Jason Wright: Message to cops hanging out in 7-Eleven

Jason Wright

Jason Wright

I should have said something.

Three of you stood in a quiet corner, munching on something and sharing a story. Even though I was running late and on a swift stride, I wish I’d noticed your jurisdiction.

I should have said something.

Not to you, but to the women who walked out clutching their coffees and muttering under their morning breath.

“What’s wrong with them? It drives me crazy when they hang out like that. Aren’t they on the clock?”

I know you’ve heard it all before. It’s that caricature of an overweight police officer downing doughnuts in his cruiser.

Wouldn’t you love to know where that silly stereotype originated? We’ve seen the scene in movies, sitcoms and comic strips. In fact, the only place I haven’t witnessed the police pastry myth is in reality.

That doesn’t seem to matter though, does it? Unless you’re blazing down the road with your lights and sirens on fire or chasing a bad guy out of a bank, then you must be fat and lazy and racing toward a date with diabetes.

Sadly, it’s only getting worse.

We question your motives every time you blink. We doubt your integrity. Roadside interactions are now i-captured and i-studied more than Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane.”

Today, thousands of police will pursue criminals, make arrests, fight for justice and save lives without incident or fanfare. But we don’t hear about those cases.

Why would we? We don’t bother tuning in until an inconclusive and grainy cellphone video hits the internet.

When did this happen? When did you become more disliked and distrusted than the criminals you put behind bars?

When did we land in this alternate universe where the presumption of innocence applies only to knuckleheads with knives and every officer is corrupt until proven otherwise?

I should have said something.

How do they know why you’re standing in a 7-Eleven? How do they know how long you’ve been there? Do they have a clue what you just saw, who you just served or how many you just saved?

How do those women know whether or not you’re on the clock?

Does it even matter? Aren’t you always on the clock when you’re sworn to defend and protect?

I should have said something.

I wish I’d told them how much I admire the brave men and women in this country who wear the uniforms of local, county, state and federal law enforcement.

I should have reminded them that while they get to live without looking over their shoulders when shopping at Target, our brave officers work everyday with one on their backs.

They probably don’t know that according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 128 of our finest were killed in 2015 and 30 have already been buried in 2016 and another perished in Ohio on Tuesday.

I should have told them that, too.

I could have demonstrated how proud I am of my uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors and brothers from church who’ve put their lives on the line for decades.

I might have explained that while I honor and respect those in the armed services defending and fighting for freedom around the world, I feel the very same for those defending and fighting for freedom in my own neighborhood.

Shouldn’t we all feel that way?

It’s time to end the whispering and second guessing.

It’s time to end the mob-driven protests and recognize that in law enforcement, mistakes are extraordinarily rare.

It’s time to commit that next time we walk into a convenience store and see officers munching on something and sharing a story, instead of muttering under our breath, we’ll say, “thank you.”

I know I will.

Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including“Christmas Jars,” “The Wednesday Letters” and “The 13th Day of Christmas.” He can be reached at feedback@jasonfwright.com or http://www.jasonfwright.com.

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