We can support the police and talk about how to make policing better at the same time.
My uncle a New York City police officer and my grandfather a fire battalion chief. Those are their badges at the top of this article.
They were the Bannons, my mother’s side of the family, and a key part of my upbringing. Although my last name is Dutch, both sides of the family were decidedly Irish.
And the Irish loved and served the city—as officers and public servants.
They did so when it was not a good time to be a cop in New York City.
When I grew up in the NYC of the 1970s, it was a very different world than NYC today. As I wrote in Compelled,
In New York City, what many called the “liberal experiment” of American neosocialism was coming to an end—rapidly. The social spending had simply become too much. NYC was headed toward bankruptcy. President Ford didn’t want to help, leading to one of the most famous headlines of all time: “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
And it was a bad time to be a police officer.
Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, explained:
“We have a history in this city, in the 70’s, of these sorts of assassinations of teams of police officers and we saw more coming down the pike…Actually, in 1972, there were 12 police officers killed.”
My grandfather would tell me (not using words I would repeat here) how the fire department would be ambushed using intentionally set fires and how they responded (it involved axes). My uncle would talk about the danger of the job when it felt like it was open season on police.
I remember. And I’m concerned.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today