Some are honored as the epitome of compassion as they dedicate their lives to the service of healing humankind.
Others are honored…but not so much…as they dedicate their lives and often give their lives in protecting and serving humankind.
To err is human, it is said.
Human acts are very often compassionate, courageous. But sometimes bad things happen when they could have turned out better, much better, as I said…to err is human.
There are 908,000 practicing doctors in America. God bless this bounty of compassion that we depend on, we revere. But sometimes a physician makes a misdiagnosis, maybe out of haste, maybe due to poor judgement of the symptoms…the circumstances presented. They do attempt to apply all measures “for the benefit of the sick” as their Hippocratic Oath demands. But they are human. We accept that.
Only six percent of America’s MDs were connected to any paid Malpractice settlements between 2005 and 2014. But it was only one percent of those six percent who were linked to 32 percent of malpractice settlements paid out in that period: http://tinyurl.com/hxwkccm
Other MDs defraud Medicaid, Medicare, churn patients through dubious tests, or ping pong them to other practices, sometime to the detriment, even the peril of patients. Others peddle Oxycodone like ice cream on the the 4th of July. Do we cast a shadow on the entire body of the profession as abusers for the tiny numbers that at a minimum…mislead, exploit, engage in fraud? : http://tinyurl.com/doc-bribes
We have 800,000 law enforcement officers in America today in 18,000 law enforcement agencies. Every one of them…human. They too swore an oath, an oath to serve, to protect. But they too misinterpret circumstances that present, they even at times use poor judgment. Sometimes hasty judgement, in the heat of a deadly moment.
Sometimes they may even act criminally. There are times, on the face of it, I cannot comprehend what was possibly going on in an officer’s mind. But that’s what our criminal justice system is for. Criminal justice is what cops work with every day in their jobs, and what we all need to work with when we see seemingly unfathomable acts unfold before our eyes. And not jump to judgment.
Once again there are 800,000 Police Officers…about four times the manpower of the U.S. Marine Corps. Some perhaps never should have become police officers…just as we may say about doctors.
What of your own profession? Are there “errors” in judgement? Are occasional crimes even committed? And how does the public’s reaction to these revelations make you feel when you are part of that group, when you are doing your very best, and so much adverse video is played again and again about your profession?
Are body cameras required in your job? Are there onlookers standing ready to make videos of your daily performance? What secrets lie in the shadows of so many professions? What would be revealed if lobbyists and members of Congress wore body cams?
When our loved ones are left with physical debilitations or even die due to acts by MDs, no citizen is there to make a YouTube video of the act. We don’t amplify the sad event again and again on TV. We don’t cast a wide, dark shadow over the medical profession.
Nor do we imply that these acts were carried out because certain “lives don’t matter” to these health care practitioners. We don’t take up arms and assassinate MDs, surgeons, oncologists, rob them of life, rob their families of their income, their presence, their love. That would be madness.
So too is the madness we visit upon our police, our peace practitioners for the acts of the few, whatever the error or bad judgement there may be. Never mind any inflammatory anti-cop signs of “Murderers”, any words in reference to police assassinations such as, “I don’t condone this but it is understandable”only adds subtle pressure to the assassin’s trigger.
Media is so quick to amplify police use of force to overcome resistance to arrest. Perhaps there needs to be more urgings of a need to comply with police. There is almost no mention of such need. And it would go such a long way to alleviating much violence in police/citizen contacts.
To turn on a TV or look at social media today is to see cops as predators of blacks. That law officers don’t see that all lives matter, that we are all human. But the statistics are there and they don’t lie:
From the Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Statistics:
§Police Use of Force: The Facts
§Between 2009-2012, 56,259 homicide victims were reported in the U.S.
§1,491 were the result of police use of force—an average of 372 persons per year (61% white males; 32% black males)
In New York City In 2014, officers discharged their firearms in only 42 instances out of 20 million contacts with citizens, 4.5 million calls for service and nearly 400,000 arrests.
But no dry statistics, no numbers on a page can counterbalance the emotions generated in seeing a black man shot in his car. No matter the truth in the numbers.
So many Americans do comply when they are arrested. Where are the iPhones, the Androids to record the non-violent arrests where no force is needed because no resistance is given? Is there no media demand for it? Is there no ratings bump? Is it because it doesn’t bleed, therefore…doesn’t lead? Is it not newsworthy? Make it newsworthy when citizens man-up to arrest with wise obedience.
Too many tears have been shed by mothers of community members, by mothers of Police Officers. Why not send out a plea to our communities, “So mothers don’t cry, just comply.”
Some may ask, “How can he compare a doctor to a cop?”
Because they both serve to keep us safe.
Yes, medical professionals take years of dedicated study, residency, practice, to serve humankind. They act to heal. They are the line between sickness and health, life and death in their service. And we would be lost without them.
Professional Police Officers are no less noble servants to us, for us. They are there to maintain peace and order for all of us…the foundation of civilization. They do so at great risk. In many professions OSHA demands the wearing of safety goggles, hard hats, steel tipped boots. But what other profession, in service to America’s communities, must wear…every day… bullet proof vests?
Right now policing America’s communities is becoming so fraught with danger, disrespect and mistrust that filling vacancies is becoming a very serious problem: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=96570
Our Police Officers are the thin blue line between chaos and order. They are the face of society. When the poor, the unemployed, the addicted, the angry, the lonely, the insane come in contact with police they often express their hopelessness with violence. And our police forces are expected to be the peace practitioners: social workers, psychologists, interventionists. They are expected handle all of it…every time…without error.
But beneath the badge, beneath the blue, beneath the bullet proof vests…they are only human beings…just like you.
Above, from NY Times, July 28, 2016: Tonja Garafola, widow of Brad Garafola, a deputy with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, with her children on Saturday during his funeral in Baton Rouge, La. Credit Pool photo by Travis Spradling
America’s police officers, the peace practitioners…serve for all of us.
As the note above says,
“May God guide and Protect you all each day you all Protect us!!!!”
Lee Winters, Det., NYC Transit Police Ret.,
shedding a little light wherethesundontshine
Photos are from my blog post of funerals of Det. Liu and Det. Ramos: https://leebythesea.me/2015/01/06/defusing-social-bombs/
See my sunnyside blog: https://leebythesea.me
Categories: Police, police fatalities, Police service, Police use of force, Uncategorized
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