Increasingly there are stories of college students complaining about being ‘victimized’ on campus. They claim that universities and colleges need ‘safe places.’  Unbelievably, administrators are taking their pleas seriously and drastic measures are being taken.

I wonder what would happen if those students who do not feel ‘safe’ on campus because of micro-aggressions were to ride with the Chicago Police in a beat-car just one-night and experience real micro-aggressions.  What feelings would stir if they stood for hours as protestors mocked, taunted, intimidated and filmed them as is routinely being done to police officers today?

It is not natural to go to work and stand for hours as someone’s punching bag.

How would college students feel if they were in our shoes?  The letters PTSD come to mind.

The first moment an officer enters a squad car, they may be racing to:

  • A domestic battery
  • Dealing with a person on PCP
  • Called on to comfort a child victim of a criminal sexual assault
  • Investigate a traffic accident with fatalities
  • And then, respond to a man-with-a-gun call.

Emotional stress of the job can, and will affect the best of us because we are human. We are NOT machines with the ability to ignore daily exposure to violence, dehumanization and betrayal by our own leaders.

 

Routine exposure to ‘unsafe’ environments gnaws at one’s spirit.  A quote from Fredrich Nietzsche states, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster … for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

Cops see, feel, taste, touch and smell evil routinely, in other words they, “gaze long into the abyss.”

In a recent conversation with a Chicago Cop who was on the scene of a nine-year old who was lured into an alley and shot execution style, his despair was obvious.  Through his blank stare he said, “I kept thinking of my grandson who is the same age.”

This cop had over twenty-five years on the job and the “abyss” was calling him as it eventually does to all first responders.

He spoke of the stress he felt dealing with recent protestors downtown. He continued, citing that one agitator got in many officers’ faces taunting them while three others filmed the taunts.  He angrily said, “I felt like I was handcuffed!  It was unbearable.”  I told him that we are the current public punching bag.

The anger people feel toward their government is being taken out on police who represent government, to them.  When is it acceptable to walk up to someone in a public place, stand inches away from their face, and taunt them?

If the protestors tried this on politicians emerging from a government building, police would be called to arrest them.

If they were unwise enough to try it on local gangs it would land them in an emergency room or their grave.

Officers recognize that stress is part of their profession, but repeated exposure to violence, death and sin is dangerous.  Repeated stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How many officers properly maintain themselves physically, spiritually and psychologically in the face of this chronic stress? I’m guessing not enough.  Further, officers are afraid to reveal their pain because they fear ridicule, and rejection from peers, and stripping of their police powers from the agency’s administrators.

Where can they turn for help?

For some cops it is too much. They end their own lives in a moment of despair. Little do most of them realize the result on their loved-ones. Too often, their loved ones are marginalized and ignored by peers and their agencies!

The officer’s pain and anguish is unwittingly transferred to those who loved them the most. They are left behind to straighten-out unresolved financial, legal and relationship messes left behind.

Police Officers, now more than ever, have become pariahs in our culture. They are political pawns of corrupt and incompetent politicians, activist groups, community organizers, clergy, and the media, all hell-bent on increasing their power and influence.



 

Too often, leadership is failing us miserably.  According to Dr. Jonathan Shay, who devoted his life to helping another group of pariahs, Viet Nam vets with PTSD, the three major causes of it are:

  1. Exposure to trauma
  2. BETRAYAL BY LEADERSHIP
  3. De-humanizing the enemy.

We need to circle the wagons to welcome and encourage real leaders who are willing to join us.  Please know and remind your brothers and sisters that confidential help is only a phone call away.

View these online videos.  The Mantherapy one even offers humor, which is tough to find with this subject.

  • Google Soylent Green – Watch any of his videos. You’ll identify with them.
  • Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Video from the Kenosha Police Department “Doors” on youtube.com
  • Funny videos at mantherapy.org

More cops are dying from the issues discussed in this article than are murdered by criminals.

REMEMBER:  Every one of us is broken in one way or another and we must help each other.  Increasingly, awareness is being created regarding the issues facing law enforcement.  Let’s not lose another one of us to suicide.

At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.

AMERICA

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