Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Justified Action from a Police Wife's Perspective

There was a tragic story recently in the news about a 13-year-old boy gunned down by officers, only to later find out that the assault rifle he carried was just a pellet gun.  Over zealous officers?  Defiant young man?

The news media has since made such a frenzy with this story even to the extent of publicizing the officer's name who made the fatal shot.  Overly enthusiastic story reporting, or are they deliberately trying to stir the pot of contention?

With all the flurry of hate messages, death threats and the like, I thought it time to respond from a police wife's point of view, and from a Christian perspective...quite a different spin from that which will be reported on mainstream media.

Justified Action from a Police Wife's Perspective

I'm a police wife and a police mom.  Two men that I love enter the streets every day or evening to protect and serve.  Not because they bask in the glory of the position, nor thrive in the less-than-desirable paycheck that comes at the end of their week, but because they have an insatiable calling to aid the helpless and keep the peace.

Each day when they put on their uniform, it is done with pride.  Shirt tucked in so so, pins straightened, leather adjusted to fit.  The fact of them just being able to physically carry around the arsenal of weaponry and gadgets upon their person is mind boggling, let alone leaving room for them to comfortably sit, kneel or bend.

There was a time when officers did not need to wear bullet proof vests - you know, the kind that make you sweat profusely and leave little breathing room.  Back then, the threat was minimal.  If anything, an officer may get spit on or kicked in the shin by a wayward child.  However, times are different.  My men have to wear this crazy armor because each shift poses a threat to their safety. 

Somehow the world has gone a little crazy with cop killing becoming almost a sport.  No respect for human life.  No desire to know the man or woman behind the badge, nor to care if he or she has a family waiting for them to come home safely.

On Tuesday, October 22nd at about 3:00 PM, a young man, barely old enough to discover his first facial hair, was spotted carrying what looked like an assault rifle.  Simple enough...or was it?  After the deputies demanded the boy drop his weapon numerous times, the boy simply turned towards officers with gun in hand.

Stop.  Let's think about this.  Put yourself in that situation.  How many armed children have gone into schools and shot up their classmates?  How many armed children have ended the lives of parents, teachers, siblings, strangers?  These officers are trained to see a threat and resolve the issue preferably in a peaceful manner.  However, this young man refused to adhere to their demands.  Why?  That answer will probably never come.  Some might say it was a lack of understanding on his part of the commands to drop his weapon.  Others may point to suicide by cop.  Regardless, common sense tells us that you do not raise an object towards trained officers that in any way, shape or form represents a weapon.   

Placing ourselves in the situation that these deputies found themselves in, we have a split second reaction time to mull over several things:

1.  He has a gun...is it real?
2.  He has a gun...is he a threat?
3.  He has a gun and is refusing to drop it.  Why?
4.  He has a gun and is now pointing it at me.  Will it be me or him?
5.  He has a gun pointing at me, do I shoot or wait and possibly get shot?
6.  Do I want to go home today to my family?

Let me tell you from a police wife and mom's perspective...that officer 1) perceives a gun pointed in his direction as a threat.  2) That officer has been given the authority by the state in which he resides and by God's authority to take measures to disarm that threat.  3) My officers must and will meet that threat head on in order to come home to their family who loves and needs them.  Period.

I can say in all sincerity, these officers did not set out that morning to shoot and kill a child with a toy.  What they did do was remember their oath to protect and serve.  Suppose this boy had a real gun and the officers did not take appropriate action.  What then?  How would the media have reacted in that situation?  They would have raked them over the coals for their hesitance; for not responding to the threat.

How is this all justified in the Word of God?  Isn't killing a sin?  First of all, again I point back to Romans 13 which commands us to submit to our governing authorities (including police) that God has established.  This passage reminds us that "He is God's servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong doer."

Second, killing is a sin when done in the context of murdering a person out of hatred, evil intent, selfishness, envy, pride, greed, self-serving motives, etc., not when an ordained authority is exercising his or her God-given positional right in a circumstance of potential harm or danger.

Yes, this situation is tragic.  A young man forfeited (for whatever reason) his rights to a long and fulfilling life, yet, these officers gave opportunity to defuse the situation for a better outcome and he negated it.

Personally, I want to extend my sympathies to the family and friends of this young man.  I can't begin to imagine losing a son and no-less at such a young age.  My hope is that somehow they find God's comfort through this tragedy, but even more so, I want to extend love and concern for these officers and their families who are now dealing with the ugly aftermath of a people who lack understanding and insight into such a tragic moment in a small suburban setting.  May God's peace surround you in this time of frightening uncertainty and undeserved guilt over doing your job.

As for this police wife and mom...may my men always come home at the end of their shift.

Blessings,
Kristi

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