Illinois was dealt a crippling blow on Tuesday, September 1st 2015 when Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz of the Fox Lake Police Department was savagely murdered at the end of his midnight tour of duty. Lieutenant Gliniewicz was the first municipal police officer killed by gunfire in Illinois since 2011. In the wake of a spree of police killings nationwide which has left eight officers dead in less than two weeks, it is time to sound off.
You wouldn’t believe this by reading anything in the media, but the people of America truly support the police. The criminal element does not support the police. Certain extremes of the political spectrum do not support the police.
However, the general public supports the police. They do not like the police when they step out of bounds, but they understand the need for law enforcement. The lukewarm appreciate the need for order even though they may not fully endorse the method.
In particular, the trucking industry is a huge supporter of the police. Any truck officer who has been involved with industry for a length of time knows this all too well. Truck drivers slow down for officers on the side of the road. They put their four-ways on to slow down cars. They block lanes. They may question citations, but more often than not are professional in their disagreement. There are scores of occupational comparisons between the two professions which is why the ITEA and industry have formed such incredible working relationships.
Since the national spotlight begin focusing on the events surrounding Ferguson, MO in August 2014, the anti-police sentiment has ramped up to heights never seen before. The liberal press and social media outlets have provided platforms for voices to be heard. But let’s be clear, these are not real voices. These are a very small group of cowards cleverly using the internet to create a false impression of our culture. They hide behind screens while blood spills on the streets of America.
Never in the history of this nation can opinion be swung quite as quickly as it does now. For example, in 2008, 145 million people used Facebook. In 2013, 1.2 billion! The instant information provided through social media integration into handheld devices is astonishing. The most current trend and hashtag will exploit reality to influence culture.
Pick a 180-degree social or cultural shift in the United States during the last seven years, and ask yourself if it could have happened as quickly ten, twenty or fifty years ago. Without the internet, most likely not. Unfortunately the anti-police agenda has been the most recent and bloody culture trend yet.
In the midst of all this hostility, something incredible is stirring. As the brazen few desperately try to incite anarchy, the stalwart majority is pushing back. People are tweeting, posting, tagging and commenting their appreciation for police using the very same platform the enemies are using to tear them down. It’s a revival.
In turn, citizens are lovingly approaching police officers as never before. They thank them for their service. They express sympathies for lost comrades. They show remorse for the sins of their own society. They are opening their wallets to support the fallen. They are praying.
Ask any police officer in the northeast part of Illinois how many communications they have received from friends and family in the days following the Lt. Gliniewicz murder. It’s unprecedented. When reality strikes close to home, people can taste the bitter sacrifices being made. The heart speaks louder than mouth.
This is happening nationwide in all locations where police officers are being hunted, killed or otherwise dying in the performance of their duties. There is hope yet still.
How should good Americans and the police community respond? Turn off the news and spend time with real humans. Ignore those who post negative items about the police – unfriend and unfollow them. To engage them in debate is to give them a voice. Answer not a fool according to his folly lest you be like him yourself.
Every police officer killed in the line of duty is a tragedy, but not all are victims of this social phenomenon. This is a fallen world and unfortunately more police officers will pay the ultimate price to protect others.
But they will press on. They will continue to keep order. They will root out evil. They will not surrender.