Response to ‘A Cop’s Wife’
I don’t do much blogging anymore, but Kristi Neace’s post inspired me to get back at it. She wrote an impassioned editorial on what it’s like to be married to a police officer in the wake of what’s happening in Ferguson, MO. I strongly encourage you to read it before continuing. I wanted to address Mrs. Neace directly in hopes that she reads it and can make sense of the outcry.
Mrs. Neace, I can understand this viewpoint as it makes perfect sense from your side. But you have to take time to flip that coin. I only ask that you consider a line of logic lifted right from your writing.
You asked us to stop and think what it would be like to work over 80 hours a week. You also brought up the night terrors experienced if any sleep is had at all. Most notably, you wrote about how the stresses of the job take a toll on the minds and psyches of police officers.
Honestly, I’ve thought about all these things. I’ve done much empathizing about it. But I wonder if you considered the fact that someone afflicted with all that you mentioned might be problematic with a gun in hand. If you took the veil of police officer from that person you described, would you want THAT person to be armed? We’re expected to believe police officers somehow will always rise above that toll on their psyche. But they’re regular people under severe stress with deadly weapons. Can you understand how that would be scary for unarmed citizens?
As you stated, police officers routinely miss meals and important family functions only to deal with thugs and drunks causing carnage. I’m neither of those but was born and live in a place where that exists. By happenstance, I may look and dress like those drunk thugs because we have the same influences though we chose different paths. Have you considered my unease when a person with a handheld WMD that’s already worked 80 hours is looking for a drunk thug that looks and dresses like me?
So I get it. I’m sure when you hear someone on TV exclaim “They left Mike Brown in the middle of the street for hours!”, you shake your head cause you know that’s likely because they can’t tamper with the evidence of what is now a murder scene. You probably see a tweet saying “These cops hate your black skin!” and want to furiously respond with #NotAllCops. I get it. And the frustration you feel with people that don’t get it is warranted. But you don’t truly know their frustration either.
Please take this journey in my head for a moment. You said your husband wanted to be a police officer since he was a boy. He grew up to be a man that reached that commendable goal. But a police officer is a person that is given carte blanche to rule over civilians with an iron fist (an iron fist that fires bullets, might I add). You can’t tell me a person that’s wanted that type of lordship since childhood is not stricken with at least a hint of megalomania. Couple that with the mental instability you worked hard for us to sympathize with. Imagine how it feels for me to have to deal with a person heralded because of a uniform that’s on the brink of psychosis and carrying both grandeur delusions and tools for ending my life. Sounds a bit rough, does it not?
Unfortunately you and I can’t immediately do anything about the ungodly hours and the mental health issues that go along with police work. But there are legislators that can. If you and I can put pressure on them to allocate funds limiting police officers to 12 hour days and to treat depression, bipolar disorders, and the like as if they’re real problems, then maybe we can make some progress. But you and I also have to come together and get assault rifles out of the hands of police, get real sensitivity training administered, and make them live in the communities they’re sworn to protect… but you didn’t say any of those things. The empathy you want readers to feel for police officers and their families should be packaged with your disgust with a teenager being murdered unjustly by one… that didn’t happen in what you wrote. Instead, you gave us bible scriptures from which “Thou shalt not kill” is a really big thing in.
So I hope you understand that what you’re saying is merited. But it’s imperative to understand both sides. It doesn’t seem like you’ve done that as meticulously as you think. Having to deal with thugs and drunks’ carnage all day after missing your daughter’s recital doesn’t give him or her the right to shoot me on my way home from NOT causing those things. I’d like to think I added some perspective as having it is the only way we are all going to fix this. If not, we’ll just have this conversation again next time.