An unruly crowd had gathered and loudly jeered as the officer put his men in line. The commander could see his men were frightened. This crowd had turned ugly and even though it was night time the hate and resentment in their eyes were amplified by the dim light of the street lamps.
As the line formed, a hail of snowballs and rocks rained down on the surrounded ragged line. Suddenly, with neither a warning nor a command, a rattle of gunfire erupted sporadically down the line and the stunned crowd dropped their snowballs and dragged off their dead and wounded. Four died immediately and one lingered and died the next day.
This historic event on March 5, 1770 came to be known as “The Boston Massacre.” The peace was disturbed by an angry crowd who resented the presence of an occupying army, which ironically was there to keep that peace. That army was allowed to search a colonist’s home without warrant and arrest a man on a whim. The way the colonists were policed was one of the most significant grievances of the men that signed that document known as the Declaration of Independence.
Those who bravely signed that document would have been hung for treason without a trial if captured before the War of Independence was won.
One of the blossoms of that seed of freedom planted on July 4th, 1776 which is still blooming today is American Policing. Policing such as it’s done in America today never existed in the entire history of the world before 1776. American police officers police with a system of checks and balances which insure that the policing in this country is a shining example of the freedom that our forefathers declared in that document and American servicemen secured with blood in every American War fought since.
Audie Murphy, the most decorated of all those American soldiers, was once asked, “What is the true meaning of America? His response was this:
“The true meaning of America, you ask? It's in a Texas rodeo, in a policeman's badge, in the sound of laughing children, in a political rally, in a newspaper... In all these things, and many more, you'll find America. In all these things, you'll find freedom. And freedom is what America means to the world. And to me."
Being an American Police Officer may be a job to some, to others a career, and still others it is a profession. What is American Policing? It really is a sacred and most honorable calling. As Audie Murphy put it so well, it is a reflection of “the true meaning of American Freedom.” You secure the independence of America every day by the way you police. God Bless American Freedom.
God Bless the American Police Officer, a reflection of that freedom.
PS: To American Policing, Happy Birthday!