The other day someone posted on my Facebook page a poster celebrating the nobility of police officers. The poster said "all men are created equal…and then a few become police officers". Well, this got my dander up a bit and I commented on that post; I said empty slogans mean nothing because there are good and bad men in all walks of life, citing the example of the NY Police Chief caught trafficking in child porn. I also posted a picture of a troop plane carrying our troops to the Middle East and dryly offered that "guess these guys are somehow inferior to the police." Well, that didn't go over well with the police on the board…I attracted no "likes" and was rebuffed by a poster who cited the many challenges a Police Officer faces.
Well, anyone who has read my blog for awhile know that I have defended and praised the police for what they do. However, that does not in any way demean folks who are heroes in other occupational fields, including those who wear no uniform at all!
It seems, of late, I've seen more and more of this "banty rooster" boosterism from cops, fire fighters and EMT's. Somehow they have begun to think themselves more noble than other folks, than they are somehow above criticism, and that their jobs, above all others, test the very extremes of human tolerance. It's as if these folks are never caught hanging around a donut house and are constantly dodging bullets and that "joe civilian" all hate him and call him scum.
Any of my readers here in Arizona will have read, just since the first of the year, of a cop who had sex with a 15 year old girl, of another cop caught stealing pastries from a Quik Stop, of a cop shooting an unarmed man with his hands in the air, and a cop convicted of killing an unarmed man in a wheel chair. Then this week we find a NY Police Chief trafficking in child porn. Does this mean all cops are bad? Hell no! Most cops are good, but they are all human, and it only proves there are rotten cops and rotten military men and rotten ones in all fields of endeavor. So when cops are praised just for being cops, that they are all more noble for having chosen that profession, well that's just absurd.
Well lets talk about dodging bullets and what that proves to be worth to our society. A basic army grunt will average three to five deployments to Afghanistan during his four year career. He will be dodging bullets, IED's and for that privilege he earns $18,000 dollars a year. The average Phoenix cop makes over $72,000 a year and when his shift is over he gets to go home to wife and the kiddies. The military grunt will, if he's lucky, go back to his tent and he'll spend fully half of his service time 10,000 miles away from wife and kids.
If that same grunt decides to make a career of the military he'll retire at half of his basic pay (35,000 a year for a mid-level non commissioned officer), or $17,500 a year in retirement. That same Phoenix cop will retire with four times that amount.
Cops more noble, face more danger than our military? I don't think so. In fact I would argue that a Circle K or 7-11 night clerk in an urban ghetto faces far more danger to his life than many cops…and he does the job for minimum wage and does so unarmed!
And our life heroes aren't necessarily wearing any uniform at all!
My cancer surgeon spent twelve years in pre-med, medical school and internships before she could even lift a knife and cut into me. She had spent another twenty years honing her surgical skills so that she could recognize and excise my tumors. And those nurses in the chemo ward all had college degrees and years of training so that they could read white cell counts, steroid levels and red blood cell counts so that I wouldn't go into septic shock at the first injection of the chemo drugs. Those people were all heroes to me.
And if cops think they are treated badly, if they are offended at being called names, what is it like to be totally ignored as a 20 year old kid is carried back home in a coffin, dropped off at that military mortuary in the dead of night at Dover Air Force Base and pieced back together before he's flown home for burial? How many of you woke up this morning and said a prayer for, or even gave a thought to who died in Afghanistan last night?
My point is, when people post empty, meaningless slogans, celebrating the special nobility of cops…and suggest that other men are some how less of a hero, it is silly and insulting at the same time.