The Pygmalion Effect in Everyday Life or Got to Get You out of My Life

“Thoughts are like arrows; once released they hit their mark.  Guard them well or one day you may be your own victim –Navajo


There is something known as the “Pygmalion effect” that people consistently demonstrate during social interactions to the detriment of others.  Study after study demonstrates that our beliefs and expectations about any person have enormous influence on their future behavior. Invariably, we get what we expect.  You’ve taken upon yourself the power and authority to judge what another person is capable of or not– without input from anybody else—much less bother  asking the one being judged.

It occurs in the military, business, schools, organizations, and relationships. Surprisingly little has been written about the interpersonal politics of and individual fallout from this interpersonal phenomenon.  The nature and degree of adverse effects are unknown but very consequential.

Interpersonal Effects and Consequences

Given the presence of the Pygmalion effect, related perceptual and cognitive errors, that can have a profoundly negative impact on “others” people need to be aware of and take responsibility for the power and influence that go along with our expectations of others.  I believe common sense and a sense of solidarity  nudges us to take responsibility for the consequences of our expectations.  This applies to all relationships.


Let’s pretend you decide that I am unwilling or unable to function as a competent friend or partner.  This assumption affects every interaction we have.  You see and get want you expect.  You create a self-fulfilling prophesy-literally.  It would be impossible for me to do anything that could challenge this assumption because judgment had already been rendered isn’t subject to change.

While we don’t need a particular individual to believe in our ability to function as a strong friend or partner, it doesn’t hurt if there is a whiff of suspended disbelief coming from another.    For myself, I believe I have a responsibility to retract and dispose of assumptions about people that contribute to their undoing. It’s not so hard once we get past the process of unlearning our lifelong practice of  burdening people with out assumptions.

Ultimately your belief does not alter reality.

However, during our relationship I can mistakenly  permit your beliefs  (though the Pygmalion effect suggests it might not be all choice)  to influence me.  Now, all of my confusion is leaving. I don’t need you to believe in me to believe that I could be a good friend for those who consider it a possibility.    For my part, the cause of most interpersonal turmoil is a fundamental disconnect between your view of me and my experience of me.

The continual message that I am “not able to function as a real friend or partner” requires considerably more effort to move beyond your expectations. I am able to be a real partner no matter that you think.  Your expectations make it impossible for you to see in me or in my thoughts and actions  anything that might contradict a mistaken assumption you adopted long ago.

Personal Responsibility

We each have more power than we know to influence the lives of those around us.  I want to be able to judge not and believe in everyone.  We have no right to mess with another person’s life by assaulting them with out assumptions.

This energy and presence of someone who lapses into a steady state of not believing in others is itself difficult to be around. Usually, we attempt to justify our error by citing a long list of how and who burned us, betrayed us, used us.  So, everybody in the world becomes guilty by association——as soon as the association begins anyway.

You are playing a major role in all the difficult things in your life.  And we mess with others lives when we throw our beliefs and attitudes on them.  Usually humility is the best medicine to minimize the frequency of incidents of the Pygmalion effect “committed”.  Truth is that throwing our attitudes and beliefs on others is a violation of interpersonal ethics and law.

We’ve only just started to take seriously holding people within a community accountable for violating fundamental interpersonal agreements.  Every step is a step along the way.


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Light Therapy has Bright Future as Medical Treatment

Light therapy is likely to become an integral part of our lives in the next decade. Most people know that light boxes are used to treat Seasonal Depression yet few realize the same equipment is fast becoming an effective and “natural” way to treat close to twenty medical disorders.

Scientific Explanation-How it Works

First, remember that light is potent medicine. In simple terms, after light hits our eyes, it travels through the brain to a specific area causing biological changes that impact how we think, feel, and function. In technical terms, after bright light hits our eyes it travels along the retinohypothalamic tracts to the suprachasmatic nucleus located in the hypothalamus. From there, it moves to the pineal gland. This complex process triggers hormonal and neurochemical changes that alter core body temperature, melatonin secretion, and serotonin and related neurotransmitter levels

.These biological changes ultimately result in fairly rapid changes in our body clock and circadian rhythm. This body clock coordinates “circadian” rhythms we experience through the day, including the cycle of waking and sleeping, changes in blood pressure and heart rate, and most other bodily systems.These biological changes ultimately result in fairly rapid changes in our circadian rhythm that affects how we think, feel, and function. This complex process triggers hormonal and neurochemical changes that alter core body temperature, melatonin secretion, and serotonin and related neurotransmitter levels.

