Yesterday an Oregon City reserve police officer died from injuries caused while in the line of duty the day before. One commenter on Facebook said, “The killer is getting more press time than Officer Libke. Wrong.”
I agree completely with her sentiments but I think I know why in these types of situations the offenders get more attention in the media. I believe that in our western culture, we think that if we can just figure out why someone did something bad, then we can prevent it from happening again and our world will be a safer place. I think the core issue is that we believe that we’re in control of what happens in our world. And if we can just find the cause, we are certainly smart enough to prevent it from ever happening again.
We see over and over again the media asking, “How did this happen?” “Why did this happen?” “What is the root cause of this evil?” One of the most disturbing instances of this was in the wake of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. And if the offender is young, good-looking, smart and has a wide circle of friends (all too happy to speak to the media), it seems as if the coverage never ends.
Here’s what I want to know. Why don’t we as a society pursue with the same amount of determination what makes certain people so honorable and self-sacrificing? What makes a person like Officer Libke volunteer for something as dangerous as law enforcement? What made him pass out Halloween candy just 4 days before he was shot?
What makes first responders do what they do? What drives some cops to get up early, on a day off and participate in “Shop with a Cop” without pay and usually without a good night’s sleep. What makes them get involved with Police Activity League and spend the day fishing with a bunch of kids?
What internal force propels a person to become a firefighter? To walk headfirst into fires that you’ve been taught all your life to have an escape plan for?
And the military . . . . . in the new age of terrorism it seems like we’re always fighting something. It would make sense that people wouldn’t enlist anymore and the draft would have to be reinstated. But that hasn’t happened.
I know we live in a broken world and evil will always be present. But why do we have to have such an obsession with it? Why can’t we ask about Officer Libke and all heroes, be they first responders, a helpful neighbor, your child’s teacher who goes above and beyond for their students, your parents who never gave up on you, “How did this happen?” “Why did this happen?” “What is the root cause of all this good?”
But for now I will offer my deepest condolences to Officer Libke’s family, law enforcement family and friends. Go in peace and rest on glory’s side.