When a cop is killed in the line of duty, I change my Facebook profile to a mourning badge and then leave it up until after the cop’s funeral. It seems that this year, my profile picture has featured a mourning badge than pictures of myself (or family, dogs, bacon and martinis). I know that people have put my on “mute” or unfriended me. They miss the happy go laura (you think I don’t?) and dislike being reminded of negative things. I feel a tremendous amount of anger and sadness when a cop is killed and it’s not because I’m married to a cop (who simply believes dying in the line of duty is part of the risk) and he is a bit mortified at my outrage . It’s not because my uncle was a State Trooper. It’s not because my father’s nephews were/are cops (one in Baltimore, who has just resigned, thanks Mayor Blake!). I’m outraged because I grew up being taught to respect police, fireman, military, – anyone who has the courage to put on a uniform, go out in any kind of weather, deal with harsh conditions, harsh people, doing what other people do not have the balls to do. I’ve watched as not only the media, but the leadership of this country, have villainized the actual heroes of America. I’ve watched as criminals are turned into saints and heroes are turned into devils. My parents, my teachers, my community, taught me that right is right and wrong is wrong. Not that I always listened, but I had that knowledge, that goodness, to strive for. It’s funny, looking back, all the times I ‘partied’ have absolutely no value today. What I do value are the accomplishments, the times I rose above adversity, the times I was able to turn obstacles into opportunity. The times I challenged myself to improve and I did. When I was growing up, the most outrageous show was Three’s Company. A man living with two single woman? The scandal! Now we have a media and culture that celebrify teen pregnancy, create fake rape stories and celebrify terrorists on magazine covers. We have a culture that believe it’s okay to place a crucifixion in a bottle of piss and offend Christians because it’s “art” but don’t draw a cartoon of Muhammad because we one religion (the religion that beheads Christians, gays, and women) is better than another. I still would not call myself a ‘grown up’ – but I would say that I have ‘wised up.’ My experiences in life have taught me that the more we can trust each other, the more we can pursue personal dreams. The more we can trust each other, the more confidence and kindness we show. The more we distrust – the less confidence we have in others, and in ourselves. The less confidence we have, the less courage we have to seek out independent dreams. Individuality, independence is what America was built on. Grit. Moxie. Determination. Trust. Anyone who has ever been in a bad relationship knows that a lack of trust kills happiness. A lack of trusts means you spend much of your time looking for signs of cracks – time that you could spend doing something way more productive. Time wasted wondering what you did, why you weren’t good enough – which erodes your spirit, your sense of value. The last 7 years, our country has been in a relationship with cheaters. Cheaters in the media. Cheaters as leaders. They contradict their stories. They outright lie (Brian Williams, I’m looking at you). They deceive. They blame the person they are cheating on – they blame loyal Americans who work hard but the media and the cheaters disguised as leaders push the idea hardworking Americans should be ashamed because of their skin color (white) and aren’t doing enough to help the less fortunate . Of course, they blame middle America for not doing enough as they fly around the world in jets, ride in limos, and use personal chefs and pay low wages to the illegal aliens they hire to mow their lawns. They blame the military. They blame cops. They blame job creators. They divide people into groups. Men Vs Women. Heterosexuals vs Homosexuals. Christians vs Muslims. Street Smart Vs Book Smart. Teachers Vs Parents. Blacks Vs White. Americans Vs Illegal Aliens. Old Vs Young. Growing up, I never, ever saw color. You were judged by your actions, not your skin color. In the last 7 years, we’ve gone from judging people on their actions, to judging people by their skin color, their choice of profession, their political and religious affiliation. Everything I was taught is backwards. If we live in a society where it is better to be corrupt than courageous, to be silent (or worse yet, to be a siren for the shady and to lick the boot of the swindlers due to a lack of spine), then everything that America was built on has crumbled. The men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we may have machines to make our coffee in under 5 seconds, sit in cars that drive for us, and send people messages while we are sitting on the toilet… they have sacrificed for nothing. And so, that is why I feel fresh anger every time a cop is killed and the media would have you believe that cops are the enemy, criminals are our friends. Virtue is ugly and Violence is beautiful. Eric Hoffer once stated; “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” When the media and the ‘leaders’ of America, have, for the last 7 years, turned their attention into turning the very people who are the most courageous of all; out military and police, into “devils” – distracting the public with the very few bad examples, I fear not for the lives of those I love, but for the fabrics that were woven to create the Independence of America: Courage. Character. Honor. Determination. Trust. United We Stand. Divided We Fall. And every time a police officer falls in the line of duty and the media breeze over it and Obama sends representatives to the funerals of criminals but not police or military, we lose not just a hero who’s sacrifice is ignored, we lose a bit of the very fabric, the values, that make America strong. But as long as we are aware of what is happening, how we are being undermined, we will rise above adversity. As long as we acknowledge the truth that the only ‘oppression’ in America, is the oppression of courage and character at the hands of the corrupt, we will triumph. This is America. And in America, we shine over shadow.
Rest In Peace NYPD Brian Moore – 5/4/15
Rest In Peace Idaho Police Sgt. Greg Moore from Coeur d’Alene 5/5/15
Rest In Peace k9 officer Lt. Eric Eslary Ligonier Township Police Department – prayers up for his k9 Blek 5/5/15
(Anna Nalick’s song, “Shine” – inspired this essay).