“Stop saying ‘It’s what they signed up for.’ No one signs up for anything hoping to be hated, injured or killed. They signed up to make a difference.” – Guardians of the Thin Blue Line

It was a year ago this past week that five Dallas police officers were murdered at the hands of another whack-job lunatic intent on making the twisted, distorted claim that all law enforcement officers are bad. Such a claim is like most others being declared by people who wouldn’t know truth if they stepped in it and who feel it necessary to act according to every Facebook soundbite that suits their cockeyed views. It’s a deadly game we’re talking about here, one that should never be played.

Since last July, what happened in Dallas also happened, albeit on a smaller scale, in Baton Rouge, Putnam County Georgia, Richmond Virginia and Orlando, just to name a few. And, in New York City this past Wednesday morning, another officer was ambushed and murdered in her patrol car for no reason other than pure hatred. I honestly don’t know how we got to a point in America where killing those we ought to appreciate the most is becoming some sort of pastime … not to mention a notch on the belt for an evil societal fringe. As tempting as it is to tell you where I think this trend began, I’ll refrain. Just know this – no supposed leader in this country should ever use his words to provoke the worst among us to endanger any police officer. There is plenty of innocent blood to be found on the hands of those who side with criminals at the expense of men and women whose only desire is to protect others. That any elected official would create a culture of killing is repulsive at best and damnable at worst. Same is true for anyone harassing a police officer for doing his or her job … including such crazy claims as being some sort of unaccountable citizen of the universe or that laws somehow don’t apply because you’re a self-ordained, wild-eyed anarchist. It’s wrong, deadly and has no place in a civilized society.

According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, from 2007 through 2016, 38 percent of all law enforcement deaths were murders of some kind. While that number stayed about the same year to year through the decade, the increase in murders of law enforcement officers, most by firearms, increased 56 percent from 2015 to 2016. As alarming, eight multiple-shooting death incidents claimed the lives of 20 officers in 2016, tied with 1971 for the highest total of any year since 1932. Those incidents, as mentioned above, include the five officers killed in Dallas and three more killed in Baton Rouge during a 10-day span last July.

Most of you reading this have had some sort of experience with the police. I have if for no other reason than I tend to think I’m Mario Andretti from time to time. And, on one occasion for whatever dopey reason, I let my registration expire and got a ticket for it. Other than using my frustration to do a bit of hyperbolic self-scolding, I recognized that the officers were simply doing their job and that was that. Same, I’m sure, goes for you. As for the folks out there who break the law and then label the attending officer as malicious or not adhering to the constitution, a simple fine will never be enough. Causing a ruckus and going to jail will though which is about as crazy as crazy gets. Before you think these folks reside in some faraway place, you should know there are a few right here in Waxahachie. You’ll recognize them by their arrogant strut, bombastic theatrics and choreographed outbursts of phony belligerence. They are entertaining in ways similar to a train wreck. Go figure.

So, to the law enforcement communities in Ellis County, I say carry on doing the admirable work you do and making the difference you make. The tide of hatred and anger aimed at you is unfounded, unreasonable and unacceptable to all but a minority of people who most assuredly will call you when they’re in trouble. My prayer is that you remain safe by being diligent in the pursuit to fulfill your calling and that you’ll keep your eyes on those you instinctively know are out to harm you.

Regarding the vast majority of us, you have our respect, admiration and support. May what happened in Dallas on July 7, 2016 never happen again and may you feel less fear, not more, when you put on the badge and enter harm’s way. Above all, may you forever be able to come home to your families at the end of every shift.

From our hearts to yours, thank you.