It’s about buying a burger or a cookie for someone who just happens to need it just like Officer Jeremy and other great First Responders have. Brian and his fiancé get it! Thanks Brian for making my day so much better. The WiseGuy

  5. Police officers guard the walls at night so we are afforded the luxury of sleeping soundly behind them. They strategize and plan safeguards for hours so we can attend massive venues with hundreds of thousands of people, and all return safely to our families. They risk losing their own lives or not returning safely to their own families every single day while we go about our lives. They deserve our respect or at the VERY least our appreciation.

  6. Jim Daloonkis, my husband, leaves me and our unborn child at night, knowing he may not come home, to protect people who do not understand or appreciate that he is not only doing his job, but what he was called to do, even if you spit in his face. If you dislike cops so much, next time you need help, call a crackhead or even your best friend and see if they are willing to lay down their life for you, my husband would.

  7. There is nothing heroic about putting on a badge. That act in of itself is meaningless. Coupled with the attitude that your “first duty is to get home safe”, doesn’t make you a hero. That isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with that attitude, it just isn’t heroic.

    Heroic is taking an oath that hands over a blank check that reads “payable up to and including my life in the line of duty”. Members of the military know that the mission always comes first, even when it means you don’t get to come home safe.

    Some civilians adopt that same attitude and for them, I bestow the title of hero. Men and women who ran into the World Trade Center along with the firemen and medics, those who ran towards danger during the Boston Marathon bombing. All are heroes to me.

    But not all police officers carry that commitment. Some see their jobs as little more than keeping the citizenry “in line”. And on occasion, they execute their duty with disregard of the rights and protections that are afforded to all human beings in this great nation. And too often, their brothers and sisters in uniform fall in line and excuse that behavior by taking a blind eye.

    Heroism is about doing what is right, or what is noble, even when the consequences are dire to yourself. Sure, running into burning buildings, or towards danger are examples of that. But it also includes taking a stand against corruption and abuse, and saying that just because an individual wears the same uniform that I do, I simply will not tolerate this person violating the rights and protections that heroes before me fought and died to preserve.

    Thank you for reading this.

    1. Don’t recall the article title mentioning anything about Hero’s. Your “opinion” about what a hero is doesn’t really matter. This is more about being a human being and recognizing that saying “I hate cops” means you dishonor the above mentioned ones. True not all Leo’s are hero bound, but it seems that is the only ones we hear about. Every profession has that percentage of slugs, but how many of those professions are killed/die doing the job. Putting on a badge and uniform may not be heroic, but by simply doing it they know that they are now a target. A target for those who want to do harm or a target to those who want to pass judgement on you without even knowing anything about you. So yes not all cops/firemen ran into the World Trade Center. I don’t recall hearing of other “professions” doing the same.

    2. Seriously, I love how people downgrade and dismiss the police with they are not heroes because…well….The military is better. Seriously I took an oath twice, once for the Army and once for Sheriff’s Office. Both involved writing a blank check. You know nothing of the honor in law enforcement and if you choose to judge the whole by singular incidents then the same can be said looking a Abul Grad (not looking it up), wounded knee or Mai Lang Massacre and judging all military because of it. The fact is what you don’t like is we regulate your, as a societies, behavior. We shine a light on the crap that people do to each other. We shine a light on the crap you do to yourself and when you see how ugly you are instead of correcting yourself you blame the cop and dismiss them with a what ever, nothng to see here move along.

  8. After 25 years of service and honorably retired, I thank you for your positive comments. Deer Park PD, Texas.

  9. My Dad has been a cop my entire life. He is my hero.

    THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.

    My Dad is a good man and he is a man that makes our world safer by running toward fear. He is our families pride, He is our HERO. His family is his life but he does not hesitate to be the man running toward the fear.

  10. My oldest son and his wife are police officers and my youngest son is a fireman/emt/bomb specialist. I worry about the dangers everyday but my sons tell me to stop worrying its our job, something from within told me to do this. Proud mom

  11. Thank you so much for your inspiring comments about policemen and women. I am the mother of two and mother in-law of one police officers and am very proud of all of them. When I hear people make negative remarks I want to scream at them the next time you need help call a friend and see If they would risk their lives for you like a stranger (being a cop) will. The same officer you put down because you got a ticket from because you violated the law will be there for you. We relatives see first hand the effects their jobs and your comments have on them and yet they continue to protect and serve your needs. Remember that before you open your mouths. THANK YOU TO ALL POLICE OFFERS FOR YOUR SERVICES AND I PRAY FOR YOUR SAFTY….

