Cop haters are a special collection of illogical people whose ideas about the world and their expectations of law enforcement are grossly inconsistent. I’ve found that if you can actually get a cop hater to talk to you without simply hurling canned rhetoric over the table, some understanding can be achieved. But this is rare because when you’re entire worldview is demonstrated to have a flaw in it, it requires a big shift in thinking, and that’s not easy for anyone.Now let me be clear, when I say cop haters, I’m not referring to the genuine and often necessary critique of police work. I’m talking about those who spend their time mocking cops, slamming cops, or generally criticizing everything they do. When it comes to honest critique in police work or exposing crooked cops, you’ll find no argument from me or any other good cop; and good cops are the majority folks.
Let me break down the cop hating “logic” for you, which boils down to “We want nothing from you except for you to be everything we want to hate”. Like Stephen King’s Pennywise character, cops are apparently capable of shifting into whatever malevolent form they deem the best to intimidate others as they abuse their authority. Unlike those who live in line with reality, cop haters want to talk out both sides of their mouth and generally run away when they get called out for it. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
Cop haters want cops to never resort to force but also want them to be skilled enough at use of force to shoot a knife out of a running person’s hand in under one second. In other words you want them to protect their community from bad guys but not to actually stop the bad guys. Tell me, which is it? Believe me, I think cops wish we had every skill you see in the movies or on television; it would certainly make our job much easier. I can Jason Bourne someone in my head 1,000 times but then I have to handle myself according to my actual skill set. What if the reality is that sometimes, the only available solution to a life or death situation is the use of force, including deadly force?
The fact about deadly force is that it is rarely used, even when it could be. Cop haters would love us to believe that police officers are just randomly walking down the street and picking off people they don’t like one by one. That type of ignorance simply can’t stand in the face of objective truth. Consider the publically available information from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Data that shows an annual average of 3,277 deadly force attacks on police officers involving weapons of some kind (that’s right, it doesn’t even include the attack on officers by the unarmed). Yet for the same time frame (2003-2012) only an average of 429 deaths from police use of force occurred annually. This means that at least 2,848 individuals can be expected to attack a police officer with a weapon in this country and come away alive. So not only are cops not rampantly abusing their authority but they aren’t even using as much of it as they’re permitted by law.
Cop haters want us to believe cops are lazy donut eating fools but yet are over militarized and too strong of a force upon their communities. The caricature of cops is that we just sit around eating donuts and drinking coffee (actually, that’s sorta true, I do like both of those things) but at the same time we are apparently an over-prepared, well organized and over militarized set agencies that threaten America’s freedom. What if the reality is that cops would love to do more hanging out in their communities enjoying a fine fried piece of dough and a cup of joe but that the increasingly advanced tactics and equipment of the bad guy require more advanced training and equipment for the good guy?
As I write this, a breaking news story is emerging on the thwarting of a planned attack on a police department in Florida involving weapons such as rocket powered grenade launchers. This coming in the wake of the White House announcing that it will be further restricting the federal program of supplying local police departments with some “military” style equipment due to the public pressure over the perceived mistreatment of minorities and protesters.
So the cop haters have a dilemma don’t they? Do they want their homes, churches and schools secured against modern would-be criminals or do they want them to be more exposed?
Cop haters say the cops are never there when you need them but yet they’re always somehow harassing everyone or driving somewhere too fast. Let’s just translate that into what it really is: The cops don’t do what I tell them to do exactly when I tell them to do it and exactly how I tell them to do it and I don’t like that cops can do things ordinary citizens can’t in order to do the job we hire them to do. Isn’t that painful just to read? Believe me, it’s even more painful to respond in person to those with this mentality.
This type of thinking is cop hating equivalent to a 2 year old throwing themselves down on the floor of the store because mom and dad, who have more experience in parenting than the child, decide that bobby doesn’t need another trinket right now. I’ve generally found that the lack of understanding in the law that is running alongside this particularly irritating double standard is to blame. Yet, cops continue to put themselves in harm’s way for even those who refuse to try and understand what is involved and we will never stop because what we do doesn’t flow from merely an understanding of and respect for the law but from the kind of character formed out of overcoming such false perceptions.
Cop haters think it’s ok to violently respond en masse when a cop kills a criminal but when cops are killed by criminals they are “pigs that get wings” So if “#AllLivesMatter” then why aren’t we treating each life as if it truly does? This is like saying that we should be tolerant of all people except those who disagree with us (which there is a lot of that going on around us as well but I digress). All lives do matter in the sense that we are all created equal. But #somelives become #criminals and lines must be drawn around the #innocent so that they are protected at any cost to the best of an officer’s ability.
I’ve long held that how we respond to adversity will speak infinitely more about your character than when things are going your way. This is no better demonstrated in comparing the recent riots with the recent police funerals.
You see, rather than viewing police officers as humans (or even as equals), cop haters project a sort of boogieman image upon law enforcement in order to distance themselves from the reality of the world they live in because it doesn’t fit with their ideological system of nonsense.
Now I’m not foolish enough to think that just because I’ve written something like this or will continue to, that I’m going to change all the cop haters’ minds. In fact, I might not change any…ever. But I’m reminded of something the new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said to me and a few other officers standing in his office during Police Week: “Our job is to keep people safe and sometimes people won’t like the way we do it and they will criticize us; But I comfort myself knowing that we’ve done a good enough job so far since they have the freedom and voice to express that opinion.” Well said sir, well said indeed.