The lead headline in Wednesday's USA Today may elicit sadness, anger, concern, or any number of reactions -- "Chilling: 4th Cop Slain in 9 Days."
Gliniewicz, Goforth, Nelson, and Vincent are the names of the four slain officers. We grieve with their families.
The cop world is dangerous. Cops have guns, and it seems everyone else has guns. And guns are good at killing people when in the wrong hands.
I hope we find this situation unacceptable -- that we not just shrug and say that's the way it is, that's the way it has always been, and that's the way it always will be. Jesus is about redemption, both eternally and temporally, brought hope and healing, love and forgiveness into our world and instructed us to do the same.
The problems that lead to deaths of cops are deep and complex. Solutions, therefore, also will not be easy.
It's only part of the issue, but in light of all that has happened in recent months here are a few suggestions:
-- Cops have a tough job, a very dangerous job. They need our respect and honor. Churches should provide safe and encouraging spaces for cops to talk about the challenges of their jobs.
-- Cops should be paid well. We shouldn't put badges on chests and guns in holsters without treating the job as worthy of good pay, hazard pay.
-- Cops should be required to have a certain level of education and undergo continuing training in psychology, mental health, cultural competency ethics, safety, firearms, communication, and more. This is a tough job, and tough jobs require lots of training.
It is important that our laws be just and that they be enforced in a just manner. Law enforcement officials are an important link in our criminal justice chain. Let's pray for them, support them, honor them, and expect the highest from them. They serve and protect, we owe them nothing less.