Please, Not Another Parade

Guest News & Views

“This damn war — the blood, the noise, the endless poetry!”

— Rick Mayall in Blackadder Goes Forth

We can all agree that yesterday’s shooting and killing of Brentwood police officer Steve Arkell was a tragedy.

His fellow officers will no doubt be doing their utmost in the days (and months, and years) ahead to remind us of what a brave and honorable man he was. A family man. A hero.

But before too long — it never takes too long — these accolades start to sound a little self-serving, like maybe the speaker is describing the police officers still living, rather than the one who died.

Don’t misunderstand me: Being a cop is a dangerous, serious job. My brother was a police officer for ten years, and found himself in a few tense situations. I got used to worrying about him.

And that’s just it, you see: Like many jobs, being a cop entails a lot of risk. Those who do the job get used to it; those of us who know someone doing the job get used to it too.

I imagine that’s how it is for loggers, and their families and friends; likewise for fishermen, pilots, roofers, structural steel and iron workers, trash collectors, electricity power line installers and maintenance personnel, truck drivers, farmers and ranchers, and construction laborers.

Why do I mention those jobs specifically? According to Forbes, these are the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America.

Where do flags fly at half-mast for them? When are their parades and road races? I’ve yet to receive a telemarketing call raising money for their dependents’ college fund. What politicians will be jostling for a place at the podium to honor their fallen? Why no week on the calendar to remember their deeds? What highway has been dedicated?

In America, we’re all equal. Sometimes, though, it seems as if some of us are more equal than others.

Call me crazy, but from where I’m sitting that distinction is largely made based on the source of the recipients income and whether or not he wears a uniform to work — especially if that uniform has a badge on it.

If he’s lost shooting at brown people in the Middle East — even better.

That guy who fixes downed power lines — receiving his paycheck from a private source, in exchange for goods and services rendered — is saving lives, and at great personal risk.

Gov. Hassan won’t shed any tears for him though, should tragedy strike. Her tears are reserved for people who get their money from taxpayers.

Maybe one day, when the socialists get their way and power companies are taken over by the state, those sweating (in summer) and freezing (in winter) and dying (year ’round) for our comfort and security will finally get their due.

Doctors and nurses will be getting some credit by then as well. All it takes is a simple concept called “single payer.”

Officer Arkell and his family deserve our sympathy, for sure. But let’s not forget the many people whose names we’ll never know who also put their lives on the line to keep us safe, happy and secure — and they, too, do it every single day. The service they render is at least as valuable as that of a police officer. Their risk, however, is often greater.