In order to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, there must be security. Security is the most important thing the government provides. In our local communities, we depend on our local police to provide that security.
I’ve always known this in theory, but I didn’t fully understand the importance of local security until I lived through the murder of my son-in-law and the trial of his killer. It was then that I began to fully understand the evil that police face every day. They are the thin line that protects us from anarchy and chaos.
My son-in-law was the pastor in a church in Arlington. He opened the church door to anyone seeking help. On March 3, 2011, the person who entered his church overwhelmed him and killed him in a gruesome fashion.
Steven Nelson took Clint’s car, wallet, and cell phone. An hour after he killed him, Mr. Nelson called his friends to fill up their tank at a neighborhood gas station with Clint’s gasoline card. He called other friends to meet in the mall and buy some sports apparel. He had a party that night as friends celebrated him being famous because he “killed the preacher”.
The surprise for me in this tragedy was not the depravity of the single individual killer. I was always aware of the presence of violent people. The surprise for me was the depravity of the culture of evil that surrounded Steven Nelson. The surprise for me was the extent of evil.
There are people in our communities like Steven Nelson and his friends who have no conscience or sense of right and wrong. They are dangerous people who, if left unchecked, will destroy communities.
There is no doubt that there is a need for significant public safety reform. This must include strong measures to protect people from corruption and unneeded violence in police interactions. There will never be any justification for what happened in Minneapolis to George Floyd.
But because there are violent and dangerous people like Steven Nelson and his friends, there will always be a need for a strong police force. There is always a need for improvement in public safety, but the idea of defunding or otherwise hamstringing the legitimate work of police will not make anyone safer. It will just be an invitation to lawlessness and chaos.
I know I am protected by the barrier the police form between my family and evil. I know our police stand between us and a culture of evil that really exists. And I know they put their lives on the line every day. For that, I want to express my gratitude and my prayers to those who do that for me. And it is my hope others will do the same.
Dr. Phillip Rozeman is a practicing cardiologist.