Erasing History…Who Decides

We’ve all seen the images of statues and monuments being defaced and torn down across the country. It plays out on the daily news and the images are powerful. We’ve witnessed them crashing down with some set on fire as people cheered celebrating their accomplishment. These images invoke strong emotions. As difficult as it is to watch, I understand why some people find some of these memorials offensive. To some, they bring back images and stories of the time of slavery and all its evils. To others, it’s simply part of our history and nothing more. After the civil war, there was an attempt to heal the wounds and unify the country. It was important that the South not feel vanquished. As part of those efforts, the South was allowed to honor those that fought and died for the Confederacy. The North did the same.

Fast forward and we look at these monuments through today’s lens and we find fault. History is the story of man as we evolved and is full of imperfections. We must be careful in examining actions that occurred in some cases hundreds of years ago in today’s light. It’s a slippery slope lest we have no history because perfection will always allude us. British anti-racism protestors have recently called for the destruction of Egypt’s Giza Pyramids even as more evidence comes to light that they were not built with slave labor. I imagine the Coliseum in Rome and the Great Wall of China will be next. So, does that mean we should accept all things as they are? No. Recently, the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was asked if he would want a high school named after Hitler. His answer was a resounding no. So yes, I get it but if these statues are offensive there is a process to remove them. Its called petition and redress. And, I would venture to say that if this process was used those that want to remove these offensive statues would find receptive elected officials willing to listen.

The mob mentality that we see in action is not the way to go.

As predicted, the destruction has gone past Confederate generals and racism and now includes World War II memorials, religious artifacts, gravestones, and even an abolitionist and an emancipator. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the destruction and nothing is sacred. It appears to be a wholesale attempt to destroy all images of the country and its history. Without doubt there is something going on outside of the issue of racism. The bar has been set by the mob at perfection as an excuse. If someone finds fault, great or small, that seems to be enough to satisfy the mob.

Plain and simple this is vandalism and the destruction of public property.

Those responsible must be arrested and prosecuted. I would like to see more leaders have the guts to condemn this lawlessness and encourage the use of the system in place to address the issue of who the country memorializes. The mob has completely taken our elected leaders and the citizens they represent out of the process.

Symbols of our past are being destroyed but right now the mob gets to decide what stays and what goes…. we have no say.

Stephen Phillip Monteiro is a law enforcement, security and intelligence consultant. He’s held senior leadership positions with consulting firms in Washington, DC and is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Visit his website: https://www.thegoodamerica.com to leave your comments. You can follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevemonteiro10

Reforming yes, disbanding or defunding the police, no, no, no, no!

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, a vocal proponent of disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department was asked by CNN’s Alisyn Camerota what would happen if a person needed help because someone had broken into their home. Ms. Bender’s non-answer answer was that calling the police and expecting their help comes from a place of privilege. What?  I can assure you as a former police officer that people don’t call the police out of any sense of privilege.

They call the police because they need them.

This latest overreaction to the terrible tragedy of George Floyd is now typical for many of our politicians. Pandering, overreaction, harmful rhetoric, and who can come up with the most radical idea first, has now taken the place of common sense and thinking through a problem. There is no question that what happened to Mr. Floyd was plain and simple murder and those responsible should be held accountable. That is how justice is supposed to work in this country. But this latest call to disband or defund the police which seems to be gaining more traction would overwhelmingly hurt the ones that they claim to want to protect the most. Minority and inner-city communities call the police and use police services more than any other segment of society as a percentage. Why?

Because that’s where the crime is and that’s where they are needed most.

Disbanding and defunding the police would lead to utter chaos and breakdown of the very foundation of any country…law and order. Without law and order, we have anarchy. 

On any given day, a police officer could be called upon to respond to stabbings, shootings, domestic arguments, burglaries, robberies, kidnappings, thefts, arsons, child abuse, suicides, homelessness, drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, lost children, neighborhood disputes and every other possible act of depravity, public disorder, and senselessness that one can imagine.

I ask you Lisa Bender what is your plan to replace this first responder? Who will come in the middle of the night to handle your problem?

Think about this, out of all the agencies in our government the police are the ones that show up to deal with all of society’s problems and they are the ones that catch all of society’s wraths. Lack of a good education, poverty, crime, a breakdown of the family and failed local policies and politicians are usually at the top of the lists of the reasons why some of our communities suffer. But these are not the fault of the police. They just have to deal with the results. Fine, we will take the heat but at least tell the truth. Out of the 275 million contacts last year between the police and the public, well over 99% were favorable. I would like to see any other profession match these numbers. Yes, we need better police training and oversight and above all, we need to get rid of bad cops. What happened to George Floyd should never happen to any other citizen. But this harmful rhetoric from elected officials is irresponsible and dangerous. It was stated recently in a press conference by the NY Police Benevolent Association that mothers were quoted as saying they prayed their children would make it home safely from school every day and not be killed by the police! Where is this coming from? The police are not going around killing school children! Sadly, many are buying into this false and dangerous narrative. I didn’t think I would live to see this day. Like my brothers and sisters in blue, I have on many occasions put my life and safety in danger to keep safe the life of a perfect stranger. That is what I took a sworn oath to do but that part of the story seems to always be left out. How many lives have been saved as a result of police actions? The police are taking guns and violent criminals off the streets, disrupting dangerous gangs as well as the flow of dangerous drugs that are killing our children and, in the course, losing their own lives.  I would like to see those statistics. Let’s punish those responsible for George Floyd. But let us not punish everyone else. I call upon every sensible state, local and federal leader, democrat or republican, left or right, to stop this harmful conversation in its tracks. It only takes up valuable resources and time away from the real changes that need to be made. Yes, we have work to do so let’s start.

Stephen Phillip Monteiro is a law enforcement, security and intelligence consultant. He’s held senior leadership positions with consulting firms in Washington, DC and is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Visit his website: https://www.thegoodamerica.com to leave your comments. You can follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevemonteiro10