I’ve been watching the TV show, Cops, quite a bit lately. Spike TV has been running marathons on Fridays and Saturdays. I’ve watched the show in the past, but with a much different attitude than what I have now.
I used to take joy in watching people get thrown to the ground, shot with a Taser, and eventually handcuffed. I would shake my head in disbelief as people constructed lies to try and cover their criminal activity. I would call them stupid and deserving when they resisted arrest, and were forced to their knees by officers with guns drawn.
I watch the show now with a deep sadness in my heart. Policemen encounter people during their worst moments. Some in desperation. Some in the throes of addiction. Most all of them with little or no hope. I watched one the other night where a guy wouldn’t put his weapon down, because he wanted the officers to kill him. I believe they call that suicide by cop. Once they had him in custody, he said there was no reason to live anymore.
That one literally brought tears to my eyes.
There is another world that most of us never see. A world where desperate people are fighting to remain alive. A world where men and women go to work with the possibility that they might never make it home to their families. A world where any one decision can be life or death.
The heroes in this world aren’t athletes or actors. They might be the ones making the big money, but catching a ball or being chased by monsters on a green screen can’t possibly compare to those who selflessly serve the public.
I’m a sports fan. I enjoy watching football and basketball, but it angers me to see millionaires act like big babies on the field when there are officers in the streets being murdered. Or when sons and daughters come back from war in a casket instead of standing on their own two feet. It really puts it all in perspective.
Cops don’t get paid enough. Teachers don’t get paid enough. Military men and women don’t get paid enough. We freak out if we have the opportunity to see a celebrity walking down the street, but when was the last time we thanked a solider or police officer for putting their lives on the line every day?
The amazing thing is that most of them do their jobs without even expecting a simple thank you.
I’m smart enough to realize there are two sides to every story. There are some bad cops out there. I’m sure there are also people in the military with some not so heroic intentions. That doesn’t mean they are all bad.
I don’t know how my salary compares to policemen or military personnel, but I hope and pray they make more than I do.
When you lie down to sleep tonight, say a prayer for the police officer patrolling the dark streets in order to protect the innocent.
Remember the men and women, thousands of miles away, who only wish for the chance to hold their babies for Christmas.
Let’s remember who the true heroes are.