Back-Up and Politics: A View From The Street on Current Events

When I was working at Precinct Three in the Cumberland Area of Atlanta, one of the officers on my shift got into the fight of his life with a suspect following a traffic stop. The suspect was wrestling with the LEO and they were both on the ground. The suspect pulled a knife and the LEO was not able to disengage or grab his firearm to defend himself. Due to the proximity, all the LEO could do was grab the suspect’s hand that contained the knife and use his other hand to stop the attack with any force necessary. As the fight continued, the LEO heard someone approaching. Before he could react, the approaching citizen attacked the suspect and helped the officer remove the knife from the equation. The LEO and the citizen secured the suspect and the fight was over. As the citizen provided his name and contact information, my friend noticed his T-shirt and four familiar letters that perhaps explained why this total stranger risked his life to help a LEO he did not know. His shirt read, “USMC.”

I have vocally opposed furloughs and other measures that limit the availability of back-up for LEOs. Whether a fight following a traffic stop, a task force looking for child predators on the internet or a manhunt for a wanted felon, the more badges, the better. When that manhunt is in your neighborhood, you want to see as many LEOs as possible on your street! When you are the LEO calling for help, the color of the uniform and the jurisdiction written on the side of the car is irrelevant. You just want to get some help and go home alive. Clearly, as illustrated above, our nation’s military also understands the concept of back-up.

I do not know anything about combat in a war environment. I have tremendous respect for the multitude of brave men and women who comprise our armed forces and answer the call of duty every day. However, I do know that the attacks in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere could happen here. Our federal agencies and military resources have thwarted many of those attacks and sadly, some like the events of 9/11, were not stopped before thousands lost their lives. The November 5, 2009 Fort Hood shooting as well as the murder of a soldier outside a recruiting center on June 1, 2009 in Little Rock, Arkansas are examples of acts of terrorism within our borders irrespective of any attempts to categorize them any other way. The terror attacks we stop abroad and the alacrity with which we address terrorism against United States citizens has a direct affect on the safety of our communities at home. Our nation’s LEOs are the first responders when those attacks reach our shores.

Through this lens, I listen with horror to the reports that our nation’s top leaders had the ability to watch a live video feed of  the brutal attack on our ambassador and compound in Benghazi yet did not send any support during this seven hour attack. The promise to arrest those responsible is hollow; there would be no need for any arrests if support was sent to defend American citizens when they were under attack. This was not, we have learned, an unconfirmed report of an uprising. This was a live video feed of a coordinated attack against a United States ambassador on a United States consulate in a foreign land. For the brave men and women who lost their lives and especially for the soul of United States Navy Seal  Ty Woods who died wondering why his country did not send back-up, my heart aches.

No excuses. No political rhetoric. No hesitation. A soft stance on terrorism and attacks on Americans abroad has NEVER served the interests of our country. If we forget the meaning of “back-up” as a people, we will lose our ability to protect ourselves anywhere and everywhere. Stay safe.

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