    1. Thanks Susan for the inspiring comment and I understand you, as a mother of those great children and family who serve me and so many others how you feel and what your infinite love for them means. That is why I say, “This is my street corner.” Then with taste and respect, I tell the haters to go away and find another corner to spew your hate on. Negative comments or disrespectful talk is not welcome here. Happy Thanksgiving and tell them all thanks for me, The WiseGuy

  12. Great article, thank you. Also, my husband is a Chief with 32 years in Law Enforcement and we don’t subscribe to that Thin Blue Line stuff either. I can totally see both sides here, but agree that unfortunately a few bad apples exist in all professions. When the S&!t hit the fan however, these men & women along with Fire, EMS, docs, nurses were running in, somehow putting their own fear aside. That’s what it comes down to. It happens time and time again and I don’t like the thin line connotation, nor do I believe it’s necessary for people to understand what these folks do…and that at the end of the day, they’re real people. Thank you again 🙂

  13. The other day, someone whom I adore made mention to someone else how, ‘they didn’t like cops’, because they get to do things the rest of us are not privileged to do only because they’re the law.

    Once in a while, they even have the privilege to die for you.

    Maybe that should be appreciated by your friend.

  14. Sean Collier was a friend and former coworker. He worked with me at the auxiliary police department in Somerville. I was his supervisor. I was the recruiting officer and one of the training officers.

    From the first time I met Sean and every shift we worked together I knew he would be a great police officer. Never once while we worked together did he ever want to not help. He would never run away from anything. I miss my friend… My hero.

    Thank you for writing this!

  15. Thanks for tbe article. Some of us are Constitutional Conservatives who do not over step our bounds or abuse our power. A lot of us know we serve the people within the context of our duties and law.
    Thank You

  16. A great essay, and I appreciate the heartfelt sentiment. The anti-police complaining wears you down. It is good to know that good people appreciate your efforts.

  17. Excellent!!! You have completed Heart Surgery without anesthesia or a license. A brief, realistic vignette into the cop’s world. On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 57 hours. In 2011, 163 law enforcement officers made the ultimate sacrifice!!! Where do we find such men & women??

    Keep Up the Good Work!!!

  18. Life is not simple. Totally agree that police (and fire fighters and often EMT) are largely dedicated brave service oriented people. At the same time, there is a police mystique, the thin blue line, us against them, good guys bad guys – that is real and that is a problem. It is not a simple break down, good cops and bad cops, I’m quite sure there are police who in one context would be noble heroes and in another would be authoritarian bullies. I’m realizing this is essentially the same comment as James Heene. The Nicholson movie was A Few Good Men and as I recall he was the bad guy albeit a complex bad guy.

    1. Mr. Halloran, The thin blue line is NOT a reference of “us versus them.” It is the term used to refer to he proverbial separation of order and chaos–law enforcement. While I agree there are a few bad apples in law enforcement (just like you’ll find in banking, construction, nursing,…and every other profession…because we’re all HUMAN), you have generalized it way too much to not comment. Have a good day.

    2. and there are very similar concerns in most professions…one stark difference is that law enforcement is scrutinized more often by more factions than any other profession. what we do is out front, in public, for the public, and daily the public, the prosecutors, the judges, the political pundits, the journalists and everyone else always knows more about how to do our job than they ever give us credit for.

  19. The name of the movie escapes me right now but you”ll get the idea without it. Jack Nicholson, a military officer is being questioned in a court martial and warned to answer truthfully. His response ? “you want the truth ? you can” t handle the truth ! The truth is you want us on that wall ! The point being that the biggest complainers of law and military enforcement are those who would be the last to voluntarily put themselves in harms way for anybody. Here are some reasons I think some people complain about policing : a) they were recipients of enforcement of some kind b) are sensitive to there own lack of self-discipline c) feel that enforcement is belittling or that they are above the law d) they may have witnessed abuse of authority, first or second hand and/ or have an issue with any form of authority. I am not saying that enforcement doesn’t require oversight, it does. “Power corrupts , absolute power corrupts absolutely .” But it is not adversarial oversight but rather constructive and supportive , keeping in mind who is the good guy and who is the suspect ( believe to be guilty of a crime, possibly dangerous Oxford Dict.) My son is a police officer and my brother a retired officer . I see the strength and zeal of an idealistic rookie and the quiet, reflection of reality in the retired. The ” cop” in both of them is a flesh and blood person , trying to “serve and protect” the way they were trained. It takes a toll. Unless we are willing to put on a uniform and take their place and show them how to do it, an appreciation of the Justice System we do have, in spite of some weaknesses would be better served with support than with derision . We “re asking law abiding men and women to go amongst the lawless of our society and treat them with what they as law breakers don”t possess for themselves : RESPECT

    1. Very well put. I couldn’t agree more. My son is also a police officer. Certainly not the career I would have chosen for him. I would have preferred he would have chosen to be an engineer….. certainly a lot more money, not putting your life on the line every time you walk out the door, not having to deal with and see what they do,,,,, and believe me the average citizen has no idea. My hope and prayer for all who have CHOSEN to be in this noble profession is for their safety and for the respect they deserve.

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