San Antonio police officer Benjamin Marconi was writing a traffic ticket outside police headquarters earlier today when a motorist pulled up behind him, got out of his car, approached Marconi and shot him twice in the head. The murderer got back into his car and drove away.
The perpetrator has not yet been caught, so we don’t know whether he was inspired by the Black Lives Matter anti-police movement. What we do know is that there is an epidemic of deliberate, unprovoked murders of police officers. Such incidents have occurred in New York, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Des Moines and now San Antonio.
A law enforcement officer here in Minnesota sent me a link to an article in Police magazine titled “Why So Many Police Are Being Murdered.” The author, Dr. Ron Martinelli, describes the recent killings of police officers in Lancaster and Palm Springs, California. He recounts the perpetrators’ lengthy criminal records; as usual, the first question is why these men were not in prison.
The accused murderers of Sgt. Steve Owen and Officers Vega and Zerebny had similar criminal profiles as those of other suspects who have recently murdered law enforcement officers in the growing national virus known as the “War on Police.”
Los Angeles Superior Court records document that the suspected killer of Sgt. Owen, Trenton Trevon Lovell, was an active parolee with an extensive criminal history that extends back to when he was first arrested as a juvenile for sale of marijuana. He then accumulated 11 more arrests including two which resulted in a state prison sentence.
John Felix, who police say killed Officers Vega and Zerebny, was also no stranger to a life of violent crime. He was a known gang member who was arrested in a conspiracy to murder plot in 2009. In that year, Felix and another gang member, identified as Antonio Madrigal, shot a man in an attempted gangland assassination; but the victim survived. Following a police investigation, Felix was arrested and charged with attempted murder, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and a felony street gang crime enhancement. Unfortunately, prosecutors allowed him to plead down his charges to simple assault with a firearm and the gang enhancement charge. Felix was then given a four-year prison sentence.
Martinelli identifies broader societal trends that underlie the War On Cops:
There are sociopathic, out of control, predatory, and evil people in this world who we as a society refuse to control through the considered and reasonable application of the rule of law, and our failure to recognize this fact enables and empowers them to kill us. That’s it, but the reasons for the environment they now thrive in is important to understand.
The American educational system no longer teaches civics in school. Students no longer learn about our justice system and its components. They know nothing about what their civil rights are and, more importantly, are not. They have no knowledge of the important role of police in our society and therefore have not been taught proper behavior and respect for police authority during police encounters. This allows subversive groups such as Black Lives Matter to spew the false narratives of hate and to perpetuate the lie that police are the “bad guys” and armed recidivist offenders are somehow the “good guys.” This circumstance breeds resistance and exacerbates violent, armed and deadly encounters with police.
Americans deserve to be led by competent, well-informed elected politicians. For the past few years, we have seen little to no leadership from the president, the U.S. attorney general’s office, and from state and municipal leaders.
When the president fails to demonstrate knowledge of the law and basic police practices and prematurely and incorrectly criticizes police for “acting stupidly” and/or tells the American minority community that law enforcement officers are racially biased, he opens the floodgates of non-compliance with and even violent resistance to police authority.
I firmly believe—as do others—that the lack of federal, state, and municipal leadership in actively supporting our law enforcement officers has directly led to a significant increase in citizen resistance to police authority, officer injuries, and an almost unprecedented increase in officers being intentionally murdered in the line of duty.
I think that is correct. While a new administration in Washington won’t solve the problem overnight, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions will not contribute to the undermining of law enforcement, as Barack Obama and Eric Holder have done. This may prove to be one of the greatest virtues of the Trump administration.