A recent video has surfaced depicting citizens in New York City dousing NYPD cops with water. In two different incidents (one in the Bronx and the other in Harlem), police officers were not only pelted with water but had buckets of water thrown on them. In one case, the emptied bucket was tossed at an officer, striking him on the head.
No one was injured during either incident (as far as we can tell from the video), but most people look upon these incidents as highly disrespectful to the public servants. Fortunately, the drenching was done during a heatwave, so despite the disrespect, the police probably got a little relief for a few seconds. On the downside, walking around post-soaking had to be a tad miserable.
Responding in Kind
In both cases, the constables were in the process of carrying out their respective duties. Admirably, none of the officers responded in kind. In fact, they hardly reacted at all. Their restraint was incredible and almost unbelievable. I say unbelievable because each of these confrontations was punishable by law. We don’t often think about water as a weapon, but the actions were tantamount to assault and battery. No one was arrested, however, and it doesn’t appear as if the policemen even raised their voices to the perpetrators.
The public’s reaction (from what I’ve seen so far) has been one of outrage that these community protectors were accosted by the community itself. These insolent activities have been rightfully viewed as unacceptable, to say the least. I find that attitude to be refreshing as viewed against the backdrop of some of the vitriol shown our crime-fighting authorities over the past several years. Frankly, I am surprised and pleased by the widespread and across-the-board outpouring of support for our heroes in blue.
The Apostle Paul was pretty clear about how he felt about such things. The famous passage from Romans 13 states that if respect is due them, show them respect. If honor is due them, show them honor. He went so far as to say that those in authority are “God’s servants.” He felt that the Lord placed them in those positions for a reason. The implication is that, unless they prove otherwise, they are due any deference we give them. In current parlance, “Sounds like a plan.”
The Good Guys
It is true, of course, that not all cops deserve the honor we might give them. Still, from my experience, the good guys (and gals) among their ranks are far and away the vast majority of their number. It’s heartening to see the public rally around the blue knights this time around. Unfortunately, we seem to have a ways to go. As long as water is the worst thing we throw at our gendarmes, we might be able to dodge a bullet (no pun intended). Water isn’t where it ends, though. Buckets, rocks, ammo can’t be far behind when respect is laid aside.
P.S. He also suggested we pray for “those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2).
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]