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The Unsustainable State of Defensiveness facing Police

By Michael Letts

In a recent conversation with a retired police officer from a major urban area, he admitted a stunning revelation. “For decades, my daily professional life was filled with ‘bad guys’ and when I retired, I had to really work at calming myself down around others.”

He further shared that while the training and vigilance never leave, he “…struggled to have normal relationships.”

One does not simply flip a switch and turn off the heightened awareness many law enforcement officers develop over their careers. Nor does one easily trust.

Every profession contains those who abuse authority and deliver mediocre and even sub-standard job performance. In the medical world alone, mistakes occur daily. Sometimes those mistakes cost patients and their families indescribable grief and sorrow. From stealing pain medication to botched surgeries, vast numbers of lawyers continue to pay for second homes based upon losses of life and limb due to medical malpractice. Television networks help supplement their bottom lines by selling ad space targeting lawsuits against medical and pharmaceutical companies—particularly during shows like “Judge Judy” and reruns of Matlock.

Despite the damage and even death inflicted through medical malpractice, no cry issues to defund the hospitals, physicians, or nurses as a collective group.

Just as oncologists wage the ongoing battle against cancer, police officers persist in the never-ending war against those preying on the vulnerable. While society understandably vilifies diseases hampering our well-being, the nation witnessed the political left condoning criminal behavior – at the expense of law enforcement and the safety of citizens.

With the media daily fueling a smoldering bias and even rage towards law enforcement, how is society well-served with trained police officers told to stand down by political malpractice. Furthermore, the threat of media invasion into the lives of police officers cannot be helpful in the high-stress world of law enforcement. Media malpractice remains rampant with little if any penalty for ruining a person’s life.

Is there a call to defund or even hold the media accountable?

As political and media hacks blare their bias daily, their ineptitude only intensifies the challenges faced by law enforcement.  An increasing number of suicides and PTSD cases among law enforcement plague precincts across the country as they struggle under the oppressive culture incited by politicians and media.

Police are known as first-responders who run towards danger. What happens to those same officers when danger is not merely in front of them, but they remain in a circle of threats to their lives and livelihoods? Heightened awareness is one thing, but constant assault from multiple directions eventually leads to resignation. That surrendering may negatively affect society as officers leave the force. Yet sometimes officers resign to dark thoughts of depression and even suicide.

The smug faces of politicians and members of the media are nowhere to be found in the carnage of police officers’ careers and family relationships—nor at their hospital beds or funerals.

MSNBC’s resident hater, Joy Reid, regularly demonstrates her media malpractice with full immunity as she consistently portrays the police as racists tools of white America. She’s not alone among her colleagues in the media. How can law enforcement morale, professionalism, and efficiency compete with unending criminal behavior combined with relentless impugning from sanctioned voices “news” networks?

Greed, violence, theft, assault, and even murder frame the days of most law enforcement in tightly packed urban areas. Police officers working in those environments accept that reality and recognize their jobs intersect the worst of human nature. Reality is not a fun companion, but it’s honest. When reality is intentionally denied by politicians and non-stop media, the strain on our police force exponentially increases. Cops in riot gear can’t compete with CNN reporters altering reality to suit a narrative.

Whether helping a police officer with PTSD or helping to heal communities – or a nation, the first step is acknowledging the truth. Yet, as Samuel Johnsons stated, “Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”   – The Idler, 1758

Our society is indeed at war. Sadly, it is a cold civil war fueled by the “…falsehoods which interest dictates.” Regardless of opinion or acceptance, however, one truth inevitably demands our attention: our police forces remain in a high but unsustainable state of vigilance and defensiveness.

Michael A Letts is the CEO and Founder of  In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bullet-proof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.   

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