Saturday, August 29, 2015

Go Forth for Goforth

As I sat on the stationary bike at the gym this afternoon, breaking news came across the channel I was watching.  Rarely ever an indication of a GOOD news story, I listened more intently and discovered it was even worse than I thought it would be.  I watched the entire press conference as the Harris Co., TX sheriff and district attorney informed us all of the senseless assassination of one of their deputies outside a gas station last night.  Deputy Darren Goforth was killed in cold blood, seemingly just because he was wearing his uniform.  There appears, at this time, to be no other motive.

Stories like this affect me more than they might affect others and they are, unfortunately, happening all too often.  Those of you who know me are probably aware that my father was a Carlisle, PA police officer and my grandmother was a Cumberland Co., PA deputy sheriff.  Although they are both retired now, I can still remember when both were active in those professions.  Thank God we didn't seem to have these types of news stories happening back then or I would have been terrified.  I could easily have been in the position that Deputy Goforth's five-year-old & twelve-year-old children woke up to find themselves in this morning.  I'm glad to hear that the non-profit 100 Club will be providing those children and Deputy Goforth's widow with all the assistance they need, but nothing will replace that missing part of their family.

If there is anything positive that I could find about the news conference, it's in something that the district attorney said and the sheriff reiterated.  "It's time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement," Devon Anderson, the Harris County DA, emotionally pleaded.  I couldn't agree more.  I completely understand outrage when a few crooked rogue cops unjustly break the laws they are sworn to uphold, but those are few and far between.  By all accounts I've seen, this deputy was not one of those people.  He was a veteran police officer, loved by family and friends and a credit to the force.  He did not deserve to be executed like this.

Our media and our own speech are protected by the First Amendment and I am a HUGE proponent of it, as well as the rest of our rights, but there is a line of decency that must be drawn.  News shows seemingly thrive on sensationalizing the stories of bad officers, so much so that the good officers in our country are tarnished and become targets of individuals out for vigilante justice and blood.  I'm not saying that the media should be censored, but there needs to be judgment calls of decorum made at some level to say "We will report this as a news item, but we will not augment with opinion, nor will we continue to ram it down the throats of the American public".  Taking this very simple stance across the board, whether it be TV, newspapers, magazines, or online, would go a LONG way to ensure that other officers like Deputy Goforth don't lose their lives.

The shooter is still at-large in the Houston area and as such, I can't comment further on the individual's motive or state of mind, but this does lead me to another issue.  If we do, in fact, find that this person is mentally ill or has a history of mental illness, it would be just another in the growing list of cases that suggest we are WAY overdue for a real dialogue on combating mental illness in this country.  We can legislate all day and pledge to ban as many weapons as exist, but a mentally ill person intent on doing harm to another person will find a way to do it, no matter what you try to ban.  Eliminating all objects from their grasp, they would still probably try to choke someone with their bare hands or stomp them to death with their feet.  Again, I don't know if this shooter was mentally ill, but I would suggest that anyone who commits a violent act like this IS mentally ill to some extent, regardless if they have a history of it or not.  Fighting mental illness may not be able to rehabilitate this person, but it can prevent others from BECOMING this person.

Once the shooter is found...and trust me, the shooter will be found...I hope that the justice system processes the individual swiftly and fairly.  When that person is found guilty, I hope that he (video points to it being a "he") receives the maximum penalty allowed by law, which should be the death penalty in Texas, and that the sentence not be dragged out for months or years.  It amazes me that the same people in our society who wish to abolish the death penalty as a maximum sentence for the most heinous of crimes don't hold the same sanctity for life for unborn children.  Obviously you can infer from that comment that I am pro-life, but some of you probably feel I'm hypocritical for being pro-capital punishment.  You may think that if you wish, but I have a simple explanation.  Unborn children haven't had the opportunity to let us know who they are or who they will become.  They are born into this world with the same choices everyone else has of being who they want to be.  Unfortunately, some like this shooter have made the choice to be a criminal, and not just any criminal, but one who has committed cold-blooded murder.  If there is any shadow of a doubt that this was a premeditated act and not the result of his complete loss of mental faculties, this shooter deserves to be put to death.  This will assure that the person will no longer be able to commit any further acts like this and will also not be stuck for the rest of his life in a cell with no possibility of rehabilitation while being a drain on the penal system paid for by a public that does not feel he is worthy of any sympathy whatsoever.

Not only do I continue to pray that the shooter is found without further incident and that Deputy Goforth's family and friends find a way through this heartache to heal and move on, but I also pray for this country.  An incident like this needs to be a wake-up call that we are headed down the wrong path.  Even if you are not someone who is religious, you see an overwhelming amount of evidence every day that we are losing not only common sense, but a sense of right and wrong.  You don't have to pray to any God to know that going up to an unsuspecting deputy sheriff at a gas pump and unloading multiple shots into him to end his life is wrong under ANY circumstance.  Whether we are witnessing a devolution of humanity or we're just seeing the decline of the Roman empire in its last days repeated here in America, those of us with pulses, brains, and hearts who can see the writing on the wall need to band together and try to reverse it.  It starts with us.

Sometime after you read this, hug your wife, your husband, your children, your grandchildren, a pet, or someone you love and do it memory of Deputy Darren Goforth, who is no longer here on Earth to do so with his loved ones.  Send up a prayer or a positive thought for his family and friends, for police officers in Harris Co., TX and around the world, then give one for the rest of us.  We can use as many as we can get.

1 comment:

roger williams said...

We truly are becoming a vicious AMORAL society I pray we will find our way to happiness and peace.