Light Therapy and Mainstream Medicine

The Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Psychiatry and other respected medical journals increasingly publish research that demonstrates light therapy is a standard and effective medical treatment for a broad range of medical conditions.

Light therapy is effective in treating nearly 20 medical conditions. The effectiveness and importance of light therapy is supported by 25 years of research conducted at prestigious medical institutions, NASA, and the U.S. military.

Light therapy works faster, is as effective, and has fewer side effects than antidepressants.  Light therapy is a practical, natural, safe, affordable, and dependable way to regain and maintain your health. Medical research has shown that light therapy offers relief to people affected by a growing number of health concerns including:

* Depression, ‘minor’ depression, anxiety
* Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Winter Blues
* Sleep Disorders-teenage, adult, elderly sleep problems
*Pregnancy related depression
* Trouble waking up, afternoon tiredness, low energy, poor concentration
* Jet Lag, Shift Work related difficulties
* Immune System Disorders
* Alzheimer’s/Dementia related problems
* PMS, Menopause
* Bulimia, Weight Gain, Over-eating, Carbohydrate cravings

Light therapy offers a solid alternative to medication for many groups of people including:

* Children and teens since evidence of connection between antidepressants and increased risk of suicide
* Women who want to avoid medications during pregnancy or while nursing
* People who prefer a “natural” alternative
* People who don’t get enough sunlight
* People who can’t tolerate the side effects of medication
* People who suffer from jet lag or shift work related problems
* Teenagers and adults with sleep problems

Light Therapy as Antidote to 21st Century Living

Human beings require sunlight and oxygen to maintain health. People in the 21st century don’t get enough sunlight and our air is increasingly polluted. Light therapy equipment provides ‘sunlight’. It is difficult for many people to view sunlight much less light therapy equipment as a type of medicine.  And light therapy isn’t a placebo when people don’t think it is good for anything.  We need light just like we need oxygen. . Light therapy equipment are likely to be found in most homes over time.

Historical Context

Light therapy is no fad. The development of light therapy equipment has important historical significance. Light, both natural and artificial, has been prescribed throughout the ages for healing purposes. Light played an integral role in the healing systems of the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Greeks.

Light therapy offers people a way to minimize the negative health effects associated with living in our modern ‘indoor’ society. Human beings synchronized their biological rhythms to the rhythms in nature for 40,000 years prior to the invention of the light bulb. Before this invention most aspects of our lives, including our own biological rhythms, were connected to the rhythms of nature.

The Dark Side of the Light Bulb Invention

The invention of the light bulb made it possible for people to disconnect our biological rhythms from the rhythms of nature resulting in the ‘diseases of civilization’. Most people don’t get enough sunlight-causing innumerable health problems. Fortunately, medical researchers have invented equipment that mimics sunlight. We now have a “medicine” to minimize the negative health consequences of detaching our biological rhythms from nature’s rhythms.

Future Developments

Future research will document the benefits of light therapy for even more health conditions. Light therapy equipment is becoming a health “product” as common as dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and water purifiers.

It always takes people a while to accept new developments.  However, given the nature and growing health benefits associated with light therapy people will do their own research on light therapy so related health benefits can be passed along to family, friends, and loved ones.


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Testosterone Deficiency-The Unknown Public Health Threat

It is difficult to believe that Testosterone Deficiency is a major public health problem for me.  Rather than introduce the topic in a traditional way I figure the best way to capture the attention of some people is to lead with a funny but true medical fact that is sure to be a hit around water coolers and places men work out and hang out.  After that I will  just to hit readers with some not so fun facts:

Comic Relief though True Story

Actually, the best way to determine the overall health of a man is to check the nature and quality of his erection. No joke. If your erection is about as solid and strong as in earlier years you are in good shape. If you are having a more difficult time getting and sustaining an erection or it’s not as solid and strong and all the rest…………’ve got to get back to eating and sleeping better, getting exercise, cut out bad habits, etc. so you can get back up to your fighting form.

