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Dean Scoville

Dean Scoville

Associate Editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.
Patrol

Four More Cops Killed: Where Is The Outrage?

Society mourns murdered officers, but it also motivates the murderers.

December 01, 2009  |  by - Also by this author

Very early this morning a lone Seattle patrol officer shot and killed Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of ambushing and murdering four Lakewood officers Sunday as they prepared for their duty day in a coffee shop.

The ambush of the four Lakewood officers occurred at an hour not commonly associated with officer deaths, shortly after eight o'clock on a Sunday morning. The victim officers had apparently convened about their laptops to catch up with their reports. None could have anticipated the attack. Only one was able to put up any kind of fight before dying, but apparently was at least able to wound the bastard.

I've worried about this kind of mass murder of law enforcement officers for years.

Shortly before I retired, I openly speculated that we were on the cusp of a new era where people would increasingly bring the fight to us. Moreover, I said they would prove to be greater threats, less predisposed to "gangsta"-style shooting and actually recognize the significance of sight alignment and trigger control.

I also noted that technology has helped the people who want to kill us develop better eye-hand coordination and tactics via video games and other poor man's combat simulators, and it has given them better means of communicating and coordinating with one another. Television shows such as "C.O.P.S." have provided them greater familiarity with our policies and tactics. They have also become more sophisticated in their choice of weaponry, and are fast becoming better armed than us, accessorizing with everything from laser sights to cop-killer bullets.

Increasing incidences of workplace violence and school shootings fueled my concern, as did a demographic boom of late teens who would come of age between 2005 to 2009. These teens were weaned on a steady diet of desensitizing movies and rap music that advocated cop killings.

More recently, economic stress, racial strife, a resurrection of militia types, and spillover from Mexican cartel activity have made this toxic cocktail even deadlier.

Perhaps most perniciously-at least when it comes to cops-is the concurrent and steady indoctrination of anti-cop sentiments and stereotypes. Allegations of police corruption and its perpetuation through movies such as "Training Day" have afforded those predisposed towards hating cops a perceived justification for doing so.

These cop haters are often composed of those segments of society who have fundamentally failed to hold their own accountable, the likes of whom celebrated the King riots, the O.J. acquittal, and the Oakland shootings.

I believe it follows that there is a nexus between such campaigns against law enforcement and events such as Sunday's murders.

Certainly, it is not unreasonable to ask where is Al Sharpton's outrage over these murders? Or Jesse Jackson's? How about Earl Ofari Hutchinson's? Why are they not demanding justice? Why are they curiously mute at the damages inflicted by a black shooter? And what will Eric Holder have to say as to the motives of this son of a bitch?

Will these murders be classified as hate crimes? Acts of terrorism?

Until recently, attacks that kill as many as four officers have been extremely rare. Since the Newhall (Calif.) shootings of 1970, there had not been an incident in which four officers had been shot and killed in a single incident (although Louisiana sniper and black racist Mark Essex killed a total of four white cops on separate dates in 1973).

This year four officers were killed in Oakland by the same man on the same day in March. This weekend four officers were killed in a Lakewood, Wash., coffee shop. And in Pittsburgh three officers were killed on April 4.

These killings come at a time when cops are themselves theoretically better trained and equipped, and one can reasonably ask how many more might have been killed this year were it not for improved medical intervention.

We ask how something like this can happen, when the miracle is that it doesn't happen more often.

Read the comments that accompany the news coverage of the murders of the Oakland and Lakeland officers. Yes, there are those who express dismay and sorrow. But there are also a number of disheartening comments that attribute some malfeasance on the part of the fallen officers. These comments celebrate the deaths and glorify the suspect. They use the losses as fodder for insipid jokes, perniciously and willfully ignorant of the pain the families of these fallen heroes are going through.

Will any of Hollywood's elite step up to help any of these officers' families?

I doubt it.

For long before Al Pacino invited us to "say goodnight to the bad guy," Hollywood had been holding court for him. From "Little Caesar" to "The Godfather," the list of films featuring criminal icons is long and distinguished. It is the charismatic bad guy who is remembered: Hans Gruber, Hannibal Lector, the Joker. Even heartthrob Leonardo doesn't stand a chance against Daniel Day Lewis' the Butcher in "Gangs of New York."

Away from the stage and screen, it would appear that many actors and actresses are more apt to be found stomping on behalf of such stalwart souls as Mumia Abu Jamal than for law enforcement.

That Hollywood loves to give itself a pat on the back is well known. It'll readily accept responsibility for social change spurred on by movies like "In the Heat of the Night" or "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," and others.

But when it comes to its more sordid legacies, Hollywood remains mute.

