As a fan of old Westerns, I remember several where bad guys were coming to take over the town. Citizens ran to the sheriff, demanding: “You’ve got to save us. Our businesses will be looted! Our homes will be burned!”

The sheriff would vow to do his job, but there was little chance that he could defeat the gang alone. And the citizens refused to help. “We’re just storekeepers,” they whined. “Protecting us is your job.”

Somehow, of course, with his fast gun, courage and wits, the sheriff defeated the outlaws. The cowardly citizens came out from under their beds to thank him. But the sheriff just rode away, leaving the town defenseless.

The point: it isn’t just our law enforcement officers who are responsible for maintaining law and order. That responsibility belongs to all of us. Yes, they get paid and they have the training. But unless citizens back them up, they’ll do what has to be done and then walk away from us.

We don’t have to be out there on the front line. But we do have to be behind them. They need to know that we will back them and their decisions, that we appreciate them, and that we know how difficult their jobs are.

Will they always make the correct decision in times of stress, where delaying even seconds could cost lives? Of course not. None of us would. But 99% of our officers (like bank tellers, doctors, etc.) are good, decent people trying hard to do the right thing.

If there are bad officers (very few, and none that I know of locally) they need to be fired. But show the rest that you support them.

Bruce Many


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