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Respect Our Police

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2016 can’t come to an end fast enough for Georgia police officers as they have had the worst year in recent memory as there have been to date as eight officers, most of which were from Middle Georgia, were killed in the line of duty. Nationally, there have been 64 total so quick math will tell you that we have 1/8th of the national total and ranks 4th in the nation in officer fatalities only behind Texas, California and Louisiana.  These statistics are mind blowing and prompts the question:  What the hell is going on in our country and especially in our state and how can we stop the insanity?

My more liberal friends at this point would probably say that gun control would be a step in the right direction.  As a conservative I am as anti-gun control as it gets and certainly am in favor of everyone’s right to bear arms as given to us by our Founding Fathers in the Second Amendment, but I break from some of my ultra-right wing friends who say that everyone should have access to any type of gun they want including assault weapons such as AR-15’s and the like.  The framers of our Constitution gave us the rights to bear arms but they had no idea that something as deadly as an assault weapon would be invented.  The average citizen does not need this type of weapon to protect themselves or their families and also does not need one to hunt with.  Thomas Paine, one of our Founding Fathers, said it best:

“The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”

Unfortunately, “horrid mischief” has already ensued right here in Byron, Georgia, a place where I spend over half of my life as Byron is where my office is located.  To say that it these shootings has hit close to home is an understatement.  In the last month two Peach County Sheriffs have been killed while two Byron Police Officers were shot and by the grace of God, not killed.  The two Sheriffs who were killed, Deputy Sheriffs Daryl Smallwood and Patrick Michael Sondron, were killed by a lunatic who shot at them over 50 times in a matter of minutes.  I hope the son of a bitch who did it dies a horrible death for what he did to not only these brave officers and their families but what he did to our community, which is still flying blue striped flags up and down Georgia Highway 49 in their support.  A few days ago two Byron Police Officers, James Wynn and Will Patterson, were shot but thankfully have recovered.  The selfish bastard who resisted arrest wasn’t as lucky as he didn’t make it out alive, although very luckily, his girlfriend and baby did.  Thank God this guy wasn’t armed with an assault rifle or the outcome might not have been the same.

Our society has become violent in almost every aspect.  The movies that we watch that are rated PG or PG-13 today would have been R rated when I was a child merely because of the brutal nature they have and most certainly because of the barbarity they depict.  The video games of my era were either sport natured or shooting up a space ship.  Now they are so lifelike you can almost feel guys’ guts you’re shooting up.  Is it any wonder our children are growing up with so little respect for life?  And don’t get me started on the “music”… I refuse to reprint any of the lyrics, but Google some of Kanye West’s garbage.  If you really want a chill to run up your spine, Google the most violent rap lines.  You probably won’t leave your house again.

How in the world can our police officers do their job and protect us while they are worried that every traffic stop or every knock on a door could provoke someone into a deadly altercation?  How in the world can our police protect us when they’re worried that they could get fired for shooting someone who is holding a knife, a gun or any other deadly weapon or at the very least cause a whole city to explode with protests against their actions?  Things cannot continue like they are or we won’t have people who want to get into law enforcement and those who are already protecting us will start bailing out.  Who could blame them?

Is every law enforcement officer a saint?  Of course not and there are certainly examples of police brutality that is not warranted as well as officers who abuse their authority in various manners including using deadly force when it is not necessary.  Every police officer in the United States is governed by some type of oversight.  It is their job to make certain that these officers are dealt with.  They don’t need the additional burden of a city rioting and protesting to get them to look into matters.

Are there any easy answers to this epidemic of fatal police shootings that we are faced with in growing numbers?  I sincerely doubt it.  But the next time you see a law enforcement officer standing in line in the store or out in public, take the time to thank them.  Think about their children and their families and what they could be sacrificing at home if they don’t make it back that day while they are protecting you and your family.

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