There was a time where it bothered me. In fact, that time is in the not so distant past. I would pour myself over comment sections and absorb all the negativity from people who had jumped aboard the anti-police train. It saddened me. It made me angry. It had too much control of my day to day thinking about society but now, I realize how dumb it is for me to focus on that. They have their opinions. I have mine. We don’t agree and we likely never will.
There’s a difference between us though. I’m not committed to misunderstanding them. If they were able to conduct themselves in a way that was in a respectful manner regarding their point of view, I’d actually listen. In fact, there are some things that I would likely agree with them on concerning police accountability. I don’t like when authority is abused but, that doesn’t mean I have to blatantly disregard the rest of the things that I deeply appreciate about our law enforcement community.
As I was watching the story unfold on the derailed Amtrak in Philadelphia, the scene that alway occurs during a tragic event played out on my television. In typical First Responder fashion, they all began to rush into the wreckage while the rest of the world pulled out their cameras and witnessed heroism from the sidelines. That’s when it hit me. That’s when I realized I don’t care about their opinions and I pity them for only knowing how to use their words and their actions as vessels for destruction. If you’re curious to why their opinion doesn’t matter, let me shine a light into that darkness for you.
They are counter productive. I don’t choose counterproductive friends because I don’t like counterproductive people. They abuse their 1st Amendment right to create more division instead of using it to create a solution. They are a complainer; a victim. They’ve never been wrong and they’ve always been mistreated. They don’t want to see the big picture because it doesn’t support their narrative. You can’t obviously look at the picture of a cop delivering a baby and turn around and say that all cops are evil and racists. You can’t listen to stories about the lives that officers have saved or changed because it deflates their dialogue. It’s hard to incite a riot or to call for the death of officers when you strip back the uniform and choose to see them as people.
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, then why waste another single breath? Engaging in part of their commentary is what they want. Don’t give it to them. Can you imagine how boring it would be for them if their comments were overlooked? We could be spending way more energy on spreading the good news. We could be completely focused on going out into our communities and sharing the stories that aren’t getting media spotlight. When we started the #WeSeeYou campaign, it became evident from the hundreds upon hundreds of emails we received that they don’t need us to seek justice in the comment threads on their behalf. They need us to take a public stand in support of them. They needed us to be visible as a unit.
Unless it’s a threat to your family or to your own safety, disengage. Shift your focus. The world needs people leading by example. It doesn’t need people who are getting sucked into a vortex of hatred. You’ll get buried in your anger and you’ll become counterproductive, too. Don’t become someone who loses their ability to communicate their point of view with intelligence and composure. That doesn’t serve anyone’s cause but those who oppose you. It doesn’t set us apart and we are better than that. We need to be focusing on what we are doing right, how we can better, and the steps that are needed to get there. And, we can. We can be better.
I get hate mail on this blog every day. I’m sure some of those people who hate me are reading this now. You should stop wasting your time. You’re entitled to your freedom of speech. I’m entitled to ignoring it. The only keyboard warrior I’ll be is one that tries to encourage and motivate as many people as I possibly can. By all means, have your own opinion. Be educated. Speak for yourself. I will have those conversations. If you’re unwilling or incapable of at least doing that, I assure you that the only time I’ll spend on your message is the 1 second it takes for me to move it to the trash bin. If you’ve chosen to use your words to encourage people to kill law enforcement officers and their families, you have blood on your hands. Whether it’s in this life or the next, justice will be served.