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Monday, November 23, 2009

Praying for Cops-

I have been retired from law enforcement for just a bit over a week, now. I already have to face the world in a different way. I am no longer a cop. I have been a part of a sub-culture, and by virtue of my position as a correctional officer was able to observe another sub-culture quite closely.

Some of my contacts on the Internet pray for cops. It is just something they feel compelled to do, no matter just how that compulsion came about. I have been thinking about that. Cops are a peculiar breed, and it might be good for those who would pray for them, or offer any support at all, to understand that sub-culture.

Cops are violent people. Not pointlessly violent like crazed killers. Unfortunately, violence is often required to end violence, and to perform the policing tasks the cop must be violent. They train constantly to be efficiently violent, professionally violent, to end violence quickly and decisively.

That violence often arises from a driving sense of right. It is not necessarily a philosophically founded sense of right. Often it is intuitive, an inherent drive. It leads to embracing the laws of the land to bring order to the land.

Cops tend to see the world in black and white. Good or bad. Right or wrong. At the same time many of them have lived all of their days on the border between ordered society and the differently ordered realm of the criminal. They choose the side of right and good, of law and order, but they know and understand that underworld.

Some slip a bit. It is a difficult place to keep your feet, that dark and broken borderland. Yet they still identify with right, even those who for a time might lose their way.

They stand apart from the rest of society, stand against the dark underworld while being little understood by the society they protect. They cannot trust the criminals with whom they are in constant conflict, and cannot trust the rest of society because they cannot understand.

To constantly stand against those who hate you, to be often criticized and not fully trusted by those you protect, and to practice a violence constrained by high ideals is to be subjected to a constant erosion of the spirit.

So, how to pray for cops? Pray that they will not succumb to the violence, for it is seductive and hard to contain. Pray that the line between good and bad, light and darkness, the lawful and unlawful shall remain clear to them, especially those who must live long close to that line. There are dark seductions there, as well.

Pray that they not be overcome by pride and fail to seek the aid and support of family and friends. Their task is noble, but the society they protect is not always as noble as the ideals they strive to uphold. Pray that they can forgive shortfalls in society and not succumb to bitterness.

Pray that they be able to see and know themselves. There is a time to get out of law enforcement. A time to step away from that dark line, and heal. Pray that each will know that right time to move on.

Cops are humans performing tasks that are sometimes too much for humans to perform. Some depend too much on inflated egos, and might lack the grace to deal gently with those whom they serve. Most will be distant. Some will be bitter, having stood the line too long. To the degree you can, forgive their failings. Be thankful, for they hold a slippery line to keep you safe.

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