I will always remember one day in 2007… in a town of Massachusetts, USA. I was in my apartment carrying on with family activity and suddenly I heard a loud deep yell come from outside. I heard a mans voice yell “get down!”…with the sound of authority. I ran out to my second story porch and saw in perfect view what was going on. Up the road about 200 feet was a lone police officer with gun pointed at a white male civilian.
This situation was occurring in the side parking lot of a respectable sports bar restaurant. Though the restaurant had patrons eating there at the time, there seemed to be no one around; no one was outside of the restaurant, and no one was witnessing this except for me and my boyfriend.
What struck me was the intensity of the situation, the sincerity of the officer, and the instability/insubordination of the civilian. The way this officer held his weapon was rigid and ready for action. He repeatedly told him to get down. This civilian ignored him constantly. The stance of the officer was with feet wide, one foot in front of the other, always planted firm but going back and forth in inches to make up for the movement of the civilian.
This whole time I was frozen stiff watching. My eyes wide and peeled. My jaw even froze in its place. I could sense that this police officer practiced every line of restraint and yet had this healthy incredible fear for his own life, as well as his knowledge that he may have to take someone’s life today…and he didn’t want to do that!
Every time he yelled “get down!”…I knew he just wanted him to get down to avoid the hell that could ensue. He wasn’t frantic or condescending in his tone, instead he was clear, directive, stern, and very serious.
The twenty/thirty something year old with tanned skin and brown hair even briefly and slightly turned his back once, as if impatient and antsy. Another time he pulled off his tee-shirt. It was broad daylight…and…even I didn’t think their was a gun on the civilian’s person. Regardless, at this point I’m thinking “where is back up!?”.
This standoff continued for what seemed a solid 5 minutes. The amount of tension, stress, and restraint…focus, alertness, and precision the officer displayed was unparalleled to what i’d seen before.
I’m not in Law Enforcement, but I have been in positions of work where I had to deescalate adults/teens/children from harming others, themselves, or property. As a matter of a fact, I was currently working in a position of having to occasionally physically restrain a 40 something year old male. Still yet, the positions I had undertook were unlike what was going on. This police officer could not just drop his weapon and go restrain this civilian alone. No way. I didn’t even know the circumstances involved that resulted in this standoff, but I could tell by the inability of the civilian to comply, that any attempt of physically restraining, even if there had been another officer, would have been foolish.
Eventually… I hear sirens in the background and honestly, I don’t know what came of the situation. At some point I went back in the house…I don’t remember why. I know I never heard the gun fire. What I will say is, I had a whole new respect for law enforcement. (For the record, I believe I may have heard, after the fact, that the civilian’s ex-girlfriend was inside the restaurant…but, I don’t want to speculate.)
This officer is someone’s father, brother, son, and/or husband. He didn’t wake up saying I want to kill someone or be killed. The sound of his voice and rigidity of his body told a story in and of itself. I would not wanted to have been in his position.
In regards to profiling the location and investigating the state of mind of the officer? I must add that he was not part of a Police Department that was in an area with high profile cases, murders, gangs, high drug trafficking, or the like. He did not look worn down by years of intense violence and criminal activity on a daily basis. Most likely he was not overworked or underpaid. I only say all this because I think these facts contribute to a more solid mental state thereby dealing better with a heavy stress situation, having quick decision making, and practicing restraint. I’m not using this example as an excuse…just background info. Clearly officers that come from the opposite scenario may have more experience and that would be to their benefit.
Am I condoning the death of the innocent, or anyone for that matter? No. I don’t know enough about weapons, but I’m not sure why a taser is not the first line/mode of defense, seizing, and prevention.
For the record, I have met unloving/unfair police officers. Yet, I know their job is not easy, and at times makes them numb. I have also been involved with police stops where I experienced discrimination for having a black person with me. It was enough to infuriate me…but I still had to obey.
Criminals also are someone’s child, parent, sibling, etc. Most I don’t believe wake up saying they want to kill or be killed. I say most, because some criminals actually do affirm that, or act that violence and hatred out. Regardless, I do believe in being innocent before being proven guilty. However, until we are in these intense encounters we will never know what it is like. Whether we agree or not, we need to uphold the law.
Ultimately as a people, we are faced with the hard reality that we have people that have authority over us and our lives, and that is scary. We have every right to not trust that authority. As well, I’m sure many of us are worried about the abuse of that authority. The abuse already happening, as well as what may come onto us in the future as the government decides to see fit.
This, I believe, is the greatest source of fear and concern we all have. Rightly so.
We all need to start praying everyday for protection by Almighty God in our coming and going. No one is exempt from the evil one…a leader of a dark force that comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He seeks whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is a deceiver of the brethren and father of lies (John 8:44). He will confuse people and fill them with hate.
In these days we must remember we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12-13). We all, whether on the enforcement side or the civilian side, are subject to the evil influences that have occurred to us over a lifetime.
Racism is yet another evil indoctrination. Yet, not everything is racist related. Isolated incidences do occur. There will always be evil.
May the Lord have mercy on us…and I pray Lord, that those whose lives have been taken unjustly, that you would keep that in mind as you meet them.
I also pray over every officer that has ever had to make that split second decision that ended a life. It’s a decision they have to live with.
Have mercy on us Father, for we know not what we do.
Right now as I see it, there is a push to cause civil unrest. To cause hate and division amongst each other. “United we stand, divided we fall” is not some pointless cliche…it’s real. Black lives do matter. All lives matter. And…evil is real.
Without God, without the Holy Spirit leading our lives…we literally are being used as pawns in this “game”. We need the discernment of the Lord in these times. There is a greater work taking place that is bringing us to a point of mass tension and hatred and hysteria.
If we do not go to the one who is Love…then we are being led by the one who masks what love really is; attributing love to what feels right, pleasurable, and familiar. We are all living in fear and being reactive. Yet, perfect Love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
We all have one thing in common no matter what side we are on. We are all being deceived and played with and manipulated by a dark force. This is being inflicted by people who choose not to be led by Christ (Messiah Yeshua, Elohim). Greed, control, power, evil…are at the very root of our fears, concerns, hate, frustration, uproar, trials and tribulations; the very source of our division.
If we are all in a boat together and it is sinking because of a hole in the vessel, do we kill each other off or work together to fix the hole?
The only way we will work together is unity in His Holy Spirit. That hole is Satan, Lucifer. The only power that can fix that hole once and for all is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Adonai Tzva’ot…the Lord of Hosts.
Otherwise all else is in vain.