Do you remember what it was like when we were growing up back in the day? From the time we entered nursery school we were taught to respect the rules and do as we were told. “Single File, Class, Single File…” and “Class dismissed…” We didn’t pour out of the classroom before the bell and we didn’t think for a minute rules were for others. If we did, we were instructed to go stand in the hallway. We understood the consequences of not obeying rules—and there were always consequences. At home, we were grounded for not obeying the rules. In school, there was detention or sitting in a hot classroom and missing recess. When we took on part-time jobs as teenagers and didn’t do as instructed, we were fired for not obeying the rules. I speak from experience. I was told more than once, “Go punch the clock, you’re fired…” Pain teaches. So does an empty wallet.
Rules—laws—are there to keep order in society. Laws are good deterrents—rules to ensure consistency and predictability. Laws are “inspiration” to do what we’re supposed to do. However, there are always those who perceive the laws are for others—and this is where society has broken down. Traffic laws are there for public safety. Yet—there are those who believe traffic lights and road signs are there for others—and that’s when people are maimed and killed by red light runners.
We cannot continue to justify bad behavior and reckless disregard for the law or it all falls apart. You may not agree with the laws, however, they are passed and put into place for your safety. If you don’t agree with the law, be tenacious and work to change the law. Be proactive in your government. Complaining to your buddies in a bar won’t change the law.
Baby Boomers understand nonconformity. We were the anti-establishment generation. We were never going to grow old. Never trust anyone over 30. Do your own thing. Remember all that hogwash? I do, with my share of aches, pains, and criticisms. We have surely grown older and we’ve spent most of our lives doing our own thing. That’s part of what’s wrong with society today. We’ve been doing our own thing for decades – forgetting how to be an integral part of society. The price has been robust levels of self absorption we’ve passed along to our children.
We’re critical of today’s young people for not conforming and breaking all the rules when we did the same thing! What’s more, we’re critical of today’s young people – forgetting to ask ourselves…who raised them? We were the generation that was going to change the world – and did. We did change the world. We’re more casual than the people who raised us. Childhood was more oppressive for us. If we stepped out of line there were consequences. Today, we’re being so politically correct and trying to be our children’s best friends that we’ve forgotten to be parents first.
I was at a public venue not long ago and saw a young lady wearing a tee shirt that said, “The New Rule is No Rules…” Oh really? That works until her rights are violated or someone breaks into her home. She will be the first to call police and insist on justice. To have order and a civilized society, there must be rules. That’s the way it has always been. What makes us delusional enough to believe society can function smoothly without rules and laws?
I am a middle of the road guy—liberal about some things and conservative about others. I will go on record saying I’ve no use for either side of this heated and juvenile disagreement we seem to be having on a national level. All this infighting is ridiculous when instead we need to be focused on law and order along with the unification that goes with being free Americans.
Late senator and presidential candidate, Humbert H. Humphrey, said it best in his speech to the Democratic National Convention in 1968, “Surely we have now learned the lesson that violence breeds counter violence and it cannot be condoned, whatever the source.” He went on to say, “Violence breeds more violence—disorder destroys—and only in order can we build. Riot makes for ruin—reason makes for solution. I put it very bluntly—rioting, burning, sniping, mugging, traffic in narcotics, and disregard for law are the advance guard of anarchy, and they must and they will be stopped. We do not want a police state. But we need a state of law and order,” stressing there must be laws that protect citizens from harm—includes those in police custody.
I cannot stress enough those in police custody must be safe, especially if their guilt or innocence hasn’t been proven in a court of law. Those sworn to uphold the law must also obey the law like we’re all supposed to. What happened to George Floyd, and dozens of countless other victims of police violence, cannot be tolerated. These abuses must be policed and those who conduct themselves in this manner must be disciplined and/or prosecuted. Remember—the laws—rules—are also there for law enforcement in order to ensure no unnecessary harm comes to citizens guilty or innocent.
If everyone follows the rules and exercises proper judgment, then, no one gets hurt and each gets treated fairly. This is who we’re supposed to be. To ensure the safe treatment of anyone in police custody, there must be due diligence. There must be extensive screening of applicants, routine psychological evaluation of law enforcement officers; and regular, clear, concise communication from leadership to the rank and file on every level. Body cameras must be worn and operated by all law enforcement personnel to ensure everyone has their facts straight.
On the other side of the coin, more needs to be done to keep law enforcement officers safe and heard. The media needs to be as focused on the positives of the police as well as the negatives. All the media is doing now is hyperfocusing on bad cops despite the fact bad cops are among the very few. I firmly believe most law enforcement officers want to serve and protect. What about cops who are maimed and killed in the line of duty? I don’t hear the media talking about that much.
We need good law enforcement—period. Without the police—you have anarchy and a society out of control. Those who perceive we need to defund and disband police departments aren’t thinking clearly. If you perceive we need to disband and defund the police, consider this. Who are you going to call in the middle of the night in a home invasion robbery or first thing in the morning when you discover your car was broken into overnight? Consider the consequences of defunding and disbanding the police. Let us focus on both unity as free Americans and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the police. We need them now more than ever. And, when you see a police officer when you’re out and about, render a wave and thank them for their service to community. The cops—good cops—could use a hug.
I like Senator Humphery’s lasting words, “And now the third reality, essential if the other two are to be achieved, is the necessity, my fellow Americans, for unity in our country, for tolerance and forbearance for holding together as a family, and we must make a great decision. Are we to be one nation, or are we to be a nation divided, divided between black and white, between rich and poor, between north and south, between young and old? I take my stand—we are and we must be one nation, united by liberty and justice for all, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and Justice for all. This is our America.” – Jim Smart