What can we do about attacks on officers, deputies and troopers?
Within just a few days, four police officers — two in New York City and two in Forrest City, Arkansas — were shot by gunmen. A grim fact of life for law enforcement personnel is that by the time you read this, it may be outdated. Attacks on police officers and sheriff’s deputies have become all too common.
Thankfully, all four of the wounded officers are expected to recover. The New York City gunman surrendered after emptying his pistol in a police station. In Arkansas, officers responding to a report of a man making threats at a Walmart store killed the assailant who wounded them.
The brave men and women who enforce our laws are supposed to be able to worry about protecting us, not whether they are targets. Already this year, 16 of them have died in the line of duty, however. Six of them were shot to death, with 10 others perishing from other causes, including vehicle accidents.
A significant number of law enforcement personnel killed on duty during the past few years have been victims of assailants who set out to shoot police officers. That was to blame in New York City, it has been reported. A motive for the Arkansas deaths has not yet been reported.
What can those of us being served and protected do about attacks on officers, deputies and troopers? Not much. Identifying those with grudges so intense they turn to violence is virtually impossible. Making it clear the vast majority of us support law enforcement personnel makes no impression on a sick mind — though it certainly cannot hurt.
We can help watch their backs, of course, tipping them off when we feel they may be in danger. And we can do all in our power to ensure they have protective gear such as bullet-resistant vests.
Finally, we can protest “sentencing reform” movements that allow dangerous people to stay on the street or get back out after too-short prison terms. The New York gunman had a lengthy criminal record, including a 2002 carjacking in which he shot at police and a prison term, ending in 2017, on an attempted murder conviction.
There really is little we can do to assure those who serve and protect that we are on their side. Clearly, however, we simply must do what we can.