It is always important to direct criticism where it really belongs, with those who make the ultimate decisions, not those who are tasked with carrying them out.
On June 12, 2021, RCMP Constable Shelby Patton was run over by a vehicle after pulling it over.
“So sorry to hear the terrible news of the death of RCMP Const. Shelby Patton. My prayers go out to his family.
So sorry to hear the terrible news of the death of RCMP Const. Shelby Patton. My prayers go out to his family.
Godspeed Shelby. pic.twitter.com/4424C2Yk60
— Don Cherry (@CoachsCornerDC) June 15, 2021
Two Winnipeg residents, Alphonse Stanley Traverse, and Marlene Velma Louise Pagee were arrested and face manslaughter charges.
In Toronto, Constable Jeffrey Northrup, who had been on the force for 31 years, was hit by a vehicle at the City Hall parking lot, in what is being called an “intentional, deliberate attack.”
“As condolences from the community, gov leaders, policing partners, police services & associations around the world continue to pour in for @TorontoPolice Detective Constable Jeffrey Northrup, we want to thank you for your support & messages during this time of profound grief.”
As condolences from the community, gov leaders, policing partners, police services & associations around the world continue to pour in for @TorontoPolice Detective Constable Jeffrey Northrup, we want to thank you for your support & messages during this time of profound grief. pic.twitter.com/Qy6R3gMJdR
— Toronto Police Association (@TPAca) July 2, 2021
Authorities have since arrested Umar Zameer, and charged him with first-degree murder.
As I noted on Twitter, in contrast to what happened when a family was run down in London, Ontario, politicians won’t be talking about the deliberate killing of police officers as a ‘moment of reflection’ for Canada:
“Few politicians will say the murder of police officer Jeffrey Northrup reflects on all Canadians, nor will they seek to pass legislation in the aftermath. Many Canadians are rightfully outraged not only at the heinous act, but how differently politicians react and assign blame.”
More and more people are seeing the hypocrisy in how politicians address tragedies.
A dangerous job
In a strange way, police are similar to referees in hockey or football. Of course, not in the aspect of danger, but in how they are perceived.
When a referee does their job well, nobody notices. When the odd mistake or bad call takes place, everyone sees it.
And, since the human brain tends to over-focus on the negative, the perception of referees often becomes quite bad, even if things are done right 99% of the time.
It’s similar with police.
Every day there are thousands of interactions between the police and the public, and an overwhelming majority of those interactions go well, as police protect the public and deal with people the rest of us would rather avoid.
Consider that with everyone carrying a camera with them through their phones, and with all the attention on police today, most days go by without any big story of police doing something wrong.
Further, as we’ve seen in the tragic killings of Constable Jeffrey Northrup and Constable Shelby Patton, being a police officer is an incredibly dangerous job, a job that increasingly involves facing danger while being subjected to an ungrateful public.
Criticism of police is part of a free society, but we must direct attention where it really matters most
Of course, people have the right to be ungrateful to the police, and criticize the police.
The police exercise a lot of power, and in a free society that power can be questioned, and criticized, and we must always be open to debate on how the police function and their broader relationship with the public.
Indeed, many people, including myself, have been critical of the police when it comes to the hypocrisy of the ruthless enforcement against business owners like Adam Skelly and the arrest of Pastors and religious leaders, compared to how people who tear down statues or march in ‘politically correct protests’ seem to get such a light touch.
However, the more I think about it, the more it becomes clear that the real criticism should be directed towards the politicians, rather than the police.
Politicians acting like cowards
Cowards send others to do their dirty work, and then allow the blame to be pinned on those who aren’t truly responsible.
We saw this during the rail blockades, when the Trudeau government repeatedly claimed they couldn’t do anything to influence the police enforcement (or lack thereof, of injunctions), yet mere hours after Justin Trudeau said the blockades had to stop the police just happened to move in.
And we have seen this throughout the last year, with police enforcement, or lack thereof, of draconian restrictions tracking very closely with what politicians (municipal, provincial, and federal), had to say about things.
When a group that was ‘politically correct’ did something and politicians seemed approving, the police stepped back, yet when a ‘politically incorrect’ group did something that politicians opposed, the police moved in fast.
Now, ask yourself this:
Is this a coincidence?
Do you think front-line officers really support this hypocrisy?
I think we both know that the answers to those questions is “NO.”
Behind the scenes, I imagine that many, if not most, frontline officers are appalled by this hypocrisy, and many probably feel awful about being used by the politicians in such a disturbing way.
Indeed, we can remember when a police officer gave a hug to some business owners who were just trying to sustain their livelihood, and was then punished for doing so. I think that officer represented how most front-line officers felt, while the ‘backlash’ to the hug came from those who have been manipulated by politicians.
Leaving the police out to dry
What we are seeing is the politicians leaving the police out to dry.
Our illustrious ‘leaders’ are simultaneously delegitimizing Canada’s institutions, while using the police in a very authoritarian and often arbitrary manner.
So, on the left, the police lose legitimacy since they are a representation of the supposed ‘colonialist’ state, while on the right, the police lose legitimacy since they are a representative of hypocritical politicians.
This leaves fewer and fewer people who support the police, while politicians pretend to be ‘distant observers’ to what is taking place, despite being the ones actually responsible.
As we consider all of this, and as we honour the fact that police officers put themselves in danger on behalf of a public that is often ungrateful, I am going to try and direct attention and responsibility towards the politicians who are actually in charge, rather than pinning blame or anger on police officers who have been put in a horrible position by the gutless ‘leaders’ at the top.
Photo – YouTube