Sunday, July 17, 2016

On Cop Shootings, The Second Amendment, and Black Lives Matter

I saw the funeral procession yesterday for Officer Zamarripa.  I did not know that Saturday was the last funeral--I actually thought the funerals had finished in North Dallas and Plano on Wednesday. I was working in that area on those days and heard the road closures on the radio.  So as I headed down I-20 to Arlington yesterday I was initially stunned to see that the eastbound entrance to the freeway was again closed and that people who had parked their cars along side the highway were climbing the hill to face the freeway.

And my initial thought was irritation.  Another protest--another excuse to tie up traffic and inconvenience the populace over grievances.  But as I carefully merged into bumper to bumper traffic headed west,  I saw first the American flags of the people standing on the overpasses, and then the American flag atop the fire trucks, and then the TxDOT sign telling me that there was another Dallas Police Department funeral. 

Then I saw them--on the opposite side of the freeway.  The motorcycle procession was first--hundreds of motorcycle cops riding two abreast with their lights flashing.  Behind that were hundreds of cars of law enforcement.  Sheriffs and local police had come from as far away as Jefferson County (about 90 miles from Houston) Harris County (Houston, Texas which is about 4 hours away), Wichita Falls, Texas, San Angelo, Texas.  Last night the news reported that 300 law enforcement had come from all over the nation and from Canada to attend the last funeral of the last police officer killed in the shoot out at El Centro campus.

I have a family member working at El Centro so this shooting has touched me personally more than most. I have prayed for the families and for the wounded, but something about seeing that procession in person yesterday touched me more than any news story.   It took me an hour and 15 minutes to make a 20 minute commute, but by the time I arrived I was so moved that the time spent sitting in traffic seemed inconsequential compared to what was happening around me.

This week on Facebook and Twitter I saw a lot of posts from Black Lives Matter supporters using the argument that it may be true that all lives matter but if there are a series of houses in a neighborhood and one is on fire, you concentrate on the one that is burning down--not the others that are fine--even though in theory all houses matter equally.  From their perspective, the issues of injustice against blacks trump all other considerations.

But if you apply that logic, the people with their houses on fire right at this moment are the law enforcement.  We lost five souls on Thursday who went to work and never came home.  They were doing traffic control for a peaceful protest when a gunman ambushed them.  As I write this today, 3 more officers at least are dead in Baton Rouge.  So if the issue is imminent need, the imminent need is for safety for law enforcement since we have lost at least 8 in a week and a half.

Although it enrages BLM for anyone to say this--ALL lives matter.  A life in a uniform is not worth intrinsically less than the life of a civilian.  Wholesale war on the police is a war on the fabric of society.  It cannot be tolerated; it cannot be excused.

I don't know what the answers are.  I know what they are not.  The answer is not more gun control.  A madman in Paris just drove a truck through a crowd and killed over 80 people.  A citizen with a gun might have been able to stop him.  A citizen with a concealed carry permit DID stop a criminal armed with an AK-47 in Desoto (a suburb of Dallas) this week after the criminal robbed a business and customers patronizing the business.

The answer is not to stop freedom of assembly.  The constitution guarantees that, along with freedom of speech, and press and religion.  As long as the assembly is peaceful, citizens have a right to gather.

The answer is not to suspend the constitution.  The constitution keeps our republic functioning.

The only answer may be to return to respect for human life--a respect that all of us have long since abandoned in a society that focuses on ourselves.

And as a part of that, we have to respect the law.  We have a society where the laws apply only to some and not to all and certainly not equally.  Our society is now brazen enough that the director of the FBI had the boldness to declare that Hillary Clinton had broken scores of laws and yet she would not be prosecuted.  So we are now a nation of lawlessness and a nation of lawlessness leads to violence and totalitarianism--which is where we are headed next.

The Bible describes law enforcement as instruments of God.  Paul did not write his oft-quoted description of law enforcement to a world where law enforcement was perfect.  In fact, he wrote it to a world where law enforcement was a thoroughly corrupt arm of a thoroughly corrupt world government, yet he entreated Christians to respect the authority of police.  If  the apostle Paul, who was unjustly imprisoned for years on end, beaten repeatedly without cause, and finally executed for being a Christian, could encourage us to honor the government and its law enforcement entities, surely we living in a free nation with elected officials of our own choosing and a system of checks and balances on abuse of power can honor and respect those who maintain order in our country.

Pray for the families of the officers who died a few days ago in Dallas.  Pray for the families of those in Baton Rouge who died today.  Pray for America.  If we don't change course we won't survive.

Alexandra Swann has a master's degree in history with emphasis on the French Revolution. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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