Orlando. Paris. Dallas. Nice. Baton Rouge. ————.
Yes, that’s a blank in the previous sentence. Unfortunately, it’s likely to be filled in soon with the next Islamic attack or murderous ambush of American police officers.
I don’t think I’ve experienced such systematic violence against civilians in my rather long life. Some say that 1968 was worse than 2016, what with the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the race riots in burning cities and the ongoing war in Vietnam. You could make a case for that, I suppose.
But this sadly violent year, I hate to say, still has five more months to run. Who knows what terrors we will witness in the near future. And even in 1968, Americans and the residents of the great cities of Western Europe did not live with the possibility that at any moment, their hometown would be the object of a terrorist attack or a murderous assault on police.
I’m glad that so many people, including usually ultra tolerant liberals, are speaking out in strong terms against what’s happening. Everyone is saying that this behavior, particularly the attacks on police, will not be tolerated and that the attacks are no answer to what is perceived as undue police violence.
The purpose of the attacks, of course, is simply to kill, to take the lives of our protectors. As my wife Mary just told me, “What have they accomplished except to rob wives and children of their husbands and fathers?” What, indeed.
As I said in last week’s column, I know police officers well. I’ve ridden with them in night patrols and I’ve socialized with them. They are indeed the first line of defense against a chaotic society. We talk about law and order. Let’s for now, put the emphasis on order. Because without it, a civil society cannot exist. The center cannot hold, as they say.
The murders of the Baton Rouge police touched a little closer to home for me, also. The fiancé of my grand niece is a Baton Rouge police officer. I haven’t met the young man, but I’ve seen his photo with my niece and he looks like a fine fellow.
He had just gotten off work at 6:30 a.m. the day of the shootings but was called back into work a couple of hours later, when it was still not certain if any other shooters were out there. So my niece is a member of that brave and stalwart group of citizens who love a police officer, and who are never sure that when the beloved officer puts on the uniform to go to work if he or she will be seen again.
This may or may not get worse before it gets better. But we must hope and pray that it does. Our civilization depends upon it.