Let's review some of the most recent headlines here on the POLICE website and see what we can surmise about any manner of pattern developing (hint: there is definitely a pattern developing).
- MN Officers Shot, Suspects Killed in Traffic Stop Gunfight (March 1)
- NC Man Charged with Attempted Murder Over Arson of Deputy's Home (March 1)
- Virginia Officer Shot and Killed at Traffic Stop, Suspect Dead (March 1)
- GA Sheriff's Lieutenant Shot and Killed in Vehicle Pursuit (March 1)
- New Orleans Campus Officer Murdered Outside of Basketball Arena (March 1)
All of these headlines from a single day.
The saying goes "Beware the Ides of March," (March 15) the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC— stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate.
As many as 60 conspirators were involved, the mob had stormed and prevailed.
To heck with the 15th, beware the 1st!
This onslaught on police officers across America didn't just start on March 1, 2021—it's been going on for years, but when you open the news page on POLICE and it's riddled with stories about attacks on law enforcement officers, it kind of "gets your hackles up," if you’re a cop or a pro-cop civilian like me.
Causes and Effects
There are multiple reasons for this years-long increase in attacks on officers, so I'll make no attempt to boil it all down to one thing.
Societal changes, political pressure on police leaders, a failure of the education system to tell the truth about policing, citizens' general ignorance of Constitutional law, a hostile mainstream media, the widespread elimination of gang injunctions, an entire generation of young people who claim to be "entitled" to things (despite the fact that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are fictional characters). I could go on and on.
But I will center this discussion on just one thing—the American public's tolerance of aberrant behavior (well, when it's done by people with whom they associate or regard as being on "their side").
For more than a year, rioters burned American cities practically to the ground. Following the death of George Floyd, unrest broke out in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area on May 26, and quickly spread across the country. Cities that suffered included Birmingham, New York City, Portland, Chicago, Kenosha (WI), and dozens of others.
Cars were torched. Small businesses were looted. The cops who were trying to keep the peace came under fire, pelted with bricks and bottle and commercial grade fireworks—and now we see the tragic news altogether too frequently of police coming under withering gunfire.
This set the stage for the violence against police we're now seeing.
Nature Hates a Vacuum
Over the past year—well the past decade or more—attacking police became normalized for millions of Americans, whether they participated in the attacks or cheered at their televisions as if their favorite team was on the verge of winning the Super Bowl.
Tolerance for violence went through the roof, while simultaneously the cops in the helmets and riot gear were ordered by police leaders—who were largely cowing to political leaders— to "draw down" and not engage the violence in a meaningful and impactful way. It was what I've said for months to be a "confluence of events" that changed the country and changed policing in very unfortunate ways.
So, it's utterly unsurprising to see this spike in reports of attacks on police officers. When the police "stand down" the criminals stand up, stand out, and stand as one.
Then the "war" is tilted in favor of the bad guys, and lopsidedly against the good guys.
Nature, after all, hates a vacuum. When the cops pull back the perps push forward—it's basic physics mixed with fairly complicated psychology.
I mentioned at the top that chaos, looting, and violence was essentially accepted by many in America because the rioters carried flags and banners espousing beliefs with which they agree.
Socialism, Communism, anarchy, and you are entitled to take stuff and destroy businesses were some of the various messages espoused by the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa.
But when ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump turned a political speech into a raid on the Nation's Capital—a building I hold in the highest regard and have spent many hours on my lunch break on the steps of when I worked for the State Department, just to watch the "sausage get made"— the shrill left-leaning media just about lost their minds.
Silence for a year, and then an explosion of talking heads on a single day.
Make no mistake: I don't condone what happened on the Jan. 6—I turned on the television and watched the unrest unfold in utter horror and disbelief. Fencing and razor-wire remain in place, as does the National Guard.
I was—and remain—incensed that our nation's military needed to be called in to occupy our national seat of government as if it was Baghdad in April 2003.
The madness claimed the life of 42-yeaar-old United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Violence is not free speech, so cops must be empowered—with well-defined marching orders—to stop protests from devolving into chaos, even as police officers are being shot and sometimes killed on an increasing basis.
There are 18,000-plus police agencies in the country, and nearly a million law enforcement officers. But the population of the United States is well north of 325 million.
You're outnumbered—there's no doubt about it—but you don't deserve to come under the kinds of violent attacks we saw in our headlines earlier this week.
In conclusion, I urge police leaders—command staff especially, but also union leaders—to empower officers to respond with appropriate strength and force to quell the violence, and send the message that the cops are taking back the streets.
Stay safe my friends. I pray for you every single day.