The banded badge, shown here in an image from an NBC5 newscast, is worn in honor of fallen police. (Screen snip, YouTube, NBC5)
Two Canadian police officers are among the four dead in a shooting rampage Friday morning in Fredericton, New Brunswick not far from the U.S.-Canada border in northern Maine, the latest fatalities in what so far this year seems like a war on cops.
If it is a war, it is being waged by criminals and kooks, not by law-abiding, legally-armed private citizens who are typically the strongest supporters of municipal police officers and rural sheriff’s deputies. It boils down to, as Burt Lancaster once said in the screen classic “The Professionals,” a conflict that may have been going on since the beginning of recorded history, “the good guys against the bad guys.”
It also demonstrates once again that restrictive gun laws that hamper law-abiding citizens do not prevent criminals from committing crimes.
Friday’s incident in Canada comes about 48 hours after two New Jersey police officers were ambushed at a traffic light. It was less than a month after a police officer in Massachusetts was murdered with his own gun that was subsequently used by the cop-killer to shoot an innocent female bystander before the bad guy was wounded and taken into custody.
It comes after prosecutors in Pennsylvania released a video showing a shootout between two state troopers and a man who tried to kill them during a 2017 traffic stop. That man was convicted several weeks ago of attempted murder, incredibly after reportedly contending that the troopers “used excessive force.”
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, so far this year in the U.S., 38 police officers have died from gunshot wounds, up 31 percent over this time last year. Typically, in the wake of such incidents, anti-gunners call for more restrictions on honest gun owners, which doesn’t help police or prevent crime.
In Seattle recently, there was a posting on Facebook about officers leaving the force. The department has had its share of troubles in recent years that placed its officers under a microscope. This is apparently not isolated to Seattle; every time an officer has to pepper spray someone, or wrestle a suspect to the ground, or shoot someone, a lot of the same people who think only cops should have guns make it clear they don’t really want police to use those guns. Go figure.
The late Paul Harvey once held forth about police officers in remarks that still resonate today:
Then there was that speech about being a cop, delivered during the old “Dragnet” series by creator and star Jack Webb that still makes the rounds decades after it was first made during a prime time scene, featuring actor Kent McCord, who later went on to co-star in another of Webb’s police dramas, “Adam-12.”
These are the “good guys” who sometimes go to work and never come home again leaving grieving family and saddened friends; the “thin blue line” that separates the bad guys from the increasingly frustrated public—the other “good guys” encompassed by Lancaster’s movie dialogue—that may not fully grasp the concept of running toward the sound of the guns. The exception there, of course, is the legally-armed citizen who has to defend himself/herself, family and/or innocent bystanders when “seconds count and police are minutes away.”
If there is a war against police, the bad guys have picked the wrong fight. The good guys have them outnumbered and, despite efforts of anti-gun activists and politicians, almost certainly outgunned. And while the tide of public opinion may ebb and flow, the current ultimately runs in one direction, and the good guys have both oars in the water.