Or does it?

Gays decry the portrayal of homosexuals in "Cruising"; Hollywood gives them "Philadelphia." Minorities protest blaxploitation pics and "The Warriors." Hollywood atones with "Antoine Fisher" and "Men of Honor." Women hate more misogynist fare? They are rewarded with "Thelma and Louise."

Tags: Cop Killers, Lakewood (Wash.) PD


Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

mtarte @ 12/1/2009 2:22 PM

Dean, excellent article. The attitude that some of the public and Hollywood have are that of a judge who once told me that it was part of the cop's job to take abuse and be assaulted when he dropped charges on a subject for resisting arrest. If officers are given short-shrift in court by uncaring judges, what should they expect from the "elite" of this country? There will be proclamations and the appropriate noises from politicians as these four officers are laid to rest, but nothing will come of it, except among ourselves. I'm retired now and still wish I could do the job, but today's cops are in much more dangerous situations than ever before. Godspeed to those four brave officers, their families and friends.

mcguireb1 @ 12/1/2009 3:26 PM

Great article. I have subscribed to "Police Product News" since its inception. Still a "life" subscriber. Its not only Hollywood to blame but some of it lies there. There is no doubt that media of all types, including movies and TV have an influence on societies behavior and norms. If not, why do advertisers spend millions on 60 seconds of air time and companies pay to have their products in a movie.

But we must also blame the decay of American society on a loss of morals and virtue. I think it was John Adams that said something like "our system of government was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other." There are multiple causes of the moral decay in our time. The solution is elusive at best. Perhaps its too late. I am an optimist but it seems that unless we (citizens, cops, lawmakers, teachers and especially parents) make it a priority to put some time and energy into raising the next generation to live by higher standards than 'whats in it for me, right now," I am afraid well will have more of this. As a retired cop I appeal to all current and former officers who have seen this decay up close and personal to work toward a change. I wish I knew exactly how. I don't. But I am willing to work at it.

Morning Eagle @ 12/1/2009 6:58 PM

Once again Dean has it right on the button. Very well thought out and expressed. As another retired law enforcement officer I too am sickened by what I see happening. Dean has truly said where lies much of the responsibility for the general degradation in the public perception and opinion of those who put their lives literally on the line everyday. I have already read accusations that the Seattle officer who did his job well was doing so to get "revenge" and implied it wasn't necessary to kill clemmons. Of course those self righteous accusers have not likely ever been face to face with a devious killer or have any idea other from twisted movies and TV shows, not to mention the disgusting noise some claim is music, of what it is like to "Protect and Serve" their sorry selves. Hopefully there will be solid evidence against those who assisted him and that prosecutors will not get jelly in their knees when they are accused of being racist but will do their utmost to send them all where they belong for the maximum under the law. My thoughts and sympathies are certainly with the families and friends and all in the LE community who mourn this senseless and evil deed.

uscg911 @ 12/2/2009 12:58 AM

Very well written. I couldn't agree more...where is the extreme outrage from these "civil" rights leaders? This is an opportunity for them to openly express condemnation of such a cowardly and hateful act. Instead, silence.

CAPONER @ 12/2/2009 7:16 AM

Folks, speaking of outrage, I wonder if there is any outrage among my fellow police officers that nearly every mentally ill person not undergoing treatment who wants a gun can buy one, and then kill cops and/or citizens with it? (Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Lakewood, the list goes on). Is it the position of the so-called "2nd amendment lobby" that our constitution guarantees everyone the right to arm themselves against the police? On every domestic, we ask if there are guns in the house. Is this because we wonder if the perpetrator is a constitutional scholar, or because we are concerned that the guns may be used against the responding officers? Second, Dean is right on with a point well-documented by Dave Grossman - that (as I understand it) the video game industry is directly contirbuting to training cop killers. Where are the police unions and pro-cop lobbyists on this issue? I don't know the answers, but it seems like cops should be talking about these things.

skinni99 @ 12/3/2009 6:45 AM

I agree. Excellent article. I think that a big problem we have today is "political correctness." No one is willing to stand up an speak out against the sh!t that is going on in our country because they want to continue moving up on that political ladder. We need to be more worried about protecting our country and less worried about protecting people's feelings.

POLICEDIVER16773 @ 12/17/2009 2:01 PM

Dean:

Well put. You Sir are a man that thinks like me. This article should be placed in every newspaper across both of our fair lands, the USA and Canada.

Ken Karpinski @ 8/4/2011 12:43 AM

Another occasional "bone" should be "One Good Cop", where Michael Keaton's titular detective takes care of three tender tots

to keep them out of the orphanage.

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