Think about it

Ralph Thomas


Several months ago, I was startled by a news bulletin describing the deaths and injuries of employees of a newspaper in France by Islamic terrorists. Granted, some Muslims were offended by cartoons that painted all Muslims with the same brush. This was shocking to me as an American, being as we are each free to express ourselves even though we may not agree and find offensive such news articles, cartoons, etc. However, being offended does not give me the right to injure or kill those I disagree with. It was at this moment I wondered if such an occurrence could happen in America or, even more explicitly, Henry County, Georgia.

Later that day, my wife and I went to what we call “eatery row” on Jonesboro Road for an early supper. I was surprised to see two Henry County police cars parked side by side facing the road across from Truett’s Grill. I had never seen a police car parked like that in that location. Their location suggested to me they were there to assure the public they were on duty and prepared to protect us if need be. They were making their presence known. I felt a sense of peace knowing they were on duty.

While we were having our supper, three uniformed Henry County police officers came into the restaurant, obviously on their dinner break. As I sat watching them, I realized they willing to put their lives on the line for me and those whom I love, as well as everyone else, regardless of color or religious beliefs. I also thought about how little we appreciate their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis and, in many cases, for less pay than they could get in a different occupation. They, like the members of our military services, have volunteered to do this.

It also occurred to me that we used to frequently see members of our military wearing their uniforms in public. I have family members who say they are no longer allowed to wear their uniforms in public because it puts them at risk should some Islamic or other misguided person try to do them harm.

I am deeply appreciative for those who serve our country in the uniformed services, so much so, that I have frequently and anonymously paid their meal tab in a restaurant. I would also stop a uniformed member of the military to thank them for their service to our country. Now, however, I can no longer identify them without them wearing their uniforms. This led me to something I had been taking for granted. Why don’t I do the same for uniformed members of our Henry County police, fire and emergency medical personnel? They have volunteered to come to my assistance at any time and under any conditions should I need them.

Unfortunately, we are at a time when it has become popular in some quarters to accuse, injure and even kill the same public servants whom we would want to come to our aid should we need them. Have there been instances where these servants have acted inappropriately? Of course, just like it happens in any area of life. What I fail to grasp though, is the increasing idea that someone who commits a violent crime deserves protection by a knee-jerk mob while they crucify the police officer for doing what we demanded he do, and that is to protect our lives and our property. As we left the restaurant we passed the table where the police officers were eating. I told them we appreciated their service. I also paid whatever tip they would probably normally leave for their server.

Who are you going to call if someone threatens you or your family with bodily harm or breaks into your home in the middle of the night?

Think about it.

Ralph Thomas is a Locust Grove resident and the author of Doing Great, but Getting Better and Getting Old Can be Fun.