On the evening of April 19th, after the capture of Boston marathon bomber “suspect #2” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Bostonians took to the street to celebrate. Facebookers and tweeters filled the internet with celebration. Police officers were cheered as heroes. Fallen MIT officer Sean Collier was commemorated along with the other victims of the attacks.
My call is, remember this. Remember how it felt to know that there was this veritable army of brave men and women between American civilians -- perhaps you and your family, or at least your fellow countrymen and women -- and the terrorists who had no qualms about maiming and killing them. Remember how proud you were of our police forces.
Remember this the next time you hear about some incident where a police officer has abused his authority. Remember this the next time you hear about a township or city where graft or crime has corrupted the police force and its officers. Remember this the next time you have a run in with a schmuck in uniform.
365 days a year, 24 hours a day, these men and women are out there, on the streets of America. Yes, there are racist cops, and even entire forces full of racist cops. Yes, there are corrupt cops. Yes, there are abusive cops. Yes, they piss us off. And they get headlines. And they should, because police power is great, and abuse of it is extremely dangerous. But when the next headline comes along, if you feel inclined to issue a sweeping condemnation about law enforcement, remember those cops you were so proud of, who put their lives on the line to protect American civilians. Corrupt cops and police brutality should enrage us, against the guilty party. But the guilty party is the individual (or the individuals) responsible. Not cops in general.
In Boston, cops in general were the guys out there keeping civilians safe, and dodging bullets to do it. Like cops in general do every day, all around this country. Remember that.