Doctors have discovered that cardiovascular disease can be predicted by the presence of erectile dysfunction. It is well known that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood. The heart pumps blood to all the vital organs and when it comes to sexual intimacy for men, the penis is the most vital organ.

So, hard to believe but your penis can predict near as good as most any medical tests what’s up with cardiovascular disease, diabetes; cholesterol and hypertension, etc.

American men have an approximately 50% chance of dying of cardiovascular disease; half of those men will die suddenly without any prior warning. Until recently, we didn’t know the signs or symptoms that were predictive of silent heart disease. But today, we know that men who cannot maintain an erection sufficient for penetration may have significant underlying cardiovascular disease.

Research studies consistently indicate that the inability to maintain an erection is the earliest symptom of silent heart disease. Therefore, the loss of erections is a harbinger of subsequent cardiovascular disease and demands a comprehensive cardiovascular workup. And probably treatment for low T.

Not So Fun Facts

* 50 % of men with men with diabetes have low T

* A very high percentage of depressed men have low T

* depressed men treated for low T reported major improvement as compared to those treated with antidepressants or placebos

* the general public knows nothing about any of the above but has negative attitudes towards T which they mistakenly associate with steroids

* a majority of doctors know virtually nothing about the problems associated with low T

* the pharmaceutical companies that make the medicines to treat low T don’t have enough money to launch public health campaigns to tout their medicines…..even though doing so would make them billions and billions of dollars

* The National Institute of Health just denied a request for funding to conduct definitive prospective research studies to establish to confirm or dis confirm the findings of the rapidly accumulating but less robust scientific research done so far

* To my knowledge there isn’t a single organization or institution with the money or clout to launch a public campaign to heighten awareness to this major epidemic

A few more unsettling facts:

More than one third of all men over 40 have medically significant lowed levels of Testosterone, measurable via a simple blood test, that substantially increases their risk of premature death and an extraordinary number of serious and debilitating medical conditions—aka feeling lousy most of the time till they die, probably leading their family and friends to suffer along with them.

Men may not live as long if they have low testosterone, regardless of their age, according to a new study to be presented at The Endocrine Society’s 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.The new study, from Germany, adds to the scientific evidence linking deficiency of this sex hormone with increased death from all causes over time—so-called “all-cause mortality.”

A related study showed that veterans with clinically significant low T levels had 75 % higher mortality rates over a 5 year period as compared to vets with T levels in a normal range. There are a fair number of studies quite similar to the two just mentioned.

Curiously, the levels of T in all men in industrialized countries have shown rather dramatic drops over the past 25 years. Right now public health experts can only offer a menu of possible explanations. However, suffice to say they are more than a little bit alarmed by this fact.

So what are some of the symptoms of and medical conditions with medically significant reduced T levels in men:

Lack of vitality and energy
Muscle and joint pain
Migraine headaches
Sleep disturbances
Poor memory
Alcohol intolerance
Inability to cope with stress
Low sex drive
Low body temperature
Weight gain
Loss of muscle
heart attacks,
increased cholesterol and other lipids
loss of zest for life,
mental dullness,
decreased muscle mass,
voice changes
relationship problems
metabolic syndrome

So what can you do about it? It’s very simple
A) If you are a man:

1) Visit Men’s Boston Health to take a simple inventory to determine if you have enough symptoms to warrant a visit to your physician;
2) Print out some information from their site;
.3) Schedule an appointment with your family doctor, show him the information, and request blood work:
A) Total T
B) Free T
C) PSA (routine check to make sure you don’t have prostate cancer)

B) If you are a woman:

1) Follow steps above

2) Ask, cajole, bribe, promise whatever it takes so the man in your life sees the physician–go with him if he’ll let you

3) Make sure he gets blood work done and schedules follow-up appointment with doctor

4) Make sure he follows through with the treatment and punish him any way you like if he doesn’t comply………………….

What does the treatment involve?

Could be a few options. Probably you just rub some gel or cream on your stomach or upper arm each morning….takes less than a minute. Alternatively you could get testosterone shots about every 4-6 weeks. You will  have more fun than you’ve had in a while.

What about risks and side effects?

Hardly worth covering. I’ve had none. Maybe a little rash or acne………….lots more sexual energy and all the rest

Closing Thoughts:

It seems pretty obvious that this kind of information is worth passing on to other people. Maybe some of the humorous aspects will get people’s attention long enough to slip in the idea to check out the possibility low T might be worth looking into. It matters.

