Editor’s Note: I am happy to welcome back Jim Donahue to our stable of monthly columnists. After taking a break from writing to deal with attacks on his personal credibility, Jim is back with his credibility and good name fully intact and we’re glad to have him. While Jim's stated opinions are strictly his own and do not necessarily represent those of Officer.com, its ownership or any of its employees, Jim's passion to support the law enforcement community and minimize officer risk is high and appreciated.
What Are The Promises of America?
1 We can practice any form of religion we desire – or none, at all.
2 We can keep weapons for self defense.
3 We cannot be forced to host soldiers in our homes in times of peace.
4 We are free from unreasonable searches or seizures.
5 We cannot be forced to testify against ourselves in court.
6 We will be given a speedy trial, when accused.
7 We can have a trial by jury.
8 Cruel and unusual punishments are out.
9 Rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution are not surrendered.
10 If there is any doubt, rights are retained by the states and the people.
In case you don’t recognize the list, it’s known as the BILL OF RIGHTS. These are the primary subjects of the first ten amendments to our Constitution.
From my perspective, this list is pretty solid – just as it is. But, it seems not all Americans agree. What makes me arrive at this conclusion? The way many people behave. Unfortunately, some of those who are most puzzling are brother/sister cops.
What do their actions indicate they think the above list includes more, for example:
11 We are guaranteed that we will not be offended.
12 We are promised that all aspects of life are fair.
13 We are assured that everyone will succeed, having a high self-esteem.
14 We are ensured that we may have whatever we want at all times.
15 Right & wrong, good & bad are relative terms based on unique situations.
Now maybe, in some fantasy utopian place, these things may be real. Immediately; a day at Disney World comes to mind. How sweet; but it won’t last for long.
If one embraces the aforementioned concepts, one cannot help but toss-out any hope of using COMMON SENSE to guide one’s decisions or actions in this life. You see, embracing items 11 – 15 enriches me, but at the unfair and unreasonable expense of the others with whom I share this planet.
That’s the Theory. What’s It Mean To Me?
We live in an age where being Politically Correct has caused us to act and talk stupidly – to abandon lessons society learned long ago.
Our forefathers taught us that when people come to this country, they become Americans. Yes, they bring their heritage and customs with them from the old country. They put them in the “melting pot” known asAmericaand they make us ALL stronger. We are NOT a multi-cultural country. WE ARE ALL SIMPLY AMERICANS.
We are not: African-Americans, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans or any other form of hyphenated AMERICANS. In an effort not to offend born a few years ago, we were told that slang terms to describe people of various heritages were unacceptable. What was common place in language fifty years ago is now verboten. We call that progress. Hmmmmm.
All for the sake of political correctness, our citizens came to accept a multi-cultural society because of the spread of hyphenated nationality: African-American. Sorry. We are trying to avoid offending a very small portion of a group of people by subverting our nationality by using this new term in place of the REAL definition: color. They are black. I am white. Others are yellow. Some are brown. Italian-American. French-American. German-American. There comes a point where citizens cannot be defined by skin color, skin shading, hair color, eye color, clothes they wear, etc. Yet we go out of our way to structure our language specifically not to offend ANYONE.
Color is neither good nor bad, whether it be skin, hair or my eye shade. It simply is what God gave me. Period.
Muslims in New York and New Jersey are currently all in a lather because following the devastating attacks of 9/11/01, the NYPD kept these people and the groups to which they belong under close surveillance. NOW, they are offended. So what? Thousands of families who lost loved ones on 9/11 are far more than offended.
These Muslim folks, some of whom are certainly righteously offended, act as though there is a Constitutional guarantee against being offended. HORSE FEATHERS! Whom should have been scrutinized closely following those attacks of war? Possibly we should have deployed a wave of undercover officers to infiltrateProtestantChurchesor maybe a few Catholic convents?
It is this kind of thinking that causes the TSA to perform utterly stupid, preposterous strip-searches of Jewish grandmothers and toddling children at our nations airport.
Heaven forbid, we should ever OFFEND anyone.
Where Is This Nonsense Taking Us?
In Ohio not long ago, three high school students died and two more were injured at the hands of another student who had been remanded to an alternative school because he just wasn’t cutting it in regular society. EVERYONE succeeds, right? Wrong.
Nonsense notions like this are born and carried out when young people participate in athletic events and other competitions and EVERYONE gets a blue ribbon. EVERYONE makes the team. No one can be allowed to feel like a failure (less of a success?) and let their self-esteem take a hit.
