Interesting times in the US to be sure. After one of the most bitter and dare I say it, bizarre elections I have ever seen, there is now increased focus on law enforcement as riots seem to be cropping up everywhere.
Now to begin with, lets leave politics out of this piece, and simply talk about law enforcement. The cops out there up and down the country undoubtedly have a very difficult job to do. Over the last couple of years their conduct has been placed in very narrow focus by the news media and various groups, with every move they make, and every mistake they make minutely examined, often with the benefit of HD TV coverage, and 20/20 hindsight.
There was a saying that became a often (over)used cliche at home, altered a little to fit this subject, the police have to get it right every time every day, if they don't, it could mean their lives or a very long prison sentence.
What about doctors I hear you ask. I would agree, they also have a huge amount of responsibility, and of course as the cost of their liability insurance demonstrates, people aren't afraid to dissect every move they make several months later with a known outcome either. But there is a huge difference, that makes the police unique. Every interaction they have with a member of the public could be their last.
Do they know when they approach a motorist they have stopped that they won't be gunned down for no apparent reason? Does a person with that intent somehow look different from the rest of us? Of course not. The doctor in general is greeted as a friend, as someone looking to help. A policeman enforces the law, and by that very definition they interactions they have with the public start on a confrontational footing.
I have found through many years of dealing with the public in many different industries, that you tend to get the reaction that your actions dictate. If I am nice, people are nice to me, if I choose to be confrontational, I will normally get the same response. When dealing with the police, and calm, receptive and co operative attitude will rarely be unwelcome, and will nearly always lead to if not a wholly satisfactory outcome (is a citation ever satisfactory..) then an outcome that both can look back on as at least one from which everyone walked away.
The story from Florida of the motorist that stopped to help the cop that was pinned to the ground, being beaten, is actually quite uplifting after so many months of hard fought election. The fact that someone died is of course a tragedy, but the fact that someone sprang to the defense on the embattled police department is a cause for if not celebration, then at least an indication that the forces of law and order are not always seen as the enemy.
Ask yourself this, if you were in that motorist's position, bearing in mind the inevitable civil suit that will no doubt ensue would you do the same, or would you drive on by, hoping someone else will stop to help.
Interesting question, would love to hear your thoughts.