The other day my officer and I were discussing some of the numbers that Officer Parker had shared surrounding rising crime rates in the cities where police have been “defunded”. In Portland, the city nearest us, homicides have risen 800%. No, that’s not a typo-now, in Portland, someone is much more likely to be murdered. 800% more.
Half of me is shocked, and the other half of me is not a little bit surprised. We, as blue families, have always known how important law enforcement is for the safety of our communities. We know that’s it’s not just stopping active crime but also community outreach and patrol that helps prevent crime in the first place.
Half of me is saddened by these shocking statistics, but an uglier part of me wants to whisper “See? We told you so.” Half of me wants to yell at the public to wake up, and then that other ugly part rears its head and whispers “Let them see how it plays out.”
But it’s not the mayors and political figures and activists who are demanding defunding that are paying the price. It’s the little girl jumping on her trampoline that’s struck by a stray bullet. It’s the busy mom driving down the freeway that is gunned down. It’s the faithful store owner that’s beaten to a pulp and left for dead. It’s the toddler strapped into his car seat that takes a bullet and breathes his last breath.
Our communities are paying the price in our upside down, backwards world, and it’s breaking my heart. “Wake up, world!” half of me wants to scream. The other half of me wants to curl up in a ball and wait for it all to be over.
Meanwhile, my officer, and thousands like him, are continuing to strap on their vests and pin on their badges each day, to go out into communities that don’t want them, because they believe in protecting and serving. Thank you, officers, for reminding me not to give up. Thank you for showing me what it’s like to love on your community. And thank you for continuing to be the good in a very broken world.