What if You Were Being Hunted?
The threat of violence against police officers and what it means to them
Warning: U.S. intelligence agencies have identified a new group of radical extremists who are targeting men and women working in the financial industry.
They believe that American global and domestic economic policies are oppressive and have lead to war, crime, famine, and racism. They wish to erase from the earth all physical manifestations of America’s corrupt financial system. In order to promote their radical ideas, leaders of the group have ordered the targeted assassination of anyone wearing a suit. Their rationale is that anyone wearing a suit is a representative of the U.S. economic engine.
As with many terrorist organizations, they hope their extraordinary acts of barbarism will be covered extensively by the media as this will exponentially increase public fear. The terrorists have been extremely successful. In 2014, these terrorists killed 62 suit-wearing citizens. Fifty were shot to death — many in ambush style attacks. Fifteen have already been shot and killed in 2015. The authorities are having a difficult time identifying members of this organization because thousands of Americans who also feel victimized by the economy are supporting the terrorists’ efforts through social media.
Not if you are a police officer.
Everyday, around the country, law enforcement officers are murdered and assaulted because they wear uniforms and because they are the most visible representation of the government. At the beginning of each shift, police officers receive intelligence briefings with the latest information about who wants to kill them.
The most recent threat comes on the heels of the May 17th, 2015, Waco, Texas biker gang shooting. According to a CNN report, there is evidence that an OMG (Outlaw Motorcycle Gang) has obtained grenades and C-4 explosives in order to target high-ranking law enforcement officials and their families. Baltimore City Police Officers were threatened by members of several street gangs following the death of Freddie Gray. Even ISIS is calling for the targeting of US law enforcement.
Tragically, the statistics cited in the fictitious business suit scenario are not fictitious at all when we look at the law enforcement community. In 2014, sixty-two officers were killed during criminal attacks. Fifty deaths were the result of firearms — fifteen of those were ambush attacks. Unfortunately 2015 is on track to be as deadly as 2014 was. These deaths are in addition to the 49,000 police officers who were assaulted and, thankfully, survived.
For many police officers, a common side effect of constantly feeling targeted is hypervigilance, a state of heightened arousal and anxiety that causes one to constantly look for threats to personal safety. This can result in what may be seen as aggressive behavior during traffic stops and contact with the public. Tragically, there have been a number of shocking over-reactions in seemingly innocuous situations like the September 4th, 2014, shooting of a man who reached for his license during a traffic stop in Columbia, South Carolina.
Far too often, racism is presumed to be the cause of these incidents. The reality is likely much more complicated, and we must take into account the real danger police officers live with every day. The burden has been placed on the law enforcement community to change, and rightly so. But, perhaps, it is time for citizens to step up and take some responsibility for the current state of affairs. Just as the police need to rebuild the public’s trust in them, the public needs to earn back the trust of police officers.
This Scipio Securitas contribution was written by a career law enforcement officer in the National Capital Region.