The war on law enforcement continues, and that’s a sad commentary for the times we live in.
The local Peace Officer Memorial ceremony will be Wednesday morning at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. The timing coincides with the shooting death of Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen, 57, last Sunday night and the four-year anniversary of the shooting deaths of Hattiesburg police officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate. The program is scheduled for 10 a.m. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will be the guest speaker.
But the timing of any law enforcement memorial would coincide with the line-of-duty death of law enforcement officers somewhere across the country just about any day. That’s because it’s happening almost every day. The coverage of each death is mostly local, though, and if they make national news, it’s a footnote, then on to “more pressing news.”
What’s particularly chilling about the shooting death of McKeithen is that it was unprovoked. It wasn’t part of an altercation or an attempted arrest. It was just a cowardly teenager walking up behind the man in the police department parking lot and shooting him in the back as he was about to start his shift.
That’s happening more and more … it’s like police are being stalked and hunted.
For those who hate law enforcement, the most amazing thing was how the young thug — and we’re not even going to give him what he wants by printing his name — smiled and taunted McKeithen’s hordes of brothers and sisters in blue who were gathered outside the police station as he was escorted in after being arrested.
In every ride-along that we’ve ever been on, the most impressive thing we’ve seen is the restraint that officers show in the face of those who are trying to get them to react. They have the skills and the tools to take down any mouthy thug, but only a fraction of a percentage ever do … and when that happens, it makes huge news and then all police get portrayed as out-of-control, power-hungry jerks.
Those are out there, and it’s important to weed them out, but it’s dishonest and disingenuous to suggest that’s just the way people in law enforcement are. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most are hard-working folks with a servant’s heart who just want to raise their families in a safe community — just like the rest of us.
Yes, we have had some high-profile tiffs with people in law enforcement. But that doesn’t mean we are anti-law enforcement. One can have disagreements with individuals without being disagreeable with the profession as a whole. Those who say otherwise are the same kind of people who called someone a racist for disagreeing with President Obama’s policies.
We have a long, strong track record of supporting law enforcement. They’re in our prayers.