My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 12,13; words of Jesus)
Recently at our Lodge 41 meeting, TBI officer Charlie Bradley asked for prayer for one of our own Williamson County officers and the four Oakland officers who have recently fallen in the line of duty. It was in the context of our discussion of the National, State, and Williamson County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial events, with the county event on the Franklin town square May 6. There we will dedicate a refurbished and enhanced memorial honoring the five officers who have fallen in Williamson County. Each man demonstrated a sacrificial love for his community, laying down his life for his City and/or Nation. It is the ultimate sacrifice.
I am writing this just a few nights after that conversation, and subsequently after watching news accounts of demonstrations in Oakland in support of a murderer who killed four of our brothers doing their job, the report including an interview with the organizer of that unimaginable “celebration”. The contrast in Charlie’s request and our upcoming memorial celebrations could not be in greater contrast than with the vicious attacks and heartless comments of the man organizing the demonstration and his mindless minions who participated, clearly illustrating the very present battle between good and evil.
Consider Charlie’s heartfelt sadness for the families and brothers in blue. and the events behind his request: In Oakland, a murderer is mourned and praised for killing four men, veteran police officers, who got up that morning with the same commitment to protect and serve – willing to lay down their lives for not only friends, but all the citizens of Oakland – even those who would soon celebrate what would be their murder.
On Saturday, March 21 2009, Lovelle Mixon, 26, who was wanted on a no-bail warrant for violating his parole on a conviction of assault with a deadly weapon, was pulled over by two officers. Shortly after, he opened fire, killing Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and wounding Officer John Hege, 41. Later, Mixon fatally wounded two SWAT officers, Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, when they stormed the apartment where he was hiding. Dunakin, Sakai and Romans were pronounced dead that day. Hege was left brain dead after the shootout and was taken off life support Tuesday. (Los Angeles Times).
A personal friend of mine on the Oakland PD is Captain Paul Figueroa. I emailed Paul to tell him about Charlie’s prayer request. He ask that we continue. His comment “we are a devastated agency!!!” underscores the grief felt by all our brothers and sisters in Oakland, a pain we share here. So, pray we must.
One of our own – on Tuesday, February 24 2009, 1st Lt. William Eric Emmert was killed in action in Mosul, Iraq. Emmert, 36, of Lincoln, Tenn., deployed with the 269th Military Police Company, from Murfreesboro, in November 2008. In his civilian career, Emmert was a Special Agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Brother Emmert was a hero in two ways – willing to serve both his community and his nation in harms way. He understood sacrifice, honor, devotion to something greater than himself. He demonstrated an amazing love, laying down his life for his nation.
In May, as officers from around the nation will gather at the National Law Enforcement Memorial to honor our brothers and sisters who have died in the line of duty, others will look with disdain through the eyes of dark souls. The one (I refuse to mention his name) who organized the Oakland demonstration spoke of a man killed last December by an officer, using this one alleged bad act to justify and validate the killing of four officers by a criminal. He spoke about police stereotyping and profiling his people, but he, the murderer, and those who demonstrated stereotyped and profiled the police, killing four not connected with any wrong doing.
Hate drove the killings of the officers, and hate acted on by anyone serves no good purpose. Hate kills. Honor and understanding brings peace. This is the world we face, but it is the life chosen by those who proudly serve, a life of sacrifice, risk, and commitment to what is good and right.
To each of you who still stand tall, hit the streets, and live that commitment, who daily live out that willingness to sacrifice, I thank you. I have walked in your shoes, and know the challenge. Know this my brothers and sisters, it is a grateful majority who sleep comfortably, as Jack said in a Few Good Men, under that blanket of protection you provide every day. They appreciate that commitment you honor when you pin on your badge and strap on your weapon. Our brothers who have gone before us died not in vain, but in valor, and their sacrifice we honor not only in a ceremony, but in each of your hearts as you hit the streets.
Be encouraged that good will win. As we honor our fallen comrades, we renew our commitment to daily fight the good fight.