Listen, I limped along feeling very lousy for a good two years before I got blood-work done to confirm my hunch. I actually shed a few tears a few weeks after starting the medicine that got me to feeling better than I ever remembered feeling.

Truth be told, I feel luckier than Lazarus. I know there are millions of men in the USA alone going through needless suffering–not to mention the stress experienced by their families and friends and dogs. We aren’t talking about saving the world or bringing world peace. It’s just about getting word out to a few people. It’s the small things that matter in the end. WTF…………

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    Improbable Moments:Hickory Runs The Picket Fence-

    One of my favorite movies stars Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, and Barbara Hershey and tells the true story about on a very small town in Indiana and the high school basketball team that accomplished the improbable back in 1952. I watched the movie with my son and later told him a story about his grandfather who died while my son was an infant.  He immediately understood the connection and reason I shared this story.  It’s not often that our own life experiences so closely match some of our favorite movies or books.

    My father played basketball and ran track at the University of Delaware–within the past month my uncle told me that a record my father set running the 440 had stood for some 40 years. During 6th grade I played on the worst basketball team in the league with no wins 3/4 of the way through the season.

    Our coach didn’t have much experience and too much else to focus on besides coaching a basketball team. Our next game was against the best team in the league. We’d played them before and lost by 20 plus points. Anyway, the night of the game the coach didn’t show.

    My father was present and offered to pinch hit. My anxiety went up because his drinking was taking a toll. His was sober that night. We were getting the usual taunting from the undefeated team. My father informed us we were going to win this game. He laid out a strategy and orchestrated things. We were all very skeptical but intrigued by the notion we could beat this undefeated group of arrogant kids from a better part of town.

    People were perplexed that we traded the lead with the other team throughout the game. We were ahead by two points with less than a minute. They started a full court press and fouled me rightly assuming I’d miss the shots. I made both. We stole an inbound pass. My father called time-out. We huddled together not quite believing our circumstances.

    As a matter of fact way, he gave instructions for a picket fence more or less like Dennis Hopper does in this clip. Dave Pedrick took the shoot….and we won by four points.

    That game became something of a legend. My father was too busy working to do more coaching.

    He was pretty quiet about the whole thing though we all knew he intended to teach us a lesson……….among others……that it feels good to thump arrogance and that we could surprise ourselves with a bit of strategy and decent leadership.

    Ultimately, alcoholism thumped my father. However, on that one cold January night he taught me quite a few things. I’m proud of my father. I wish he’d been around to see his grandson. We both miss him.

    PS   Three points to the first person to name the movie we watched….

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    Suicide by Cop

    “Suicide by Cop” is one of the most frustrating and disturbing experiences a police officer can face. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is on the rise. Experts continue to search for the most appropriate term to describe this type of incident. The contenders include “police assisted suicide,” “suicide by cop,” “victim precipitated homicide,” and “victim precipitated suicide,” or in my taxonomy “perpetrator victimizes police officer(s)-suicide type”.

    By any name, this type of incident is traumatic. It is more traumatic when multiple departments are involved and political issues (CYA) become more important than responding to the victimized police officers. The bottom line is that the victim(s) in these incidents is the officer(s). The person responsible for the death is the perpetrator, not the police officer(s). Unfortunately, the media find it virtually impossible to identify police officers as victims.
    It is important to know that 85% of police officers experience short term–but serious–emotional fallout from these incidents. One-third of all officers will experience moderate symptoms over several months, while approximately 5% of police officers will experience protracted serious symptoms.

    Curiously, it is a national pass-time to second guess all actions taken by police officers leading to some pretty crazy stuff.  For example, not long ago, there was a “by the book” use of lethal force in a “suicide by cop”.  The local newspaper called a psychologist on the west coast to see what the officers “should have done differently”. According to the psychologist 3,000 miles away: “They should have talked to him in a soothing tone and made him feel safe.” Well gee…
    Then psychologists wonder why police officers are wary of mental health types.

    It is essential that an officer receives immediate and ongoing peer support. A critical incident debriefing should be standard operating procedure—which does not mean a mental health professional is best suited to conduct a debriefing.

    Police officers need immediate and ongoing support and people to listen. The most common emotion is anger toward the dead perpetrator. It is invaluable for police officers to read about and discuss the experiences of other officers involved in similar situations.


