A Response To A Tragic Week

Lord, you have poured out amazing blessings on your land! You have restored the fortunes of Israel.  Psalm 85:1

Last week was a great weekend at Washington Cathedral.  It was the kickoff of our Summer of Family Fun.  I shared something very near to my heart:  the importance of Godly patriotism to heal our nation.  I know that times have changed and that other generations have high percentages that question patriotism of any kind.  One note sent to me told me that it is impossible to be a Christian and also be patriotic.  I accept the challenge to communicate this core value for many reasons but, most of all, I believe that Christ is the answer to the problems of our world.  That is why I have taken the time to write an historical romance novel about patriotism called “Ulysses Dream” to come out in the first part of September this year.  The publisher might change the title and if you are interested you can follow its development at the site drtimwhiteonline.com.  

The following is a response to recent violence in Dallas that I wrote on another blog and it is followed by a response from my Assistant, retired police Detective Karen Haverkate, after someone referred to her as a hero for having been a law enforcement officer.  It should give us something to think about….

I am praying for the families of the police officers shot in Dallas and for those whose loved ones died in other shootings in America. I don’t pretend to understand everything that is going on but I do know that as a nation we are so divided and racial tension is real. Public servants often take the brunt of this division. Each situation breaks my heart and the only answer is that we work diligently to come together as a community. More simplistic pronouncements just cause further division although I know they are easy, knee jerk reactions by people who care but don’t know what to do. We need to make friends with people in our nation who are not like us. We are all human beings. One tragedy is a travesty against all humanity. We who live by love have our work to do. We must be more loving, better bridge builders, standing with victims, their families and police families. We must practice everything we have been taught by Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Theresa. We have terrorists that are determined to destroy our freedoms.  We don’t need to be terrorists ourselves. We need to be ‘reverse terrorists’ or People of Love.

In response to being referred to as a ‘hero’ by one of our church family in a discussion about the events in Dallas, Karen replied:

“Thank you, but I am not a hero. I got into law enforcement because I really wanted to help people. ALL people. I worked patrol for seven years, event planning for three, background investigations for almost two, and fraud investigations for 14. I believe I treated all the people I encountered equally, no matter their age, race, gender, economic status, religion or life style preference. Even so, I can’t count the number of times I heard, “You’re only stopping/arresting me because I am _________”. I got into more than a few fights, and used force on more than one occasion, but only in response to an act of aggression/violence against me or others. Never did I go to work with the desire to get into a fight, assault or kill someone. And I truly believe none of the officers I worked with did either. None of us took the job with the desire to kill people. I had to draw my weapon several times but I only came really close to shooting someone once, and I cried afterward; partly out of anger at the guy for putting me in that position, and partly from relief that I didn’t have to shoot him. But, I was prepared to. I had no idea that the gun he was holding as he walked toward me, ignoring repeated orders to stop and drop the gun, was empty. That the shots I heard prior to encountering him had been the last of his ammunition. Fighting with and using force on another person is not “fun”. Hurting or killing someone is not “fun”. The paperwork involved in either is not “fun”. The media and social scrutiny afterwards is not “fun”.  Do bad things happen? Yes. Are there some bad officers? Sadly, yes. Are they the majority? Absolutely not. Did they start out that way or did something happen in their career to make them that way? I personally feel it would be the latter. When I was in background investigations, we took measures to weed out any applicant that showed a propensity for bias or violence. We DON’T WANT that type of officer working for/with us. So, thank you for your compliment, but I am not a hero. I was just a cop that tried to do her job fairly and justly for everyone, no matter what they looked like. And I believe that the majority of officers out there are trying to do just that.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

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