When I was a child, perhaps seven or eight, living on a quiet, treed street in Detroit, the police came to our door. They warned us to stay inside, due to a manhunt. Locked down, we tucked inside until we received the “all clear.”
Probably violent, the suspect must have been close. When we opened the door and stepped outside, we found dribbles of blood on our driveway. How close we might have come to harm.
As a child, the Mounted Police were a particular favorite of mine, perhaps marching in the Thanksgiving Day parade. There’s something about a horse that bridges police and community. An invitation to touch one, to offer an apple. It breaks a smile.
Cycling cops also help connect.
I have had few encounters with police in my life – a couple of speeding tickets, perhaps getting directions. Although injustice and the blue shield are still real issues, I am glad they are around. I would never promote the absurd slogan “defund the police.”
Here in Fargo and West Fargo, our encounters have been good. Admirable. I have been treated with considerable respect and even caring. Surprised by kindness, although I am sure they are tough when they need to be.
I worked with a former officer who teaches criminal justice. Jeff Nelson shared the physical and emotional challenges of the job, especially when there is a crime involving a child. At times, he and others found strength through counseling. Like gas tanks, they need fuel to be strong. His quiet Christian faith also guided him.
So, it is ironic to find the same people who proclaimed, “Blue lives matter” attack Capitol police in Washington, D.C.
Some rioters were deluded. Officer Daniel Hodges said,
"[They thought] they would just walk right up and say 'we're here to arrest Congress.' And then police would say, 'OK let's go' and we'd all walk in, hand-in-hand, and just do whatever they wanted," Hodges said. "But that wasn't the case and it will never be the case.”
Poor planning and indifferent leadership left police grossly outnumbered in the face of terror. Yet, with few exceptions, (a selfie with a traitor?!), they were heroes. One led a crowd away from a unsecured Senate chamber. One sergeant had his finger broken at the start, his bones sticking out. After applying a napkin and duct tape, he quickly rejoined the fight, for hours.
After several taser and mace attacks, Officer Mike Fanone suffered a heart attack. One officer said it was “like a medieval battle scene.” The officer heard the chilling words of hell-bent terrorists, screaming, “Kill him with his own gun!”
Officer Hodges was crushed at a door, as the mob tore off equipment. Yet after his concussion, he said he was honored to be a part of the fight, saying, “I would do it again.”
Some tried to blame Antifa, but those arrested had deep ties to far-right extremism. One or two exceptions does not represent a crowd of thousands chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!,” and calling black police officers “N---_r.”
Like the police who came to my family’s door, and the good police of our community, these outnumbered officers, like the movie "300," were heroes. The terrorists waved American flags, but those officers were the true patriots.
Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.