"The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government."
George Washington's Farewell Address 1796
In America, the Law Applies to Everyone
What would you think if you were driving down the road, as I was a few days ago, and a speeding car in front of you was riding the bumper of the car in front of him, hoping it would get out of the way so he could shoot on down the road?
When that didn't happen, the speeder shifted to the other lane to ride the bumper of that car. He continued to shift from lane to lane until finally one car moved ahead enough to allow him to squeeze by.
He hadn't gone very far until he again encountered both lanes blocked and he again rocked from lane to lane until he again got through. Then he sped off at over 80 (in a 50 mph zone).
Would you feel angry at him for driving so fast and aggressively and endangering everyone's life? Would you think, "What's wrong with him? When's he going to grow up?"
What if I told you it was a policeman in an unmarked car without his lights or siren? Then what would you feel?...angrier still, knowing that he should know better and should not abuse our trust in him?
I'll tell you what I felt. I know a number of police officers and all are upstanding people who willingly put themselves in harm's way to protect us, not endanger us.
So why do a few undermine the moral authority of the professional police officers by such behavior? I asked a policeman that question, and he said, "Well, they know they're not going to get stopped.
"Sometimes we have a reason to be in a hurry, but not enough of a reason to use our lights and siren; but as for me, I tap my horn or flash my headlights to show I am a police officer, and people move over for me.
"I'll be honest with you; sometimes you are just late for a meeting or just want to get home."
Another officer told me that he was stopped out of state for speeding and he showed the patrolman his police ID saying: "Maybe this will help." The patrolman replied, "You of all people ought to know better," then wrote him up.
For our common good, we need to appeal to all officers not to allow one another to behave in a way they would tickets others for. As Washington says above, the law applies to everyone.
Other professions voluntarily self-police ethical behavior. If our officers will stand back and see the damage abuse of any kind does to their public perception, love of country and pride will cause them to rein it in.
Art Hall, Publisher
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