We have all been on a traffic stop where the driver's response to a request for their ID is that they left it at home. We know that's only half the statement. The rest goes like this: "I left it at home because I have warrants open for my arrest and I don't want you to know who I am."
We challenge half-statements when we hear them on the street. Why don't we react the same way when we hear them from a fellow officer? I wonder...
The unfortunate reality is that there are snakes in our midst. They seek self-glorification. They have no respect for others or for authority. To them it's all about me. You could probably say the exact same words about 9 out of the last 10 people whom you have taken to jail.
Yet, too often, we are afraid to confront the snakes. We are afraid to call them out and challenge their evil deeds. We fear that they will seek retaliation against us, whom they will then see as an enemy. I don't need any extra aggravation in this job. Just let me get to the end of the shift and go home, you think. Somebody else can deal with this jerk.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
I will always remember the first time I saw that movie. It was at the home of a fellow cop. I was on an assignment with Omaha PD and staying with a buddy while there.
My Dad landed at Normandy on D-Day +4. He fought through the Battle of the Bulge and on to Berlin. The war changed him greatly, according to Mom. He taught me with words and by his example.
What struck me about the movie? At the invasion of Normandy, I saw men fight seemingly insurmountable odds and surrender their lives pursuing a goal that they judged both good and noble. They gave everything to fight for what they believed to be right. It was at that precise moment in time that I understood what my Dad had truly lived to teach me.
Right is right; wrong will always be wrong. Honor God, your country and your family. Never give up fighting for that which is right. Never. Thousands of heroes have given their lives in defense of our country and our way of life. We can never repay the debt that owed for what the members of our military did (and continue to do) for all of us. Allowing evil to prevail discredits all that our forefathers have fought and died to provide.
Dad taught the lesson about conscience this way, "Every day I must look myself in the mirror when I shave. I want to be proud of what I see there."
Are you proud of what you see? If not, what will you do to change it?
At times, life has setbacks so severe that I wonder if I can recover and go forward. I am reading a book right now on improving personal resiliency to adversity. It is thought-provoking and enlightening, to say the least.
I have recently learned that a fellow officer knowingly filed a false police report about me which is highly disturbing, to say the least. One of the two people mentioned earlier has been forced out of a very lucrative employment contract with his city well ahead of schedule because the officials have recognized his misdeeds and flawed style.
What goes around comes around, so they say. The snakes will ultimately answer for what they have done. I do not need to concern myself with retribution. They will answer to a much high authority at some point in the future.
It has been said that for evil to win, all that the good people need to do is nothing.
WHAT TO DO NOW: If you have been lured to become a snake, reverse course immediately. How do you know? If you are exhibiting any of the traits listed earlier on a regular basis, you may well be in the water. Consider this: you should be able to recount what you have done as a cop to your spouse, your parents or your pastor without apology. If you cannot, something has probably gone awry.
If you must associate with a snake, keep your distance. Learn to recognize them. Don't give them ammunition or the ability to feed their repulsive behavior. You might be able to help them get back on the right track. Maybe not. Rely on your faith and your heart to make that call. But know who and where the snakes are. Avoid becoming ensnared in their web of evil.
If you are too green to have experienced the rattlesnake(s) in your own camp, just know that they are there. Stay on guard.