Dallas police slayings: The eloquence and empathy of George W. Bush

Chesterfield PDIn the morning hours after the tragic Dallas Police Department shootings on Thursday night when five police officers were killed and seven others were injured, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush released a statement that was profane in its grief, honest in its feelings, and horrified at what had occurred in the Texas city.

The president wrote on his Facebook page:

Laura W. Bush and I are heartbroken by the heinous acts of violence in our city last night. Murdering the innocent is always evil, never more so than when the lives taken belong to those who protect our families and communities.

“Laura and I have seen firsthand the dedication, professionalism, and courage of the Dallas Police Department. Their commitment to safety and justice makes us proud to call Dallas home. Our hearts go out to the families of the fallen. We pray for the wounded officers to recover fully and quickly. We commend Mayor Rawlings, Chief Brown, and all our city’s leaders and public servants who continue to organize an effective response to this tragedy. And we join our fellow citizens in saluting the fine law enforcement officers in Dallas and across the country who put their own lives on the line to keep all lives safe.”

Succinct. Heart-felt. Achingly honest. This, my friends, is leadership.

A commenter left a message that I felt was worth sharing. As someone with cops in the family and cops as friends, this says much:

It’s not the police who need to be retrained, it’s the public. We have grown into a mouthy, cell phone wielding, vulgar, uncivil society with no personal responsibility & the attitude of it’s the other person’s fault, you owe me. A society where children grow up with no boundaries or knowledge or concern for civil society and personal responsibility.

When an officer says “Put your hands up,” then put your hands up! Don’t reach for something in your pocket, your lap, your seat. There’s plenty of reason for a police officer to feel threatened, there have been multiple assaults & ambushes on police officers lately. Comply with requests from the officer, have your day in court. Don’t mouth off, or fight, or refuse to comply- that escalates the situation.

Police officers are our sons & daughters, fathers & mothers, brothers & sisters. They’re black, white, brown, all colors, all ethnicities, all faiths, male & female, they are us. They see the worst side of humanity — the raped children, the bloody mangled bodies of traffic victims, the bruised & battered victims of domestic violence, homicide victims, body parts, day after day.

They work holidays while we have festive meals with our families. They miss school events with their kids, birthdays, anniversaries, all those special occasions that we take for granted. They work in all types of weather, under dangerous conditions, for relatively low pay.

They have extensive training but they are human. When there are numerous attacks on them, they become hyper vigilant for a reason, they have become targets. When a police officer encounters any person, any person — whether at a traffic stop, a street confrontation, an arrest, whatever — that situation has the potential to become life threatening. You, Mr & Mrs/Miss Civilian, also have the responsibility of keeping the situation from getting out of control.

Many, the majority, of law enforcement officers are veterans. They’ve been in service to this nation most of their lives, whether on the battlefield, or protecting us here at home. They are the only thing that stands between us and anarchy in the streets.

If you want to protect your child, teach them respect — for themselves, for you as a parent, for their teachers, for police officers. Police officers do not make the laws, they merely enforce them. If you don’t like the law, be proactive in the political process. The police officer doesn’t have, or want, the role of judge and jury.

If you get a speeding ticket — were you speeding? Don’t blame the cop if you broke the law. Go to court, pay the fine, don’t do it again.

It’s easy to judge, it’s harder to look within oneself and see what your role should be as a citizen, as a responsible person seeing both sides of the issue.

All lives matter. Blue lives matter, too!

Two voices addressing the ever-increasing violence around us.

Be safe out there.

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