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    Effective shift work management is one of the keys to success in a law enforcement career. You can manage shift work through proper nutrition, exercise, use of effective sleep principles–such as creating a bedroom that promotes sleep–and becoming an expert stress manager.

    Shift work is a fact of life in law enforcement agencies. Though organizational changes can be made to reduce the number and severity of adverse effects of 24-hour operations, police officers will always be doing shift work. So, we need to deal with reality in an intelligent way. We know the list is long and varied relating shift work to its associated problems.

    Our lives are affected by many cycles including the passing of a year, 4 seasons, lunar months, 90 minute biological cycles known as ultradian rhythms, and the best known cycle–the 24-hour long circadian rhythm.

    People are diurnal creatures by nature, rather than nocturnal creatures: We were made to be active during the day and sleep at night. Normally, our circadian rhythms are synchronized to one another by our internal biological clock and entrained–reset daily–by external time cues like changes in sunlight and  social activity surrounding us. When we rotate shifts, we do our best to adjust to suit the shift we are working. However, it takes our circadian rhythms more than a week to adjust to a new sleeping schedule.

    The greatest disruption is caused by rotating to night shift.  Since many police officers never have time to adjust to one shift, they exist in a state of perpetual internal desynchronization–or continuous fog. There is no way to beat natural biological cycles–best not to fool with mother nature. Each person needs a certain amount of sleep time per day–call it a set time. Our brains accumulate sleep debt or keep track of lost sleep. Our ability to function is disrupted to the degree we have disrespected this cycle.

    The negative health effects related to shift work are numerous and firmly established despite individual variability. However, about 20% of people who begin shift work jobs quit soon after, so the negative effects of shift work are difficult to measure. The negative health effects typically identified include chronically disrupted sleep, body temperature, gastrointestinal functioning, cardiovascular, respiratory, etc. and all body functions controlled by the circadian rhythm leading to illness, absenteeism, and accidents. There are disturbances in cognitive processes, memory, psychological and social functioning, marital relationships, sexual activity, and parenting responsibilities. It is exceptionally difficult to maintain ordinary family routines and rituals, which most likely contribute to higher rates of divorce in law enforcement marriages.

    There is no aspect of a shift worker’s life that is not affected. Police administrators will be most aware of on-the-job sleepiness, sick leave, accidents, and citizen complaints lodged against police officers suffering from chronic sleep deprivation.  As one would expect, younger officers seem to adapt faster to the stress of shift work as compared to older officers.

    There is a considerable amount of research concluding that bright light exposure can successfully overcome circadian desynchronization caused by rotation to night shift. While evidence for the efficacy of exercise, melatonin tablets, and nutritional modifications is equivocal, the evidence for bright light exposure is robust. Similarly, the use of properly timed exposure to bright light treatment to treat rotations to other shifts is strong and becoming more refined and specific. The good news is that bright light boxes and dawn simulators work remarkably well.  The only bad news is that the word about this solution hasn’t gotten out until now.

    Bright Light Equipment

    The single most effective strategy to minimize the negative effects of shift work is virtually unknown and used by fewer than 1% of law enforcement officers. The use of bright light equipment is a primary way to reduce shift-work- linked health and social problems. This information about bright light equipment may be  the most important information about effective shift work management.

    A growing number of luminaries in the field of photo-therapy and shift work are not far from giving a definitive consensus statement on the benefits of light boxes, dawn simulators, and other light products to assist police officers manage the rigors of shift work. Some equipment is half the size of patrol car computers and can be used during the 3 am spike in sleepiness. Light products obtained from reputable organizations and used in the proper manner at specified times will minimize the negative effects of shift work.

    It is time that police officers are given scientific assurance and practical advice on how to use bright light equipment to enhance the quality of their lives. Hopefully, this equipment will become standard issue for all new recruits within 5 years.

    Readers can obtain detailed information about all aspects of shift work from these links to useful sites:


    Clinical Chronobiology (cut and paste and place in Columbia University search engine to access information)

    CROET: Shiftwork Health and Safety Information

    Sleepy Drivers Just as Dangerous as Intoxicated Drivers

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    Public Servants: A Dangerous Double Standard

    It is time to initiate public discourse about curious and disturbing manifestations of social dis-ease increasingly experienced by Americans. There is a diminished display of civility and declining experience of community throughout America. The current political campaigns make painfully clear the intensity of social discord and divisions within our nation. This insidious phenomenon robs us of a sense of solidarity-essential to the health and well-being of each citizen and every organization.

