Dear men and women of the Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties law enforcement agencies,
I appreciate you. I value your bravery and courage to defend the citizens of this town from crime, both violent and nonviolent. I have just completed my first year of college, and it seems that many people my age are very angry with the police across America, blaming them for racial injustice and violence. I, however, don’t think that just because a police officer in Minneapolis killed a man means that the local police here in Santa Barbara, thousands of miles away, are in any way associated with or to blame for that unfair death. Assuming that would be akin to racism–just because one member of a large group does something wrong doesn’t mean that all the rest are bad or to blame.
When I see the number of police who have been hurt, shot at, spit on, and yelled at over the past few weeks, I am greatly saddened. The vast majority of these officers are only trying to do their job: protect the Human Rights of innocent citizens as guaranteed by our Constitution. When that document was written, there wasn’t a single country in which the inalienable rights of an average person were protected. Tyranny and direct royal rule were the status quo, societies lacked due process or equality before the law. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution over 200 years ago, they stated that this new country would protect, rather than violate, these laws. A police force was created to ensure these rights, and, for the most part, they have been doing their jobs well ever since.
That is why when I walk down State Street and see police, I am comforted, not afraid. I know that should I be assaulted, or robbed, or threatened, the police are there to help me and find the perpetrator. Without these officers, the tenuous line between civilization–where business profits and people aren’t afraid to sleep at night–and anarchy would be broken, as it has been in recent weeks. Indeed, I recognize how lucky I am to have you, the police, here to protect me and my family because of how many countries still to this day are not safe for the average person to live or prosper. In some of those countries, the police work with corrupt politicians to violently suppress civil rights, in others to oppress or ignore the rights of women. While America isn’t, and never has been perfect, it has never descended into such violent chaos as exists in so many places today. That, in large part, is due to our police finding criminals and arresting them, freeing our society of fear.
So, I would like to speak out and say that as bleak as it looks now, with so many young people ignoring this important history and facts, I am one young person who supports and highly appreciates my Central Coast Police Officers.
Thank you for all that you do,
Israel Sullivan , Age 20
Mr. Sullivan is a Civil Engineering student living in Santa Barbara