I have a lot of friends in law enforcement, from street cops to sheriff’s deputies. And after what can only be called the cold-blooded assassination of two New York City police officers, they are all understandably nervous. After all, imagine being a cop today—watching news footage showing mobs of unruly “protestors” chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!”
Such violent rhetoric not only pumps up emotion, clouding the facts of the cases involved, it also can easily lead to the kinds of violence we have recently seen. Even more disturbing is the fact that those in authority who should have been doing everything to tone down the situation have instead given a wink and a nod to those engaged in it.
New York City Mayor “Bill” de Blasio is perhaps the worst example of leaving law enforcement out to dry. After the incident in which Eric Garner, a black man, died subsequent to being wrestled to the ground, de Blasio essentially indicted the entire New York City police force. As the New York Post reported:
“In a press conference about the grand jury’s decision not to charge the officer, de Blasio announced that he had warned his 17-year-old, mixed-race son, Dante, to be careful around police officers.”
So angry and upset were the New York cops that they took the unprecedented step of demanding that Mayor de Blasio be banned from the funerals of officers who have been killed in the line of duty:
Given this environment, and after the killing of two police officers, it is easy to see that cops everywhere are more than likely to be particularly nervous in the coming months, even when making a routine traffic stop. As a result, those of us who carry guns for self-defense should be even more cautious about our behavior than ever before.
If you’re pulled over for a traffic violation, be especially calm and courteous to the officer. This is always a good idea, but it is even more important when we have a volatile situation like the one today.
And like it or not, circumstances, including who we are, have an effect on how cops approach us. A fifty-year-old woman stopped in the middle of the day is far less likely to be subjected to the same scrutiny as three or four males in their twenties pulled over late at night.
And if cops are nervous during a traffic stop, when responding to a “man with a gun” call, or worse, an actual defensive shooting, they will likely be even more on edge. In these circumstances, it is absolutely essential that we do everything possible to avoid triggering an escalation that may just land us in jail, or worse, in the morgue.
None of us likes this situation. But it is the one we have to live with for at least the immediate future. This isn’t about what’s fair. It’s about staying safe. So as always, be alert, be aware. And in any interaction with law enforcement, do everything possible to keep the situation calm and non-threatening, both for you and the cops.