Over the Christmas holiday, a drive-byÂ gunman shot and wounded a Jacksonville, FL firefighter. With the recent law enforcement killings and given the hate that has been fueled in the past weeks, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me. All of the incidents in recent years toward firefighters are going to start becoming more commonplace because the permission has been granted. Â In New York alone,Â the NYPD wasÂ threatened with violence over 40 times in recent days.Â It is open season on public safety.
I was reading some stories on the article and found links to a few news outlets who say hateful rhetoric by protesters has no part in creating this environment. I find it incredulous that any legitimate media source would say that, given Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s social media accountsÂ referencedÂ #michaelbrown and #ericgarner in the same breath as statements like, “They takeÂ one of ours, let’s take two of theirs”. Â Protesters are chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops!”, but hey, the protests have nothing to do with the situation. Â And of course, the protests and riots in Ferguson, MO; no, none of this had anything to do with the current situation. No, we are asked to ignore the obvious- lawlessness and violence is threatening our nation’s first responders andÂ those with some responsibility for denouncing it have only peripherally done so. Â They certainly have not come out against the criminals with the same viciousness that they went after law enforcement a few weeks ago.
I was readingÂ the comments on another series of articles the other day having nothing to do with these tragedies, and a trollÂ was emphatically making the case of why firefighters and cops were “sponges”, and “union thugs”, and certainly not deserving of their pensions. Â The language he was using to bait people into the argument just made me click out of the site- I have a rule not to feed the trolls – but I could feel it in my gut and wanted to respond. Â People like that, however, can’t be swayed by logic. Â They have a zealous guard on what they perceive to be the truth, without considering that they have anything but a true handle on the facts.
I like to believe that we are still the good guys. When some are bad,Â theyÂ give us all a black eye, but it still doesn’t make us as a whole, bad. Â But to those who are already unbalanced, or to those whose information comes in a sound bite, we in public service are the enemy.
We can’t give in to their cynicism, and we must continue to be there for the vulnerable, the under-served, and those in need of immediate help. Â We must stay true to our path. Â Our community is not the enemy just because a few haters are, any more than we are all bad firefighters or cops because a few do the wrong things. Â But that said, we live in dangerous times when even our elected public officialsÂ and our civic “leaders” will feed us up for cannon fodder to make themselves look good, to whom? Criminals? Abusers of our compassion? The embittered? The haters? Â Our media andÂ Â popular culture may revere overpaid athletes who beat their wives, may reward CEOs who criminally manipulate the system for gain, or idolizeÂ peopleÂ who whore themselves on reality TV, but we must also realize in those generalities, there are also good people who don’t make the news.
We may be conveniently unable to fight back, but we must continue to stand for what is right in society, and in that, our role as servants and the line between chaos and community. Â Don’t give in, and always remember that we need to stick together. Even when weÂ aren’t sure of everyone else, we still have each other. Â KTF-FTM.