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What 2 incidents say about the public's true feelings toward police

Many “ordinary” citizens who populate this great nation have an inherent willingness to step in to a dangerous confrontation to save a cop’s life


I’ve reported on small acts of kindness by ordinary citizens in support of police and big-money efforts by really famous folks to support law enforcement. 

I’ve also contended that the vast majority of American’s respect, admire, and support their police, and when the chips are down, most people would do whatever they can to help their LEOs

In the span of just two days, two incidents have proven my thesis that when it really counts and lives are on the line, Joe Citizen is more than willing — and often quite able — to rescue a cop in danger. 

A driver who viciously attacked a Florida sheriff’s deputy — Dean Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff's Office — was shot and killed by a law-abiding citizen with concealed-carry weapons permit. (PoliceOne Image)
A driver who viciously attacked a Florida sheriff’s deputy — Dean Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff's Office — was shot and killed by a law-abiding citizen with concealed-carry weapons permit. (PoliceOne Image)

From South Carolina to Florida
On Sunday in South Carolina, a subject was beating two Charleston County Sheriff’s Deputies — Deputy Robert Bittner and Deputy Levi Reiter — about the head and neck with one of the LEOs’ batons. 

According to reports, between six to 10 bystanders came to the aid of those deputies, and the assailant ended up dead from as-yet-unspecified injuries.

The very next day in Florida, a driver who viciously attacked a Florida sheriff’s deputy — Dean Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff's Office — was shot and killed by a law-abiding citizen with concealed-carry weapons permit. According to reports, the suspect pulled the deputy out of his car and began beating him. The CCW citizen then ran to the scene and told the suspect that he’d shoot him if he didn't stop beating the deputy. 

When the attack continued, the good Samaritan shot the assailant three times. The suspect later died.

What we learned from these incidents
Both of the above suspects learned the hard way that when you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes — had they ceased their brutal attacks and complied with lawful commands, they might be alive today. 

All three deputies learned something as well: that many “ordinary” citizens who populate this great nation have an inherent willingness to step in to a dangerous confrontation to save a cop’s life.

Even while a small fraction of the population seize the narrative in the mainstream media with anti-police protests, that silent majority exists. Even while evil predators are increasingly attempting to murder our officers in ambush attacks, good Samaritans exist. The folks in South Carolina and Florida who sprang to action this week are just the most recent examples who prove the point.

Indeed, citizens helping cops dates all the way back to when Sheriffs in the Frontier West would deputize people in order to confront and apprehend dangerous criminals whose violence was tearing at the fabric of those emerging communities.

Famously, when Charles Whitman was shooting and killing people from the observation deck of the tower on the University of Austin Campus in 1966, a citizen named Allen Crum joined the team ascending the stairs and charging toward the sound of the guns. Crum was one of a number of citizens who raced home to arm themselves and take the fight to the gunman that day.

Dozens — perhaps countless — other acts of bravery and heroism have been displayed throughout American history and more can be expected in years to come. 

Our turn to say thank you
I’ve said for years that the general public is more likely to thank the airline pilot at the pointy end of the airplane than they are to thank the police officer taking a burglary report down the street, even though the officer’s impact on their safety is 24/7/365 and the pilot has dominion over their wellbeing for merely a matter of hours. However, every so often — and seemingly more regularly — a citizen will offer a word of thanks to a cop. 

But when the chips are down and a cop really needs some help, that silent majority frequently steps up and risks everything to offer assistance. And in those cases, it is us who have the opportunity to give praise and thanks. 

To all those “ordinary” citizens involved in helping resolve these two recent incidents in which officers’ lives were in peril, I say, “thank you.” 

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