The Photograph that Epitomizes the Problem for Good Cops and Strong Communities

johnson stop

If people were a bit more insightful, and a lot more honest, this photograph taken in Ferguson, Missouri during the riots would win the Pulitzer Prize.  It illustrates the struggle of efficient, proactive law enforcement literally being held back by fear and opposition.

Look at the unknown officer on the left.  Look at his intensity and confidence; his chin up and eyes wide as his body leans forward toward a swarm of violent usurpers.  He took this job for this very moment; to stand up against those that would try to weaken or destroy the order and peace that everyone takes for granted.

It’s uncomfortable to say these days, but he wants to smash the unjust uprising!  You can see it in his eyes.  There is no fear; he is intense and willing to fight.  His confidence almost suggests that God must walk beside him, or that St. Michael appeared to him in a dream the night before to enlist him to fight in some new Crusade.

And then there is Captain Johnson: a political move, ushered in on the wings of political correctness and risk management as fearful leaders appointed him command.  Depending on when the photograph was actually taken, within hours on either end, Captain Johnson walked with protestors and offered this message:

In the photograph, he holds back our hero with a look of insecurity in his eyes.  He knows that his job is not to smash the uprising or to provide hope to a peaceful, law-abiding citizenry that violence will not get its way.  He is there to let things blow over and make the power structure a softer target by having a diverse face.  And when the dust settles, he will happily accept and perhaps promote concessions instituted by federal agencies to hold back officers like our hero even more, and with a hand much stronger than his.

Captain Johnsons are being appointed to high-ranking command positions all over the country.  They are replacing strong police leaders by surpassing more qualified candidates because of their diversity.

When your community appoints a Captain Johnson to your local police administration, remember this photograph.  When your corners are occupied by drug dealers and derelicts as blight explodes, you’ll wonder where officers like the unknown officer in the photograph are at to clear those corners, but you won’t find them.  They will have shrugged.

The Shrug of Law Enforcement

My very first post to my new blog is not an article, but a very brief introduction to set its tone.  I’ve discussed in previous articles published elsewhere that the lack of public support for law enforcement will have its consequences as seen in, “Why Americans Should Reconsider Their Contempt for Today’s Police” and “The Ferguson Riots Show Why Good Cops Will Quit.”

As the physical and legal risks grow heavier and more burdensome on the back of every policemen in America, I can’t help but to introduce my blog with a quote from Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged as she described Atlas having no choice but to drop the world from his shoulders:

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?

I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?

To shrug.