FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Columns : Editorial

Peace On Earth

The ideal of peace on Earth during Christmas is unattainable but there are peacekeepers who try to make it so.

December 22, 2010  |  by - Also by this author


British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Photo via Flickr.com (Jacob Whittaker).

When I was a kid, all hell was breaking loose. Some people remember the 1960s and early 1970s very fondly. I don't. It was a scary time.

My brother was in the Army, calling home very infrequently in the middle of the night from places that I couldn't pronounce like Da Nang, Phu Bai, and numerous little flyspeck villages that dotted the National Geographic map of Vietnam that my parents kept handy for reference.

We ate dinner in front of the nightly news with "Uncle Walter" or Huntley and Brinkley telling us about race riots, body counts, and anti-war protests.

And school was no refuge. My little Southern city was a flashpoint where the federal government had mandated busing for forced desegregation. Almost every day, we had bomb threats or racially motivated fights or protests with angry white parents standing near the bus lot yelling at the black kids.

There was no peace on Earth during those Christmas seasons. Maybe that's why one of my favorite Christmas songs is Simon & Garfunkel's "Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night." If you've never heard it, I'll just give you this description: It's a very reverent rendition of the Christmas hymn underscored by a radio broadcast of the seven o'clock news, complete with war, riots, and all the other turmoil of the mid-'60s.

The simple message of that Simon & Garfunkel performance is there really isn't any peace on Earth. And it struck me the other day that you could do the same recording today and only the sources of the turmoil would have changed.

I'm writing this a week before Thanksgiving, which I consider the beginning of the Christmas season, and once again all hell is breaking loose.

Internationally, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq grind on. Islamist terrorists keep killing people all over the world. British students and French workers continue to stage violent protests. And child soldiers are still murdering and raping thousands in Africa.

Here in the United States, the economy has everyone on edge. And crime remains a great threat to both civilians and law enforcement. Just this week, a guy in Southern California was shot to death just because he tried to stop graffiti vandals from defacing someone else's property. And clear across the country, the chief deputy of the Greene County (Ga.) Sheriff's Department was gunned down in the doorway of his own home by a convicted felon. The bad guy reportedly rang the bell, waited for the deputy to open the door, and shot him. Then he killed himself.

Here on the cusp of the 10th Christmas of the 21st century after the birth of Christ there is no peace on Earth, nor even just peace in America. In fact my girlfriend's 9-year-old daughter has never known a time that her country wasn't at war.

There is no peace on Earth. Maybe the reason there is no peace on Earth is found in how you translate the Bible verse from which we draw the belief that Christmas should be a time of peace. You will find it in Luke 2:14 when the angels visit the shepherds and tell them of the birth of Jesus. In the King James Version the verse reads: "And on Earth peace, goodwill toward men." Later translations alternately read "peace to men who obey the laws of God" or "peace to men of goodwill."

I think that last translation really sums up the state of the world. There's no peace because very few people have goodwill in their hearts. In the immortal words of the "Scrubs" TV show character Dr. Perry Cox, "People are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling."

There is no peace on Earth because so many people are only driven by their own self interest and so many of them are willing to commit acts of violence against other people to get what they want.

There is no peace on Earth, but there are peacekeepers. And that includes police officers, the sheepdog warriors guarding the flock.

There is no peace on Earth this Christmas season, but there are peaceful moments. And the only reason that we have such peaceful moments is because of the sheepdogs.

As George Orwell or Winston Churchill (depending on which scholar you believe) said, "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

This holiday season many of you will work Thanksgiving or Christmas standing ready in the night when you want to be at home with your families. And there will be peace in your jurisdiction, if you can help it.

Tags: Leadership


Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

blainenay @ 12/23/2010 1:10 PM

"There is no peace on Earth, but there are peacekeepers. And that includes police officers, the sheepdog warriors guarding the flock."

I know this is website is directed at law enforcement. But, the article omitted some other essential sheepdogs: our armed forces and our firemen, many of whom are called away from their families during the Christmas season. We must never omit the sacrifices they also make because of their duty to community and country.

ctidwell @ 12/23/2010 4:00 PM

Thank you for your service and sacrifice. May the good Lord watch over and protect those protecting sheepdogs, Police, Fire, EMS and Military personnel this Christmas and through out the years to come. From a retired Sheepdog

drjeffreyp @ 12/24/2010 9:03 AM

Great article. One minor quibble. I would submit that coppers, and our military and our firefighters are peaceMAKERS (for emphasis only) more than they are peaceKEEPERS.

A subtle difference, but an important and Biblical difference.

STAY SAFE!

SPOC711 @ 12/24/2010 6:10 PM

ON CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU SIT DOWN AND BREAK BREAD WITH FAMILY AND FIRNEDS...LETS US NOT FORGET THE MEN AND WOMEN IN HARMS WAY...PROTECTING OUR WAY OF LIFE, NOR THE FIREFIGHTERS OR POLICE OFFICERS ON THE BEAT, PROTECTING YOU FROM THE WOLF...LETS LOCK AND LOAD, AND SADDLE UP AND PROTECT THE FLOCK...FOLLOW ME SHEEPDOGS, FOR TONIGHT OUR LOVES SLEEP IN PEACE..

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Revisiting the "21-Foot Rule"
The so-called "21-Foot Rule" was born and soon spread throughout the law enforcement...
Leadership in Reverse
Every profession espouses the virtues of leadership. But what about followers, which are...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine