By Craig Hasting
Forty years doing my part to make living in my hometown community a better place to live. I’ve always felt proud and privileged to be a police officer here in Tuscola. I remember well being sworn in and taking an oath to enforce not only the laws of this state but also any ordinances the City Council felt might be necessary to make Tuscola a better place to live. I didn’t imagine back in 1980 when I took this oath that I would spend the next two-thirds of my adult life protecting and serving the citizens in the same town I was born in 1957. I didn’t choose this profession, somehow it has chosen me. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else but this. I think when someone makes their career choice to be a police officer they do it for one of two reasons. Either you want to do this because you have a desire to put as many bad guys away as you can or; you go to work each day hoping you can make someone else’s life a little better in some way. I chose the latter. Sure, sometimes the first goes hand in hand with the second but, there are so many things we run across or sometimes we look for that are not crime associated good deeds. For example, just last Thursday while waiting in line at Lambo’s to process the method of payment for fuel in my police car, I was given one of those opportunities.
Two small boys in line directly in front of me were milling over what to buy. Each boy had come to the counter with a honeybun and one bag of chips. This was their dilemma. Together they had enough for one honeybun and one bag of chips so it was either each boy get half of a honeybun and half of a bag of chips or, one take the honeybun and the other the chips. Problem three was that they disagreed on the flavor of the chips so taking half was out. The line behind me has started to grow. Now they are quietly arguing what to do, staring at the police officer waiting behind them. They made the decision that they would each take one or the other on their own, separate purchases. At this point I found humor in their predicament because minutes long ago I had already decided to make up the difference so they could each have both, their original desire when they came into Lambo’s. So I did, the boys were thrilled, and it wasn’t really that big a deal to me but for them, it was a payday. These are the things about this job I enjoy most. Most of the officers working for TPD have done the same and more. I’ve done it my entire career. Who knows, maybe just maybe these boys will grow up and remember what a small town police officer had done for them years ago and actually lean towards supporting their own local police and not be some of those growing up in their generation who will hate police not because of what the know but because of what someone has told them how they should regard police officers in general. I can only hope. In rural Tuscola we stop to help put a chain back on a bike that has fallen off the sprocket, we load bikes up in our trunks that have flat tires and transport those kids back home with their bike, we stop at summer lemonade stands when a drive through fully iced beverage might quench our thirst better, we push cars out of the roadway when we could have called a wrecker, we pick kids up and take them the rest of the way to school when they’ve been caught in the pouring rain, I’ve taken two kids to school I drove up on chasing the school bus down the street because they were late getting out the front door. We get people back in their homes when they’ve locked themselves out, and I could go on and on. My point is not to pat ourselves on the back nor do I want you to do it either. My point is that there are so many things that have nothing to do with enforcing the law that good police officers will eagerly do because they want to make something in someone else’s life a little better regardless of how small it might be. These are the people we want to recruit to work here in Tuscola.
If we only enforced the law which is what we hired to do and swore an oath to do then maybe defunding police agencies across the country might have some merit to the movement. But that certainly is not the practice here! I have to ask myself, do the police officers in these large cities not do the same little non law enforcement services we do here? Do they ignore the kid with the broken bike or the elderly woman whose dog slipped it’s collar, etc.? Surely not. Maybe these large agencies need to promote the non law enforcement assistance they perform in their communities in their available media outlets? Heck I don’t know. What I really don’t understand is how in the world could citizens in large metropolises want to defund and or disband entirely their only protection from the criminal element that preys upon them. Just what is the plan to protect hundreds of thousands of people in those cities? Will these be paid for protection neighborhoods? That’s how the mob did it back in the day and even still in some neighborhoods today! Is that where this is going!? It will never work! Eventually someone or some people will proclaim themselves in charge and their only intention is to profit and profit greatly from the circumstances of groups of people afraid to fight back!
Large numbers of people are fleeing the larger cities in America and relocating in suburban and rural areas. They are afraid and have reason to be so. If things get any worse in Champaign we may even see some of those people move south themselves. Police in America are the only buffer, and a small buffer it is, between social order and social chaos. If ever this buffer is no more, you and I will not live long enough to see the delicate balance of good and evil restored in America. For as quick as too many people are trying to tear it down, restoring it will take generations of people willing to lose their lives to regain arguably the world’s best practiced balance of law and lawlessness. It is time for the majority in America, those of us that have sat quietly these past ninety days, to speak out, reject, and maybe even take action, against what is trying to be forced upon us by these mobs, looters, thieves, killers, arsonists, and rioters. I absolutely believe that if the tide isn’t turned, and turned soon, pockets of civilian militia groups will organize and fight back. And by fight back I don’t mean spray painting, flashing signs that appear to be made by first graders, chanting degrading songs against the government, or throwing stones and water bottles at police with hopes of making appearances on CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets so to show their friends and families. No, should there be pushback by non government supported militia, we won’t see these people striking back unless it’s by chance of circumstance. They will strike and disappear only to strike and disappear somewhere else. I guess by definition this would be a civil war right here in America.
Our federal and state governments need to band together and step up and step on this riotous chaos going on in America. Civil order must be regained and regained soon because if it’s not, eventually these rioters and others will be crying out and demanding protection from the very professionals they are trying to abolish today. If anyone of these people that have taken to the streets to cause civil unrest and disorder think this is a bunch of 1960’s fun and games of disobeying the laws of the land, they are sadly mistaken. I predict this to become more deadly than it already has if something isn’t done soon. I worry for my own children and yours as to what the future holds for them. No police, no quality of life. That’s a fact. I don’t have to say any of this to somehow protect my own job because I’m a police officer. No, my train is nearing the end of the line anyway. The day is coming that I need only to protect my own family and protect them. I will from anyone on the radical left that threatens their well being. Within the law of course. But whose law might that be by then?
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)