    Crime, one symptom of lost social temperance, seems to be increasing in frequency, severity, randomness, senselessness, magnitude, and sheer horror. We try with limited success to avoid a sense of helplessness and gnawing awareness that we could be directly affected by terrifying event. The manner in which police officers are viewed and treated offers considerable insight into a way to begin to restore lost social temperance.


    Public health officials have identified a startling increase in the incidence of anxiety and depression in children, adolescents and adults. Terror alerts, news of possible acts of terror, and steady diet of almost exclusively bad news increases our national hypervigilance. Security experts and law enforcement authorities warn we are about to experience a surge in violent crime including domestic and international terrorism. The unthinkable has already occurred, yet authoritative sources warn the traumas that have rocked our nation are small waves when compared to the ‘spectacular’ tsunami’s that will challenge our resolve in the months and years to come.

    These unsettling facts are complicated and exacerbated by a related symptom of our national dis-ease: the manner in which we treat public servants called upon to serve and protect our loved ones children domestic predators international terrorists. Historically, our country has demonstrated a lack of uniformity in the way we treat public servants sworn to protect us from predators. Law enforcement personnel are accorded far less support and respect than those who serve in various military branches. Americans simply don’t to demonstrate the same kind or level of support for police officers on patrol within our borders as compared to those public servants on patrol outside our borders.


    We are rightly exhorted to show tremendous heartfelt respect for military servicemen and women. During times of war, we have learned the value of rallying behind members of the military independent of our views about military objectives and actions. We receive somber reports about casualties, citizens write letters and send care packages to unknown soldiers, and show support in innumerable ways for those serving in the military. Americans simply won’t dare risk advertising arrogance by questioning the lawful actions of rank and file military personnel. Americans demonstrate evidence of painful lessons learned from the Vietnam era.


    Yet we fail to recognize any national disgrace in the way we treat police officers who patrol our communities each day. We conduct necessary activities to ‘police the police’ with a frightening lack of prudence and common sense. Law enforcement authorities and patrol officers are subject to unbridled and arrogant public scrutiny. “Monday morning criticism” of police activities is considered a constitutional right without commensurate social responsibility to demonstrate consistent and strong ‘Sunday afternoon support’.

    Americans seem to consider this strangely routine ritualistic dissection of police activity to be a new sport or national pastime.. The manner in which we daily betray police officers is as disgraceful as our collective betrayal of the public servants who served in Vietnam, but perhaps even more foolish and myopic.

    It is as if we are witnessing the social equivalent of an auto-immune disease. We are turning against and weakening the very institutions and individuals we depend upon for national security and protection in our communities.

    The level of this social auto-immune dis-ease appears to be increasing at the same rate as the threats to our safety and security. Just as we require a healthy immune system to fight off everything from the common cold to cancer, so too we must have strong and healthy law enforcement agencies and police officers. The worst types of stress, causing the greatest problems for the immune system include uncertainty, unpredictability, inability to influence a desired outcome, frequent exposure to individuals in distress, suffering caused by human beings and adrenaline bursts. These stressors are written into the job requirements and part of the daily duties of a police officer. Social support, typically identified as a major way to neutralize the negative effects of stress, is too often replaced by public hostility and criticism beamed into every living room in the country.

    Rather than rally to support police officers when we most need them, we hurl criticism and batter them with insults. Such behavior weakens an aspect of our social immune system we depend on for survival.


    Unarguably, It is critical to weed out all forms of corruption, discrimination, wrongdoing, and abuse of power within each law enforcement unit. Power does have a tendency to corrupt, and police officers have power. If a police officer commits a crime, he should get what is coming to him. If a police officer uses excessive force, has a demonstrable pattern of discrimination toward a particular racial or ethnic group, drives under the influence of alcohol, is abusive to a spouse or a child, he should face the same penalties as any other member of our society. No one can argue we need to address such issues in a more aggressive and effective manner. No one is above the law. It is essential that there is a system of checks and balances in place, a mechanism that allows for early identification of bad police officers. Every profession has bad apples, and law enforcement is no different.

