Time to fight for peace

Time to fight for peace

The holiday season is a time for peace and love while being with family members. It is a time to take a deep breath, to look around and to be grateful for everything around you.

However, for hundreds of thousands of cops across America, this holiday season will be spent differently. After the grand jury decisions of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police officers around America have been the target of hatred, of misplaced fear, and of distrust.

This hatred towards police was never more evident than on Dec. 20, when  a Baltimore man, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, decided to take it upon himself to “even the score” with NYPD’s police officers; he walked up to the police car, revolver in hand, and shot.

Because of Brinsely’s hatred, Officer Rafael Ramos will never spend another Christmas with his two young children, and newly married Officer Wenjian Liu, will never experience his first Christmas with his wife.

These officers were more than a uniform; they were human beings.

These officers were working overtime, away from their families. They were, working to protect us, working to allow us to go to our families’ houses this Christmas, working to put maybe one or two extra presents under the Christmas tree for their own families.

These officers wore the same uniforms as the police who ran into the burning Twin Towers on 9/11.  These officers wore the same uniforms as the policemen who ran toward the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line while the rest of us ran away. These officers wore the same uniform as every other police officer who risks his or her  life every day he or she wears the badge.

I have had the honor of growing up in an NYPD family, and working for my Uncle’s NYPD equipment shop in the Bronx. Throughout my life, I have personally met and talked to a lot of police officers while working at Paul’s Police Shop. Cops who were funny, cops who were shy, cops who were quiet, cops who were loud.

They were all different, but they all had one thing in common: They were fully committed to protecting New York.

I have read thousands of tweets, posts and comments, that bashed all police officers saying that the “pigs” on the streets are just murderous cowards hiding behind their badges.

I am fortunate enough to know that this is not true.

It is a sad fact that throughout a full calendar year, Police Officers in America are involved in an average of 400 killings. However 98.9 percent of these cases are stamped as justified. In comparison, an average of 150 Police Officers are killed in the line of duty each year. Making split second, and sometimes fatal, decisions are just part of the job for a cop.

Every year I sell equipment to the nervous, yet thrilled, prospective cops who will be leaving for the academy in a few short weeks.

They talk about how excited they are to embark on what will be the most challenging, and hopefully fulfilling, experience of their lives.

They have dreams of catching the bad guys, helping the children, saving the day, protecting New York City.

Given the pride they feel and the sacrifices they give, it is sad thinking that police officers walk around in fear just because of their uniform.

But this isn’t a race issue or a profession issue, this is an American issue.

Times of adversity often bring out the best and worst in people. But the only way to stop the problem is to come together and fight it together.

When we do that, we will truly be able to live united in the States of America.