Difficult times reveal the true character of people. During this pandemic we are seeing acts of kindness and self-sacrifice by so many. Many are spending hours making masks to donate. Health care workers are voluntarily going to hard hit areas to provide care. A retired farmer from Kansas sent his last mask to Governor Cuomo to give to a doctor or a nurse. Some are organizing food drives and others are donating to these food drives. Some are volunteering to deliver necessities to people who are vulnerable. Essential workers are going to work. Most people are good.

There are a few who are revealing the depth of the ugliness of their character. Fighting over toilet paper so a police response is required, licking or coughing on food at grocery stores, price gouging, threatening medical professionals because they blame them for the spread. Thank goodness these people are in the minority.

A picture of a protester in Michigan screaming at two officers epitomizes the ugliness of the few. Even without a pandemic it is rude to get in someone’s face and scream at them. The officers put themselves at risk everyday to protect and serve. Their masks are a symbol that they view their duty to protect seriously. Their occupation puts them at a greater risk so they wear a mask to reduce the risk that they will infect others. While performing their job, a self-absorbed man puts these officers at greater risk by getting in their faces with a mask and screaming at them.

I realize a lot of people are really struggling with lay offs, but these officers are not responsible for any of it. They are extraordinary men doing a difficult job and putting themselves at risk. On the best day they deserves our utmost respect. On bad days they deserve no less respect. They deserve to be treated with basic human respect. They’ve also earned the right to respect due to their commitment to protect and serve their community.

We have the right to free speech under the Constitution but one can do that without being a jerk. A respectful call, email, or letter to his representatives would have greater effect than verbally abusing an officer.

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Times are difficult but I’m grateful people like this man are the exception rather the rule.