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The Silence of a President

The Silence of a President

This past week has been an onslaught of tragic news for law enforcement.  Seven police officers were killed in six days and all but one were gunned down by assailants.   Four officers were murdered on February 10th and in between each tragedy we heard news of officers being shot across the country including two in Baton Rouge and one in Mississippi.

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As we previously pointed out, many are asking why President Obama has been so silent during this violence against law enforcement.  Indeed, I can’t recall this many officers murdered in such a short time in recent years and the President has probably brought this critique on himself.   He was quick to speak out on local police matters when his friend, Henry Gates, was arrested and while the President eventually called the arresting officer to apologize to him, it was odd to see the President of the United States speak out on a local police matter when he did not know all of the facts.

Personally, I chalked it up to a rookie mistake and didn’t think much of it.  Others had immediate concerns. Law Officer Columnist William Gage was one of those and he stated “this was insight into the President’s psyche and overall view of law enforcement.”  Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu said “that’s his lens on how he sees our heroes and our protectors.” The concerns of Babeu and Gage were validated as we have watched President Obama quickly give a statement when convenience store robber Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer.  He did the same for Trayvon Martin and again for Laquan McDonald.  I’ll also give the President a pass on those comments.  Those communities were mired in controversy and potential violence and there are times a President must calm the country.  The debate continues on whether these selected remarks actually did that or made the issue of race relations worse but in our opinion sending White House Representatives to the funeral of felon Michael Brown was a mistake.  That action sent the message that Brown was a victim and of course we now know he was a felon that was trying to kill a police officer.

Maybe the President recognized that mistake which prompted Vice President Joe Biden to attend the funeral of New York City Detective Rafael Ramos, who was ambushed along with Detective Wenjian Liu in a car on December 20, 2014. These deaths took place on the heels of the Ferguson riots.  While the White House may have felt pressure to attend we would like to think that Biden, a long time supporter of law enforcement, went because it was the right thing to do.  That would be the only law enforcement funeral the White House would ever attend under President Obama.

As we see it, the President deserves every bit of the blame here.  We would not expect a sitting President to comment on local police matters but this one has and if you are going to do that there is an expectation that those comments that come in times of police controversy will also come in police tragedy.

Some may point out that President Obama has spoken at the annual Police Memorial Service on the Capital Grounds each May.  That is a designated day each year set aside for law enforcement where the President is expected to speak,  Indeed he has spoken in four of the previous seven years but those acts aren’t enough for many in law enforcement.  One of those is Carroll County Sheriff James T. DeWees who the placed the text on Facebook to a letter he wrote to President Obama this week.  In the lettet he makes reference to the two sheriff deputies murdered in Harford County, just 50 miles from Washington D.C.

“…….I understand that you are a busy man and are being pulled in multiple directions every day of the week. But, when my president doesn’t take the time to openly recognize the sacrifices that brave men & women of law enforcement make each day to keep domestic peace, I’m disappointed! I suspect that if these same deputies walked in to a restaurant, and without provocation shot and killed an innocent man, you and your staff would quickly whisk their family away to Washington for a future speech to make an example of police officers nationwide.”

Sheriff DeWees expresses what many in the profession believe.   It has been a very tough time for law enforcement and while there is no doubt a sensitivity towards any perceived attack against the profession, we believe there is merit for the belief that President Obama has been silent when it comes to the violence heaped against the profession.

We see it as a balancing issue.  Simply put, the President is unbalanced on the issue.  He has repeatedly shown that he is quick to talk and act when he believes law enforcement has done something wrong but slow when law enforcement are the victims or need support for their mission.

President Obama still has time to regain his balance with law enforcement.  As one officer said to us this week, “these are domestic threats killing your domestic troops, Mr. President. When will you hear our cries for help? Or will you continue to remain silent.”

We say the President does not have to stay silent.  We ask him to speak loudly in support of the men and women protecting the homeland.

 

 

About The Author

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Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. His Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates has a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for SAFETAC Training.

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  • KarenJ

    It’s a lie that Michael Brown was a felon. http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/brown.asp

    BTW, did President Reagan, President Clinton, or President Bush attend very many of the law enforcement funerals that occurred under their watch? Did anyone care before 2009?

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  • Excellent work, Travis. For the record, I was in DC during Police Week last year representing the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. I heard the President’s remarks at our memorial service and found them condescending at best. This President is perhaps the most anti-law enforcement President in history and his potential replacement, Hillary, does not have much use for us either (and covering her is considered the worst detail in the entire US Secret Service). Praying for a new President who will love our military, law enforcement and yes, America.

