My husband Grant is a police officer to the core. By this I mean that he is never off duty, never on break, and never with his guard down. When he took the oath to protect and serve his community, he meant it with every ounce of his being. To him, wearing the badge is an astounding honor and privilege. It goes without question then that he holds the law, and the keeping of it, in the highest regard. While there are indeed some officers that bring shame to the badge, I believe the far greater majority wear it with the diligence and duty it deserves.
Officers put their lives on the line repeatedly so that the citizens of this nation can live in a reasonable amount of safety and harmony. For the outstanding officers in our midst, it is a critical time for us to lift them up in prayer and speak of them in high regard. The tide in our nation is taking a dangerous turn against law and order, and now is not the time to be silent. Our officers need to know that what they do matters, and they need to feel confident that they can fulfill their sworn duties without hesitation or fear of backlash from the communities they serve, as well as this nation.
The events that have taken place in Ferguson, MO have left many lives shattered, and a once typical American city in dismay. The ripple effect has impacted us all on some level. There are many heartbreaking pieces: a young man’s life ended, a police officer’s life and career forever changed, a city and neighboring communities fractured and torn, anger and hatred toward law enforcement escalated to dangerous levels, a rising tension amongst Americans of varying race and color, and the list truly goes on. This all came to be as a result of one fateful night, when law and order was put to the test.
I have observed firsthand the demands and challenges of police work. My husband has been put through hundreds of hours of training in his many years of duty. He has re-enacted scenario after scenario in a controlled setting to prepare him for the very type of confrontation that Officer Wilson encountered with Michael Brown. There are countless variables to consider, and this must be done in split seconds. An officer does not have the gift of hindsight and reflection as we all have now. For example, how easy for one to be appalled at the notion that Brown’s life was taken over a stolen pack of cigars, and yet so much more was at stake in those mere seconds. An officer has no way of knowing if a suspect is armed. If someone has the boldness to throw punches at and challenge an officer physically and verbally, then that officer’s life is in grave danger. There is no such scenario as an ‘unarmed’ suspect, as an officer is carrying a loaded weapon in the very holster lying around his or her waist. In seconds that gun can be confiscated by a suspect and used to kill that officer. We have seen this happen all too many times. Those officers do not have heads of state show up to their funerals, and the streets they once served remain silent with lack of protests. It is business as usual the next day.
I pray for my husband every time he hits the streets to guard our town. I can say that if he had been put in the very same situation as Officer Wilson was, he too would have pursued Brown in an effort to uphold the law. I have heard commentary that Wilson should have just let Brown run away and be done with it. It is a terrifying message we are sending if we buy into such logic. A store is robbed and an officer is assaulted, and yet the ‘right’ thing to do would be to excuse this and let the assailant go free?? We have become afraid of consequences, and aloof to the fact that innocent people are being violated. Are our officers truly free to perform their critical civic duties, or do they need to shrink back to avoid confrontation or trouble? I ache as I consider my own husband now hesitating to act in ways to protect himself if needed.
What I know is this….Grant will approach anyone who breaks the law, totally irregardless of race, color, age, gender, religion, social status, monetary status, etc. You break the law, Grant will be calling you out on it. If anyone came at him with physical aggression, then I would expect and demand of him to protect himself at all costs. There is no room for second guessing. I would hope that those under his sphere of influence would support this as well. All law abiding police officers need this support.
I once went on a ride-a-long with Grant. I kept questioning why he would pull a certain car over, or why he would remind someone not to park in a certain spot. It all seemed ‘innocent’ enough to me. Finally he looked me right in the eyes and declared, “What good is the law if it is not going to be upheld?” Indeed he was right. We do this with God’s laws as well, if anyone is willing to grasp the bigger picture with that. We pick and choose what laws we are comfortable with, and become angry and sometimes enraged if we are hit with the consequences of breaking them. Truth be told, it is a lawbreaker who has a problem with the law.
What happened in Ferguson is heartbreaking. I cannot fathom what Michael Brown’s family is going through, as I have never lost a child. It is a pain that can never be fully comforted. May they grow in love for each other to help them cope, and may they turn to the Lord for refreshing. Only He can give them hope.
The horrifying events now taking place with the looting and rioting in Ferguson are agonizing to watch and consider. More innocent citizens are being victimized and suffering great losses. It is a picture of what humans are capable of without law and order, and it is frightening.
My prayer is that something positive and good will be on the other side of all of this pain and despair. We as a nation are better than this, but only with God’s help. May we pray for real repentance, the kind that turns our hearts back to God’s laws. May every heart be humbled in this regard, and then we could experience true and lasting peace.
2 Chronicles 7:14…..If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.