I do not ordinarily write editorials although, hopefully, my regular columns communicate clearly my love of country, respect for history, appreciation of language and the art of communication and an abiding belief that strong homes and families are the backbone of happy lives and strong communities. Much of my life has seen a close personal association with public service at several levels and I am particularly proud to have served my country in uniform in war and in peace. I believe that long after one’s career is no more than the ticking of an engraved gold watch in a bureau drawer, our real accomplishments will be measured over years and generations of time by the solid lives of love and integrity lived by those whom we bring into and train for productive citizenship in the world we leave behind.
In recent years – and especially in recent weeks – my heart has been made heavy by what I can’t help but view as a growing decline in the very spiritual character of our national consciousness. My mind goes back to a particular moment in my young life when I looked up at the portrait of George Washington and the flag which hung nearby in Miss Ryerson’s first grade classroom in Coytesville, New Jersey and said to myself: How come, out of all the other places in this world, I got to be born here in this country; in America? My young heart swelled in pride within me, and I was filled with an unspeakable sense of belonging to something great and glorious. That realization would become a tessera in my lifelong suit of protective armor.
Pete Carney was the Irish cop assigned to our small town and a neighbor with whose kids I grew up and shared a pup tent on campouts. He was tall and proud in his dark blue uniform, and I always felt safe when he helped me through highway traffic on my way across route 9W. He really became my hero the day he burst through a glass window to pull the Call kids from their burning home. When I became a military cop years later, I knew I wanted to be like Pete. At a much later date while doing under-cover work while liaising as a military partner to hard-shelled Seattle Vice Squad “professionals”, I was fortunate to come under the mentorship of USAF Master Sergeant Walter Korwevo, an older and dedicated veteran cop who would knock on any door and put himself (and me) in all kinds of danger to carry out his duty. To have experienced myself what it was like to be shot didn’t exactly make it easy to serve with him at first. He was one of the bravest guys I ever knew.
Like any law enforcement officer I have ever known, the kind of dedication and bravery the nation witnessed last week in Dallas, Texas is anything but uncommon. We see it exemplified week after week and year after year all over our country. In fact it is so common, so expected, that our otherwise vigilant media seldom find it worthy of their touted attention. Much more attractive and headline-worthy is the one-in-ten-thousand instance of a story which seems to extol the possible innocence of some dope-infused miscreant who got himself “abused” by those trying to protect the public from such as he; cases in which unproven grievances get more attention than gratitude for the men and women who don their uniforms every day to make our ever-more-dangerous streets safe for citizens.
My question is mostly this: Why do we tolerate, even encourage the kind of behavior which is justified because of some notion of 1st amendment consideration when what we are really seeing is the very erosion of constitutional order and the approach of virtual anarchy.
As for me and my family, we applaud the responders in Dallas (and in other places around the country) and the citizens and community leaders who support them. I wish we could multiply Chief David Brown a hundred fold and distribute him among other U.S. cities.