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I went to a funeral today

Walker Police Officer Trevor Slot was killed last week as he was attempting to place spike strips on a freeway off-ramp to stop the escape of two bank robbers. The robbers were firing rifles at pursuing police officers. They hit Officer Slot with their vehicle, killing him. Their vehicle then crashed; they were firing at officers when they were killed. Walker is a suburb of Grand Rapids, MI, where I live.

Maybe it’s because I’m from a police family that I’m so moved. My dad’s father was a police officer killed in the line of duty; my uncle spent a full career in the FBI. One of my sisters recently retired from an administrative position with a police force; another sister is, for lack of a better word, an auxiliary in the Sheriffs Department. My son is a police officer. And I was a reserve deputy sheriff for Kent County until I decided to run for sheriff—and was fired for doing so. So, while I spent a full career in the US Army, I’m from a police family.

The ceremony for Officer Slot was formal and included all the appropriate honors that he deserved. The fire and police departments were there in force—sharp and professional. There were hundreds of officers from all over the nation. Back when I was a rough-tough airborne, ranger, infantryman I never cried; I do now, and I did today.

We lose a lot more military people than we do police; they, too, properly receive full honors and the thanks of the people whom they were protecting. Supporting the military is politically correct today—unlike in my day when I returned from Vietnam. While the citizens of this nation like us, they really don’t want to join us. Most see the defense of freedom as someone else’s job.

Federal crime statistics show that the amount of violent crime is down across the nation. This is mostly true because more and more states permit law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons legally. Most criminals are cowards who won’t take a chance if their intended victim might be armed. On the other hand, the violent crimes that are happening are getting more vicious and violent. More police officers are being attacked and killed than before. And it’s going to get worse, as al Qaida and friends continue to recruit native-born Americans to step into terrorism. I fear that there will be many more funerals of brave men and women—in the military and law enforcement—that I’ll be attending.

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