  • This administration’s silence, as well as the silence of the governor of Virginia, on the death of Officer Ashley Guindon tells all. I stood for the twenty minutes it took for Officer Ashley Guindon’s procession to pass my house. Miles of motor and patrol units passed between thousands of citizens holding candles along the route. But, this morning there is still no word from the Whitehouse. Mr. Obama quoted John 15:13 for crime victims when persons such as Officer Guindon make that choice every time they pin on the badge and leave home.

    I cannot fathom how any Officer can in good conscience vote for a continuation of the culture that gave rise to the current pro-thug, anti-police voice out of Washington. Silence equals consent.

  • Joe

    The president is not stupid and he is very good at what he does. But what he does is not what he would have you believe is being done. He subtly “disses” law enforcement while at the same time he encourages black rejection of what is seen as white authority. He does this with veiled language such as “looked like what my son would have looked like if I had a son”, and other two-faced platitudes. That’s why he always talks in such a slow, halting manner. He is thinking of what he’d really like to say, but then he has to couch it in duplicitous terms before he says it.

  • Elizabeth

    Look I am by no means a fan of Obama, he in my belief makes Nixon look like a choir boy. His belief that LE is solely ty o blame for the division that is ripping our country apart is apparent, what I wonder is this while all these so called “Black Leaders” were giving their pretty speeches in flaming and race baiting the already disgruntled masses to stupidity and violence over for the most part CRIMINALS, there are only a small amount of these deaths who were not criminals, that they rioted and looted and burned down cities for why the hell were they not outrage, incensed and screaming for justice for the innocent victims like the 9 year old killed in a drive by while doing her home work? Or the little boy executed in an alley on the way to his grand mothers house because his daddy was from a rival gang? Where is the out rage? Where is the call for justice? You want to keep us separated with your race baiting and lies but when it is truly innocence you are no where to be found does that make me a racist or a human being?

  • R

    Not “slow” when law enforcement are the victims – he is non-existent. It is far too late for him to make amends. He has exhibited his behavior for too long and in terms too strong to reverse his image. He has done more to damage race relations and encourage lawlessness than any one individual ever has.

  • Lynn Rudkin

    If everyone speaks up, things will have to change. Make your voice heard.
    President Obama https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact#page
    Sen. Bernie Sanders https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
    Hillary Clinton https://forms.hillaryclinton.com/contact

  • Champ Kind

    He only knows what CNN and other news sources report. He doesn’t care and doesn’t feel inclined to inform himself or speak unless his string is pulled. Failure.

  • bob r

    Yeah, and Beyonce with blood on hands!!!!#! 🙁

  • danielle

    WE also have to remember that the President’s background is of a lawyer – a group that is not notoriously supportive of police officers – a community activist – as well as a civil rights lawyer. So altho in the position he holds he should be more egilatarian – his background, especially in the last months of his office, is dictating his response, or lack of response, to this issue. Just my opinion!

    • James

      In response to “danielle,” I’d like to argue one point with you: “. . . a group that is not notoriously supportive of police officers. . .” this is not the case. There are groups of attorneys who do not support LEOs, but most, do; in fact, most attorneys have sided with police in multiple occasions. As for the President being a civil rights attorney, he dealt primarily with housing developments, some federal acts, and, voter registration.

      Anyway, I agree, the President should remain neutral on most matters. I fail to see why he would even comment on local matters.

  • Gaz

    As much as I agree with a lot of this, I hate articles with factually inaccurate statements. When you described the NY detective as the only White House attended LE funeral…. I remember Biden getting pretty heated up at Officer Sean Collier’s funeral. You should know better and fact check your article/statements. These articles fall apart when they have glaring factual errors, which is a shame when you’re spot on with your point. Just brings into question everything else you say, and as an LE you should know once one inaccuracy is found the whole story is tainted.

  • Michael

    Proud to be one of Sheriff DeWees’ deputies. His words ring very true.

  • serge

    Yes-continue to speak-someday he will hear you

  • Amy Forsyth Juliano

    Having lost my Son in the line of duty E.O.W. 4/6/15 I will be attending the Police
    Memorial in DC this year. If he speaks I will turn my back to him.

  • Mth3ee

    I certainly don’t want to get in the way of your little hate rant, but it may be possible that the president does not broadcast his respects to the families because he is not a publicity whore. It may be possible that he’s contacted the families privately. I don’t know for sure but I’ll give him the benefit of doubt because of his past history. But again don’t let facts get in the way of your hate. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/09/01/president-obama-violence-against-police-is-completely-unacceptable/

  • Sindia

    If President Obama, had been a white male, all this malicious, disrespect to a President, would never had been said or even written or publicized. Period. It is still prejudice and racism, as it has been for so many years, and it still continues, in the year of 2016. Unbelieveable. Really, that is all that i have to say. I do hope that some day, that , we can see each other , as , just individual and not be judge by color or creed.

