We took a pointed shot Thursday at last week’s miles-long memorial police procession on behalf of murdered Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton. I expected to get torn to pieces after it ran, but was surprised: Reactions were evenly split between those who think the processions have gone over the top and those who thought we were spitting on Brenton’s grave.
Civilians tended to be of the former persuasion; the police of the latter (they didn’t put it quite so bluntly). The people with the badges have special standing in this debate. Here’s one particularly thoughtful comment from my exchange with one officer (I don’t have permission to use his name):
The murder of a police officer is an assault on the fabric of our society. The murder of an officer is an assault on each and every police officer in this country. We feel that way. That is why so many officers attend the service and honor the fallen.
We process to honor his life, his family, and his service to our nation. We have a bond that few do. When gunfire happened inside the Southcenter Mall during last year’s holiday season, people inside got outside as soon as possible. We ran headfirst to the sounds of the shooting. We ran past all the people fleeing to safety while we endangered ourselves. We only have each other to count on during those times.
I am not stating all this to be dramatic. I am trying to explain why upwards of 1,000 police officers, from far and away, have a need to be apart of the memorial.
It is very interesting that the duration and size of the procession is viewed negatively by the public. I only say this because the thing that bothers the public is the first thing that we take notice of. If seeing officers from Canada, California, Oregon, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and other states makes us feel the way it does, I can only imagine how Officer Brenton felt about it while he viewed from above.