Yesterday we buried Officer Kenyon Youngstrom and paid tribute to who he was as an officer, a family man, and a man of faith. We heard from several CHP officers, some of whom shed tears while they spoke, and I offered Kleenex to still others who were affected. Many of the officers present did not even know Kenyon. I didn’t.
And I ask myself,
Why do some people hate cops so much?
Why does a man see a young officer on the side of the road tending to a dead deer, pull over, and come out shooting? Where does that rage come from?
A few days prior, a fellow LEO wife had her husband’s uniform hanging in her car, and decided to stop at 7-11 on her way home from the dry cleaners. Four scumbags nearby commented rather loudly, “That guy should’ve taken out more cops before he got gunned down in cold blood.” Where does that come from? It sends shivers down my spine. (And it’s a reminder to all of us LEOWs to put the dry cleaning in the trunk).
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. Asking God about it. And then …
Across the world, Muslim extremists are tearing our embassies apart, and killed our Ambassador to Libya and three others, including two Marines. It makes my blood boil.
Where does that come from? Why do some people hate America so much?
I drove myself to the funeral yesterday – in my blue Prius. My car didn’t look like the others that were parked on every flat surface a half mile radius around the church. And I watched cops arrive from every direction. They are intimidating. Chiseled faces, helmets and caps, sunglasses, shiny badges, lights flickering, weapons around their waists. Because I’m sorta into this kinda thing, I got this warm feeling inside. Wow. But what about others who got caught in the traffic jam? Did the same view that gives me warm fuzzies give them a sense of dread? I’d be willing to bet yes.
There are three different kinds of people in this world. There are sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.*
The sheep are the biggest group – they live quiet lives meal to meal, don’t care about much that doesn’t affect their world, and just want to be safe and happy.
The wolves want to prey on the sheep. Devour them. Satiate their thirst for blood and death. Most predators don’t care if it gets messy.
And then there are the sheepdogs that make up only 2% of the population. They’re a little confusing. They look like predators on the outside (cute, yes, but look at their sharp teeth), but their motivation – their job – is to keep the sheep safe. They stand in the way of danger and say to the wolves that they will not feast on the sheep. They stand in the way of danger, and say to the wolves – YOU WILL NOT EAT. And how do you think those wolves feel about that? Probably strong enough to randomly pull over on the side of the road and kill him.
I also see our country as a sheepdog. We’re big, we’re powerful. We have beautiful brass shiny things, and chiseled jaws, a very cool flag and weapons around our waist. We are intimidating. And for decades we’ve said to wolves throughout history, YOU WILL NOT EAT. And how do you think those wolves feel about that? Strong enough to hijack planes and turn them into bombs. Strong enough to shoot our US Ambassador and drag his dead body through the streets.
Do you think the sheep are happy the sheepdogs are around? You’d think so. And some are. But sometimes those sheepdogs get a little bossy. Sometimes the sheepdogs have to get after the sheep because they’re doing something stupid that could jeopardize their safety. And because of that, sheep aren’t always grateful. Instead, they’re irritated.
Sometimes sheepdogs die protecting the sheep. Not gladly, but willingly. And those of us who commit to our sheepdogs understand the risks. But we love them anyway.
Because they’re people. Humans who tear up when it’s safe to do so. They love, and laugh, and feel deeply and play, but they are still sheepdogs at the core of their being. And when they put on the uniform, they tell wolves, NO LAMBCHOPS TODAY.
There are some that reason that if there were no sheepdogs, there would be no wolves. If we lay our weapons down, if we just learn to understand, be nice, try not to offend, then the wolves will go away. But if our cops cease to exist, or if America ceases to exist, it doesn’t mean the wolves will go prancing into the sunset with nothing to do.
It means they will devour the sheep.
*This idea comes courtesy of LtCol. Dave Grossman, awesome speaker and author of On Combat and On Killing.