Unfortunately the acronym LODD is one that every cop knows; “Line of Duty Death”. Over the last two years, many of your writers for Officer.com have addressed this growing tend with suggestions, tactics and strategies. In 2010 there was a 37% increase. Today, it’s up 21% and fearfully growing. It’s anyone’s guess as to the real cause or causes, but I’m going to give you my suspicion. It’s actually a confluence of factors. Hopefully I will hear back from you on this for your opinion counts…
“The cause of evil things is money.”
Right after 9/11 I was in Washington, D.C., with an educational leader for Saudi Arabia and we were doing a comparative study of government (ours v. theirs). I remember asking him why Arabs hated us, or so it seemed. He replied, “We love the American people, we just hate your government; it’s corrupt”. I was taken back a bit with his comment. Didn’t thieves get their hands cut off for stealing, heads chopped for moral indiscretions, and the Royal Family of Saud rule by violence? I chalked up his opinion as one of perspective. My friend went back to the Middle East and I continued on with my law enforcement career, but his words never strayed far from my thoughts.
I was never one to think of conspiracies or really subscribe to them having always been indoctrinated that those who perpetuate the idea of them are nuts. About two years ago I read the book “Conspiracy Theory” by Jesse Ventura. For those of us who grew up watching him in the ring or movies we know he is a media hound in his own right, but after reading what he wrote his arguments for the insanity of the last decade made a lot of sense compared to what our so-called “elected officials” wanted us to believe. The big money put into campaigns by the banking and financial industry, voting irregularities, global policing responsibility, and elected officials seemingly listening to the minority when enacting sweeping legislation and not paying attention to the majority; politicians indicted all over the place, etc. (Want to see who bought your Congressman or Woman? See the link below and Follow the Money). What the hell is going on here? We live in turbulent times, really.
Decade of Disaster
Over the last ten years look at all the crap that has been heaped on America, and then ask yourself how have Congress and the Office of the President contributed to this stuff?
- Intelligence failure leading to 9/11
- Questionable motivations leading to the Invasion of Iraq in ‘03
- Hundreds of millions of our tax dollars squandered in Afghanistan due their corruption.
- Thousands of our troops killed, and tens of thousands wounded in a decade long war with no end in sight.
- Federal screw-up with Katrina response.
- Near economic collapse in ’08.
- The free bailout of Wall St. (why hasn’t anyone gone to jail for this or at least had their a$% kicked for writing free checks with no accountability?)
- The housing market disintegration – again, I ask why we don’t see any banking executives laying unconscious knocked out in the middle of Wall Street? I’m still looking – I don’t see anyone.
- Gasoline at $4.00 a gallon (rising cost of goods, etc.)
- The Town hall screaming matches last summer over healthcare.
- Oh, and the latest, ex-Congressman Weiner showing his weiner.
Which brings me to another point – If I flash my genitalia over Twitter, or anywhere in public for that matter, I lose my job, instantly. Not weeks later due to political pressure “from both sides of the aisle”. It’s called a violation of “Public Trust”.
Talk is Cheap
Somewhere at this very moment there is a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine who, at the tender age of 18, is being taught the finer principles of true leadership by a hardened veteran, probably 25 years of age. Leadership and Public Trust to them is the “real friggin deal”, not just some cool phrase used by elected officials at a 4th of July celebratory speech. Within a few short months these kids will be putting those principles into place as they lead a combat patrol, on foot, through some hellhole on Earth. Or how about that beat cop (the same one the politicians are trying to take their pensions from) who on a 90 degree night this Summer will stand outside of a home hearing people scream for help inside and have to make the decision whether to force entry into the unknown and possibly never make it home to see their spouse and children or take the risk and rescue strangers? Public Trust is horrifically real to them and the iron and salt they taste is from the blood, sweat and tears they shed in defense of it.
The electoral rules need to change. A minimum requirement for entrance into Congress or The Presidency should be completion of military service. Until they’ve paid their pound of flesh, or got blisters wearing those boots, they “Need Not Apply”. When you see a trigger pulled, you are less likely to talk about it in glorifying terms. If our government officials had to send their kids onto the battlefield you better believe they would be less likely to give the order.
Honest Abe and Crazy Nixon
Historians tell us that there are two periods in U.S. History where the question of whether the federal government really controlled the nation was unknown. President Lincoln asked that very question of his General Staff during the darkest moments of the Civil War. Reportedly he was told that the soldiers will follow orders, but not without some hesitation. The second period was during the Nixon Administration. Again, the answer was the same, but with concern. In both cases history played itself out and we know the ending.
I fear we may be entering a third questionable time frame. The reason why we haven’t had massive civil disturbance is because most Americans, although upset over what they see, are still the significant majority as compared to those who suffered directly. I didn’t lose anyone I loved by the 9/11 attacks. My kids didn’t go to Iraq or Afghanistan. I don’t live in Louisiana and I still have my house and job (Thank God). However, with each huge failure of government leadership the discontent of permissible governance is growing. Let gasoline go to some ridiculous dollar amount per gallon and that will affect the average person in food, energy, job loss, amounting to real, tangible, pain. Then there will be real problems. For the moment though, public anger is idling, but I believe we can see the storm clouds on the horizon.
Complicity by Extension
So why are cops violently dying at higher rates today than what we have seen in recent history? I think our elected officials contribute to the stressors that more and more people are suffering from and when tempers flare, and the tragic elements are right, something happens that places a policeman or woman at the scene. Your badge becomes a representative target symbolizing the idiots who occupy the “Peoples House”. The perpetrator didn’t shoot John or Jane Smith, they killed the Officer who represents everything wrong about government. For the criminals who would use violence anyway, but seem to shoot quicker without regard for the police (or what will happen in response) I think they see the legitimacy of the governing institution as being a joke. If you don’t respect the notion of an institution of government, or fear it, then those on the other end have a problem.
I hope I’m wrong with everything I’ve said and I would like to hear from you. If any elected officials should read this, please stop Tweeting and for God sake keep your clothes on.
About The Author:
Keith R. Lavery, M.A., CMAS, is a full-time criminal justice educator teaching at a public Career Center, University System of Ohio. He has facilitated and designed criminal justice, security, and law enforcement courses of instruction at the post-secondary level. Keith had a very diverse police career spanning nearly 20 years, working in urban and rural law enforcement settings with assignments ranging from patrol to specialized functions, to include HIDTA Drug Unit, CLANLAB Enforcement Team, SRT and Supervision. In 2008, Keith was awarded the Certified Master Anti-Terrorism designation from the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board. Academically, he has completed post-graduate course work dedicated toward a Doctorate in Education. Keith is currently the Law Enforcement Liaison for the Cleveland, Ohio, Chapter of ASIS International.