When the reality of life smacks one of this misled folks in the face (as it did inOhio), they may just explode.
There is no guarantee of success built into the Constitution… and we must stop acting as if it is.
When I went off to school, I was taught by my parents never to start a fight. But my dad was quick to add: if someone else starts a fight with me, make certain that I finish it. A good lesson indeed.
Today’s absurd educational policies deal the same punishment in school to the person defending himself from a bully as it does the aggressor who caused the problem in the first place. Are we completely loony? Not a single major religious book supports such a preposterous idea.
It’s even permeating coppery (sigh). On these very pages just recently was published a story about a Texas cop who has been charged and given a 30 day suspension for stealing food and drink from the break room refrigerator that belonged to his co-workers.
HAVE WE LOST OUR COLLECTIVE MINDS?
It’s time for each person to take a stand, individually forAmerica, for truth, for reasonable behavior and for the Golden Rule.
Right & Wrong Are NOT Situational
Too many among us behave as though we have no personal stake in truth, justice and theAmerican Wayunless we, personally, are the victim of someone else’s wrong doing. That is just plain nonsense.
Yesterday (as I type this), the TV news showed parents in Orlando allowing their teenaged kids to disembark from their vehicles in the middle of a main six-lane roadway and then weave their way through vehicular traffic to get to the door of the high school. The same parents did this on repeated days, on camera, rather than safely depositing the students in the school’s designated drop-off zone.
When confronted by a reporter, one parent said, “I was forced to do it because the line to use the drop-off zone is too long.” Harrumph. It’s not MY fault. It is not possible for me to be WRONG. I can justify everything I do by simply adjusting the line between right and wrong.
In concurrence with the recent NBA all-star game inOrlando, Nike introduced a new $220 pair of sneakers. The police had to break up an unruly crowd of HUNDREDS of people in a mall, all of whom were DEMANDING they be given a pair of the ridiculously-priced shoes even when it was known there were not enough to go around.
Each of us must take personal responsibility.
- I will wish you a Merry Christmas – no matter what your faith. I will expect you to greet me with a holiday greeting appropriate to your faith and I won’t be offended.
- I will refer to you as a Black Person – if that’s the color of your skin. I am referred to as a white person and I am not offended.
- I will be somewhat limited with the trust I place in Muslim organizations. I understand that Muslims may not openly trust me as I go about my day.
- I will defend myself and my family. I fully expect you to do the same.
- I will not be ashamed of my faith in God or Christian practice of that faith. I trust that you will not be ashamed of your faith, will hold your faith in your chosen deity as close as I hold mine and I’ll agree not to push my religion on you. I expect the same courtesy in return.
- I will endeavor to remember that every day in life, sometimes I will win and other times, I will lose. You should remember that sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. It’s not MY fault (or anyone else’s) when YOU lose.
My mother taught me that I will be judged by the company I keep. So, will you. The world is watching its Peace Keepers and everything we do. The world yearns for heroes: Jeremy Lin seems to be the guy of the moment.
Tim Tebow isn’t far off the radar screens.
The good people of the world want to know that some in our midst succeed at being the kind of person our goodness calls us to be.
Let those of us in blue start doing a better job of leading the way. How we do so will determine how the public accepts and treats us. How the public accepts and treats us has a direct effect on the threats and risks we face every day. We need to do all we can to minimize those risks.
After all, it comes down to saving just one life.
About The Author:
Jim Donahue is a native of the Midwest, getting his education at Michigan State University. He is now training patrol officers on Technology & Tactics which translates for street cops into how to use patrol car computers -- safely.
Previously, Jim was part of the Wayne County (MI) Sheriff’s Department and detailed full-time to U.S. Customs & Immigration at the Detroit/Canada border in the year following the attacks of 9/11. He has also worked as a reserve patrolman on the streets of a suburban Detroit community.
Jim recently finished a three year term as an Ambassador for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C. He is now supporting the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP.org) and the Under-100 initiative.
Jim has worked with police departments across the country on process improvement at the patrol car level, focusing on technology to improve tactics, safety, and productivity. He instructs in a variety of police academies and having taught "Technology and Tactics" to thousands of cops in-service nationally. He is an accomplished grant writer.
Jim is married to Paula and they have two children. He has six bodybuilding contests to his credit. Jim is active in his community and his church.