Watching the avalanche of abuse aimed at police by protesters, pundits, and activists the last few weeks, you might have caught yourself thinking: “They are being asked to do the impossible, and I wouldn’t blame them for walking away.”
Major Travis Yates, a 27-year veteran of the Tulsa police, writes in his op-ed ‘America, We Are Leaving‘ that walking away is just what he and a lot of other law officers are doing–in body and spirit.
It’s difficult to select the most searing excerpt from Travis’s list of indictments. He writes:
It’s not that law enforcement has changed for the worse but everything around it has. The mentally ill used to get treatment and now they just send cops. Kids used to be taught respect and now it’s cool to be disrespectful. Supervisors used to back you when you were right but now they accuse you of being wrong in order to appease crazy people. Parents used to get mad at their kids for getting arrested and now they get mad at us. The media used to highlight the positive contribution our profession gave to society and now they either ignore it or twist the truth for controversy to line their own pockets.
There used to be a common respect among criminals. If they got caught, they understood you had a job to do but now it’s our fault they sit in handcuffs rather than their own personal decisions. If someone attacked a cop, they were seen as such. Now we martyr them and sue for millions. We used to be able to testify in court and we were believed. Now, unless there is video from three different angles, no one cares what you have to say.
Travis hits the bullseye: the police are catching blame for the widespread disintegration of American life. Fifty years of rabid progressive liberalism have created an atomized populace with a soaring sense of individual entitlement and freedom, but no sense of individual responsibility for self-control and community peace–and the police must handle the mess.
Police officers are villainized when they fail to perform the work of parents, therapists, priests, psychiatrists, social workers, and lawmakers. They are commanded to perform law enforcement with the “force” part removed. Police work has become an exercise in frustration, and the public have very little understanding of just how much pressure and scrutiny the police endure.
Small wonder that police officers across the country are talking about striking, revolting, and quitting en masse. Travis writes:
[T]oday … I wouldn’t wish this job on my worst enemy. I would never send anyone I cared about into the hell that this profession has become. It’s the only job you can do everything right and lose everything. It’s the only job where the same citizens you risk your life for hate you for it. It’s the only segment left in society where it’s cool to discriminate and judge, just because of the uniform you wear.
In just one day, Travis’s article has reached one million views and climbing. Every American should read Travis’s article in full here. The conflagration around policing has two sides, and it’s time both were heard.