The Westerville, Ohio Police Department received a domestic disturbance call around noon on Feb. 10.
Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering, 17- and 30-year veterans of the small town department, arrived at the address from which the call was made, expecting a simple check-up.
When they knocked on the door, however, they were greeted by a barrage of gunfire. Joering was killed at the scene. Morelli died in surgery soon after he was rushed to the hospital following the incident. Both officers left behind their wives and children.
Authorities believe the killer is 30-year-old Quentin Lamar Smith. At this time not much is known about Smith or his motive, except that he was wounded in the firefight with the officers and then taken to a nearby hospital following the incident. Reading this repulsive story should render any American breathless.
The attack on these innocent officers is part of the tragically malevolent and increasingly popular trend of perceiving police officers as enemies. Cultural icons bolster the opinion that the majority of police desire to hurt rather than protect.
Countless celebrities have abused their platform, pushing the narrative that police hurt and kill innocent people, all while implying that it is the citizen’s job to put them in their place by fighting back. At an anti-police rally at Washington Square in New York City, Quentin Tarantino said, “I am a human being with a conscience. And when I see murder, I cannot stand by, and I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”
This statement was made in response to legally absolved and justified police shootings that certain people decided were unjust. America already has a trial-by-jury system set in stone, and justice can’t work properly if public opinion determines guilt.
Many members of political movements such as Black Lives Matter and “antifa” spread the idea that anarchy is a better option than the legal system that our country has in place. They say that police unjustly kill people in the street, so the people have a right and duty to revolt.
In reality, these so-called social movements are terrorists organizations. When people and organizations with such massive popularity challenge their followers to take the law into their own hands, and fight against certain people for unjust reasons, they abuse their power.
They actively seek chaos and anarchy, which Americans should treat as terrorism, rather than praise as progressive. Wes Enzinna, a writer for the leftist Mother Jones magazine, stated in an interview, “Yes, I think they’re not opposed to violence. I spent about two years investigating the antifa movement and getting to know five men who were imprisoned for a violent attack.” Allowing a violent organization such as antifa to thrive is dangerous to law enforcement and citizens with whom they may disagree.
Many professional athletes, too, have jumped on he protest bandwagon for only one reason: popularity. They serve as role models for thousands of children around the country and, in conveying their anarchist message, implant the idea that kids can’t trust the police.
The problem with athlete protests is similar to that of celebrities: they claim to stand right there with struggling people in this country, but at the end of the day they retreat to their mansions and continue living luxurious lives. Their hypocritical protests and lifestyles turn more and more people against the police.
There are outlying cases in which an officer takes advantage of his badge. One example may be the shooting of Daniel Shaver, who was forced to crawl on the ground and shot when he tried to pull up his loose-fitting pants by a trigger-happy officer at a New Mexico Hotel. No weapons were found on Shaver’s person.
The overwhelming majority of police officers, however, are good men and women who simply wish to protect and serve the citizens of this great country.
Rhetoric against police officers has led to a tragic increase in violence against and murder of officers.
In 2017, 128 officers were killed in the line of duty, 44 of those were shot. In comparison to only five years ago, these numbers are extremely high. In 2013, the year Black Lives Matter was founded, 76 law enforcement officers were killed on duty. Only 26 were shot.
These sickening statistics prove that this country needs change. The media’s failure to send positive messages regarding police makes it easier for anti-police groups to have a larger impact on the people of this country.
To change these statistics, we first have to change the culture that allows these injustices to happen.
Until people realize that they are manipulated by lies and are able to see the facts, unjustified killings of honorable police officers will continue to happen.
Liam Bredberg is a sophomore studying the liberal arts.