I generally don’t like to go off-topic from focusing on the hearing-impaired. But, I feel the need to express something extremely touching that occurred last weekend.
This story is about a cop who works in the Jerusalem, the great capitol of Israel.
My friend, his three children and a new daughter-in-law visited me last Shabbat. It has been a few years since I last saw them, and in the interim, his older son married. It was wonderful to see them and spend some time talking with them.
I vaguely knew that his older son was a cop in the Jerusalem Police force. Understandably, cops are always faced with dangerous situations. My perception of a cop’s duty has been pretty much limited to New York City cops, and, a bit of what I see on TV. (Although, in real life, cops rarely fly their cars in the air only to land in the water a few feet from a departing ferry, as they show on TV and movies!) I figure that cops occasionally have a robber point a gun and try to shoot them.
However, knowing how terrorists frequently appear in Israel, I asked my friend’s son what would he do if he encountered a terrorist. Clearly he is overpowered. All he has is his gun and the terrorist has a bomb belt. He told me that during training, they tell the cops to either shoot at the terrorist’s head or grab him from behind and try to wrestle him down.
When I heard that second option I was stunned. “You mean, you should take the hit?” I asked. He said that, indeed, they are told to put their lives on the line in order to prevent possibly hundreds of others being harmed.
My friend’s younger son has a more dangerous job. He is a security officer on the Jerusalem transit. He boards the bus and inspects for suspicious packages and suspicious people riding the bus or light rail. His cop brother, at least, is able to call for back-up, if needed. He, by contrast, is alone on the bus.
All cops and security officers – for that matter, anyone who places his / her life on the line so that the public can be safe – are heroes. I’m always surprised and annoyed by how many U.S. people – citizens as well as governments and politicians – insult cops and disrespect them. True, there are a few cops that abuse their power. But, I think these are the far exception than the rule. Regardless, all these people deserve our admiration and support just for placing their lives on the line for the rest of us.
I would imagine that my friend must worry about his children each day. My friend’s son’s “new” wife, must worry about him tremendously, as well. I told my friend’s kids that I hope that if I ever have to read any of their names in a paper or on the web that it is for an honor or other good news, and, not, God forbid, that death or injury occurred to them.
On Shabbat, I say a special prayer for the Israeli Defense Force. Now, I plan to include all the cops, security officers and others in similar positions, who risk their lives each day. For me, this is personal, knowing these two boys.
I ask each of you – whether you personally know a cop or not – to do these things:
- When you see a cop, offer him or her your thanks. I hope all cops hear it from their sergeant or whomever they report to at work. But even if they do, they will truly appreciate hearing it from a citizen like you.
- Maybe every so often, buy a small item for them. There are, sometimes, a few cops waiting by the subway station entrance on my way to work. Every so often, I offer one of them a bottle of cold water, just to show that I care. A few times a year, I stop at my neighborhood police precinct and drop off a cake, pie, or some other goodies just to say, “Thanks”.
- Pray for the safety and welfare of cops and all security people. They are putting their lives at risk to keep you and your neighborhood and city safe. You and are nowhere as brave as they are. We don’t have an iota of the bravery, guts and stamina that these people have.