    • Russ

      I guess you missed all the vitriol and attacks directed towards Bush.

    • John Lentz

      So killing all of these officers is olright with you? Here comes the race card. “We know nothing about raising no babies, I can’t breathe…..” I served in combat in Vietnam and we didn’t distinguish differences in color. We were brothers thrown into a war…. Give me a break lady!!!!!

  • State Trooper

    As a law enforcement officer of almost 20 yrs I can say with all certainty there is absolutely nothing President Obama can, might or would say that I and many of my colleagues want to hear. He is a disgrace to the office he holds.

  • Joe

    Let me get this straight. There is not ONE police officer, that has lost their life in the line of duty, in all of America, that could be Obama’s son? BIG PRESIDENTIAL FAIL.

  • Ruthann

    His silence , shows me his true colors.

  • Merna Parks

    Dear Mr. President…I have waited and hoped you would address the murders of the recent Law Enforcement officers. 7 in 6 days. While I am not shocked that you haven’t, it makes me sick that you haven’t. These are the men and women that also protect you, your wife, and your daughters.Your not to busy…you just DON’T care. The people of this nation see who you have time for…the problem makers! You have time to dine with Al Sharpton in OUR White House, and know full well he should be locked up for unpaid taxes. Never in my 58 years have I seen one of our President’s be so disrespectful. When you were elected everyone said: Awesome, our first black President (although you are not black but mixed).You were supposed to help make this country better, bring us closer together as ONE NATION UNDER GOD. Your actions make me wonder if you are really an AMERICAN. Us Americans stand together, not against. You sir, are a disgrace to every man and woman wearing a uniform, and that includes our military. I so wish this would make it to your desk!!
    (This is what I put on my facebook a few days ago)

  • donna

    If the president would have started the rhetoric that parents need to teach their kids to obey the laws and they won’t get shot. All the ones that have been shot and in the news either stole something from a store and the police was trying to arrest them or they started to call the cops names and fight. I always taught my kids if a cop stopped them for anything to say, “Yes sir and be very respectful because if they were taken to jail for something they did…they were going to stay there for a few days to learn to show a little respect. I have never had any problems with my kids bad mouthing anyone let alone a police officer. They are here to protect us. The president went along with “Black Lives Matter” instead of instilling “All Lives Matter”. The parents of all these kids go for law suits to make money off the backs of their dead kids rather than try to get word out to other families to do something positive in the community. They always use the excuse that slavery put them in this frame of mind. If they would study History, they would know that Irish and a lot of other nationalities had their kids taken away and sold into slavery. You kids from 10 to 14 yrs. old were sold into slavery and if they fought back they were hung up by their hands and their feet or hands were set on fire. They are the only race that were brutalized. So were the indians. Grow up and change how people view you instead of wanting to start an all out war with white people…..white people are the ones that rescued them out of slavery thru the underground railroad and safe places to hide. Move on with your life. I’m white and I worked two jobs most of my life to raise my kids and put a roof over their heads and paid a lot of taxes so a lot of other people would sit on their ass and not work because they thought they were abused. There’s a lot of us who had rough lives but if you work hard and make an effort, you can dig out of the hole you’re in. LOOK at OPRAH WINFREY. She was my idol even though I’m white. She overcame all odds and believe me she worked hard all her life.

  • Katherine P. Fowler

    Divide and Conquer!! If all the policemen quit, it will have to be Marshall Law, maybe this is what President Obama is thinking. At least, to me, it appears he has done more to Promote Racial Tensions back as they were in the 60’s. He does not have long to do all this, so he can become KING!! 🙂

    • Vittoria De Maurizi

      Martial

  • Gayle

    I think obama is only a president if it is something that he cares about or his friends. He is not an American President. I think he has no respect for LAW ENFORCEMENT because he thinks his people should get away with crime. He wants them to protect them and his family but he does not care that so many of them are being killed thugs. SPEAK OUT ABOUT THIS obama!

  • Sandra Magruder

    His silence says it all.

  • Robert Kean

    Our current “President” has demonstrated in numerous and frequent ways that he is intent on causing as much damage to our Country and way of life as he can. From fiscal rape to moral depravity he has done his best to undermine the fabric of American excellence and productivity.

    • demian

      Moral Depravity? LOL

  • Tom Tindal

    I do not feel that “President Obama still has time to regain his balance with law enforcement.” In regards to law enforcement he has shown his true colors. Pray for a new President that supports the military and law enforcement.

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