Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Social Contract Requires Respect

The most troubling aspect of President Obama's comments last week on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge Police Officer James Crowley was the fact that the President omitted any basic respect for the value of law enforcement in communities across America.

Consider the "impossible." Imagine that potential law enforcement officers, weighing their dedication to career against the possibility of financial and emotional devastation from lawsuits alleging racial bias or unnecessary force on out-of-control persons, decide it's not worth it. They'll pass.

Then, ask yourself how you might feel living in a community where a 911 call is not an option, where no one is available to come to your assistance, to protect you against a possible burglary, an abusive neighbor, a drug deal going down next door. You would be on your own, and you would have brought it on yourself.

We need law enforcement in our commmunities. It is one aspect of our society that elevates us as a civilized nation. Despite the reality of abuses of power on the part of some law enforcement officers across America, we need to show respect for those who do not abuse their authority. Any one of us, at some time in our lives, may need their help.

Published Monday, Auguest 3, 2009 in the Everett, Wa Herald