Officer Brian Moore died today. He was 25 years old, loved his job, and was held with the highest respect from his fellow officers of the NYPD. When I was 25 years old, I didn’t even know who I was yet. I was stuck in that weird world between knowing how to be an adult and remaining a child. Brian Moore was already serving his community, protecting it’s citizens, and putting his life on the line; a decision that would ultimately call him home at an incredibly young age.
This is the 3rd NYPD officer to succumb to his injuries in the last 6 months. I recently spent a week in New York City and I spent the time watching the interactions between civilian and officer’s on the street. There is a heavy police presence in New York City. You don’t walk down the street very far before seeing NYPD’s finest doing their jobs. Before I arrived in the city, I expected there to be a tangible tension in the air. I expected to see cops stone walled off to society as they did their jobs. The media had told me there was tension there and I bought it. But, that’s not what I experienced at all.
I watched as they smiled, laughed, and interacted with their citizens. I wasn’t wearing a sign that said “I am a police writer” so they had no idea who I was. I challenged myself to interact with them when the opportunity presented itself to me. From asking directions to our next location, getting the downlow on the best diner in a walking distance, or just asking how their day was going, my interactions with them were extremely pleasant.
While I was in New York, the riots of Baltimore began. I remember settling into our little room in the city and watching it all unravel on mainstream media. I watched a literal cluster unfold on national television. I thought nothing would ever surprise me more than Ferguson but, there I sat completely corrected. I watched a Mayor justify the behavior of criminals while compromising the safety of her police force. I watched the leadership that should have been coming from the top coming from the citizens of Baltimore that were tired of the unrest. I watched a man get his car window busted out behind him while he was giving an interview about how much he hates the police. He was then mad at the police for not being there. I saw a kid on a miniature toddler bike ride up and stab the Baltimore Fire Department water hose to keep them from being able to extinguish a fire that had been set by rioters. All of this was happening while the men and women of the Baltimore PD were told to stand down and watch their city burn. God help us. Wake up, America.
Officer Brian Moore has died. I’m sitting here thinking about his family and his community as I watch another breaking News report about a possible shooting between the Baltimore police and a civilian. They interviewed a woman in the community who stated that she saw a “white cop jump out of a van and shoot a black unarmed teenager in the back.” Except, that didn’t happen at all. A man, whose color is irrelevant to the fact he was engaging in criminal behavior, was running from the police with a revolver in his hand. He was uncoordinated and fell down. His gun discharged and then the police who allegedly victimized this innocent, peaceful civilian out for a jog, called in for medical treatment and a transport to a hospital.
The news today should be about Brian Moore but, it’s not. There are people sitting in their offices clanking out stories about police brutality and a broken justice system because that’s what sells. The day that Brian Moore was shot in the head while on duty, CNN was busy reporting about a robotic chimp that might get to go to the moon. Joan Walsh was reporting about how black officers adopt their white colleagues opinions. That’s why black officers have been found in the middle of the Freddie Gray case. The white cop told them that they needed to wake up and find themselves a black kid to kill so they could jeapordize their entire futures, their families, their pensions, and their freedom. The way the story is being told makes it sound like they all put their hands in a collective circle and yelled “Gooooooooooooooooooooooo Police Brutality, BREAK!” before they went out in the field that day.
Don’t even get me started on what social media is saying about the black police officer. Or do. That’s fine, too. People who claim to be tired of racism are calling them “Uncle Toms”, “sell-out”s and, the most disgusting of all, “House niggers”. It was uncomfortable for me to even write that word but it’s not uncomfortable for people to say that about a black officer. They are being accused of hanging their culture up at the door because they made a decision to become a police officer who wanted to make a difference. How backwards can we get? The only man who is responsible for disrespecting their culture is the man who refuses to advance it by bettering themselves as an individual. You want to know who is tired of racism? The white cop, the black cop, the Hispanic cop, the Asian cop. Cops are sick of racism.
At the risk of sounding too transparent, I’ve got to be honest. After talking to a close friend, who is white with adopted black children from Ethiopia, she shared with me her concerns. It’s changing the way her mind works. She found herself noticing the difference between the skin colors of her fellow mankind and wondering “Do they hate me because I’m different than them?” “I find myself wondering if they would still be treating me the same way if they knew I was an active police supporter.” Even more so, “What do they think about me raising black children while being married to a cop?” I can’t even imagine how that is affecting the minds of black teenagers and police officers across the nation. When the world is telling you that two different groups are completely against each other, people are going to start getting on edge.
The media isn’t extinguishing racism. They are reviving it.
If you were an officer and you read this post, would you start to ask yourself some really hard questions? I would.
If you saw these happy looters with a handful of Jordans and Loreal running from a store that they just set on fire, would you believe it was because they were upset about Freddie Gray? I don’t.
American suffers from short term memory problems. They forget that they love a hero when they need one. They love the feel good stories about officers who run into the face of danger during 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings. It seems like there are people who only think they are only heroes if it’s a large scale catastrophe. What they don’t understand is that these men and women are facing small catastrophes every single day; catastrophes that you could never even come close to imagining. Depravity that would make you really re-evaluate your description of evil. The epidemic of the anti-police movement is going to cause our society to implode from within. People are mad that people who sell or do drugs go to prison in the United States while women who show their faces in the Middle East are being stoned to death or beheaded. It’s not a case of White Privilege. It’s American Privilege that’s the problem.
Every year on 9/11, the nation stands up and says “We Will Never Forget.” Don’t be a liar, America. Just because Brian Moore didn’t die at ground zero, doesn’t mean he didn’t die protecting New York City. When I watched members of the NYPD lined up as the ambulance drove Brian Moore away and they saluted him for the final time, I was reminded of my promise. When I said I won’t ever forget, I meant it. And, I’ll never forget Brian Moore either.
God Bless Baltimore and God Bless the NYPD.