    Disrespect Police Officers at out Peril

    However, we must ensure that our efforts to weed out the bad cops are balanced by a similar level of readiness and zeal to support the vast majority of good officers, and redress forms of discrimination against these public servants. Our national security requires Americans to initiate a public campaign to cultivate respect for domestic public servants commensurate with the nature and type of support shown to members of our military.

    We can no longer afford to deny the existence or the ramifications of this dangerous double standard. We must ensure that domestic public servants along with our military personnel experience full public support and access to all necessary training and equipment to perform their duties in a competent and safe manner. We simply can’t crucify a police officer whose actions might be explained by chronic sleep deprivation, inadequate weaponless self defense training, ailing emergency communications systems, or the innumerable problems facing police officers. Our national integrity and safety within our communities requires us to demonstrate civility, courtesy, and ordinary human kindness to this group of public servants.

    Acknowledge Competent Performance of Thankless Work

    Law enforcement personnel and emergency room doctors and nurses have many things in common. Whether we realize it or not, good police work requires a level of skill and knowledge equivalent to emergency room personnel, just different types of skills, information, and technology. These are extraordinarily stressful occupations that exact a serious toll on the lives of such individuals and their families. Both lines of work require tremendous skill, courage, discipline, that guide them in making split second life and death decisions. These individuals are too often treated with disrespect and abuse as they intervene in situations they did not create but must manage. We want our ER physicians and nurses to be properly trained, with access to every resource they need so they can care for our loved ones.

    Truth be Told 

    Public servants engaged in law enforcement have not been recognized and supported in any way commensurate to the nature and degree they deserve. There are many factors that contribute to the generally poor manner in which our country treats members of the law enforcement community. People are unaware of the rigors of police work, know little of the way in which it cuts years off one’s life, places marriages in jeopardy and influences how one perceives the world.


    Vice-President Joseph Biden has repeatedly said law enforcement is the highest form of public service ( along with motherhood, in my view). The badge worn by police officers is referred to as ‘the heavy badge‘. Perhaps it is best left unsaid, but the thin bit of steel that keeps the badge in place also pierces the heart of the human being who wears it. Some things cannot be forgotten, some experiences grab hold of a man and won’t let go. It is impossible to forget the looks in the eyes of police officers who recognize their lives are considered expendable.


    Anything is acceptable in the absence of human solidarity. Americans have yet to demonstrate the same type of respect and support for police officers that we show members of our military. Until we do, these public servants are simply dispensable cogs in a wheel that can be replaced. Americans have a responsibility to begin to ‘walk a mile’ with police officers on patrol. Perhaps, anyone who believes they have a right to pass judgment on a police officer should earn that right.

    Public authorities, elected officials, community leaders, reporters, columnists, and ordinary citizens could cultivate humility and initiate the process of establishing Solidarity with police officers by participation in ridealongs spending time with police families, formal programs to develop a deeper appreciation for these public servants. Anyone with even a hint of awareness of the realities faced by these police officers would not rush to judge an accused officer.

    A Telling Tale

    Several years ago, the local newspaper published an essay that urged local authorities to participate in police ridealongs as a way to expedite the process of fixing an ailing emergency communication system that created aptly named ‘dead zones’ making it impossible for police officers to police officers to call for back up. While the newspapers never truly communicated the severity of the problem during this period, the eyes of every police officer communicated a few chilling realities-they learned their lives were expendable, their work thankless, and inexplicably no lives were lost. Curiously, not a single local authority ever participated in the recommended ridealongs with police officers.

    Reconciliation and Justice

    Our nation is divided. Anything is possible in the absence of Solidarity. Somehow we know we have betrayed our police officers as we betrayed veterans of the Vietnam era. Self-interest alone should summon our collective will to demonstrate public support for these public servants sworn to serve and protect us during the most dangerous time in our nation’s history. There is every reason for our country to to launch a campaign to restore social temperance, civility, and create a genuine sense of Solidairity with our police officers.

    A First Step 

    Let the word go forth: A sense of Solidarity within a family, a state, a country makes anything possible. If we delay any longer to equip these public servants with our support  we do so at our peril and advertise our profound ignorance. In my opinion, a clear and resolute demonstration of public support for police officers is just what the doctor ordered to enhance our public health.

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