“Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.’” -(Jeremiah 14:14)
In the book of Jeremiah, God is so concerned about the power that emanates from false prophets that he comes forward and personally warns against them, by my count, at least eight times. It reveals something of the extreme danger that can be involved if lies go unchallenged…particularly if God himself felt compelled to intervene and help straighten us out.
Lies can have a devastating affect on people’s personal lives, on businesses, on government and even on whole nations. They are particularly harmful when they come to us from what appear to be credible sources…or sources that are supposed to be credible… and on those whom we have relied on in the past. If we are continually fed falsehoods from such sources, the betrayal is compounded and we can be lead far, far astray.
Over the years, I have heard several “Big Lies.” Big Lies are those that are espoused by those who claim to have some kind of expertise on the subject and repeat the lie over and over again until it becomes accepted by a significant number of people as truth. One of the first that I recall as a kid was that alcohol and drugs were a harmless way to have some fun and achieve social acceptance. I resisted that call to abandon sobriety, largely because I had a dad who promised me he would hurt me if he caught me getting into that kind of trouble. Peer pressure was overcome because my dad was the type who could, and would, deliver on his promises. In short, my dad had more credibility with me on that point than any potential wayward buddy and I preferred to avoid the wrath of an Irish-American father who didn’t make idle threats. What’s truly amazing is the longevity of the Big Lie about intoxication and drug use, despite all the evidence to the contrary. It proves that once a lie gains ground with people, it can be hard as hell to dismiss it.
The success of cultivating a Big Lie depends on who is perpetuating it and who, if any, challenge it. Hitler is famously quoted as saying, “If you are going to tell a lie, tell a big one and tell it often.” The idea behind that piece of twisted wisdom actually has merit. A big lie takes people off guard. Even the ones who can easily retaliate are taken by surprise, because they didn’t think anyone would have the brass to forward such a ludicrous proposition. So while people are gathering themselves and forming opposition, the liar hits the airways again and again with the same tall tale without a response. A big whopper told often enough without rebuttal becomes truth in the midget minds of many. Once the opposition gets organized and responds, it is often too late and groupthink has already taken hold. Hitler may have been a consummate villain, but he wasn’t stupid.
The latest Big Lie taking significant parts of the country by storm is that there is a systemic problem with police officers victimizing African-Americans with unjustified violence. It’s pure nonsense that objective statistical analysis has debunked long ago. The real problem causing all the fuss resides in an acceptance of lawlessness in the black American culture coupled with a propensity to resist lawful enforcement. Those riots you see on TV aren’t a sudden “call to arms.” Those communities are constantly on the verge of large-scale violence and have been for decades. The black contribution to modern popular culture, particularly in entertainment, brims with violence and aggressive defiance. That’s not a racist rant, as some would insist. It’s a simple fact that can be substantiated by turning on the TV or radio.
The black population in America is estimated at 13 to 16 percent. Young black males make up less than half that number. As long as 6% of the population (young black males) are responsible for 30-40% of the serious violent crime (depending on which stats you use) and you field a police force to deal with it, enforcement in predominantly black communities is going to be forceful and occasionally will result in isolated cases of questionable judgment. Period. They hire humans to be cops and given the deterioration of ethics in our “tolerant” society, it is getting harder to recruit and retain people that meet the seemingly superhero criteria. Beyond that, it’s a matter of percentages—the more conflict, the greater the chances of missteps.
All one has to do is watch the news to see where most of the violent crime is occurring and who is doing it. And bare in mind, it’s the same officers who work those dangerous streets day after day and night after night. The stress of continued exposure to high-risk incidents is debilitating and responsible for high turnover, shortened career longevity, and disabilities.
The idea that cops are not held accountable is ludicrous. There is more criminal, civil, and administrative liability now in law enforcement than ever before…and the current environment has had a profound chilling affect on assertive, never mind aggressive, enforcement. Amazingly, there are many that still saddle up and do their best, but the numbers are dwindling every day, and those still at it are being murdered in record numbers this year.
Given the irresponsible drivel spewing from celebrities and politicians these days, especially those running for office on the left and the right, it doesn’t take a sociologist with a fat government grant to see that we have a sustained crisis here with long-term, significantly negative consequences. Of course, we can shrug off concern; delude ourselves by listening to false prophets and cozy up to the Big Lie.
Michael P. Kelly is a retired police sergeant from the Huntington Beach Police Department in southern California, with 30+ years of law enforcement experience.He served in a variety of assignments in uniform, administration, and supervision.He developed expertise in training personnel with an emphasis in defensive tactics, officer survival, and critical incident management.He served several years in media and intergovernmental relations.At the time of his retirement, he was assigned to the department’s Professional Standards Unit (otherwise known as Internal Affairs). Two years before retirement, Mike was diagnosed with cancer.Thanks to the Lord's blessings and a team of good doctors, he survived the ordeal after major surgery and a battery of chemo and radiation treatments. Subsequent to retirement, he taught academy classes at the Golden West Community College Criminal Justice Training Center in Huntington Beach, CA, and worked for the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training as a course evaluator.Mike has done volunteer ministry work for his local Catholic parish, as a teacher of adult and school-age formation classes, and as a member of the Pastoral Council. He has also conducted public speaking presentations about his spiritual life as a police officer and cancer survivor. He authored a suspense novel entitled For Sake of the Son, which was published in 2013 and is well received by readers who have responded with five star reviews posted by online retailers.He is working on another project for future publication. Mike resides in southern California where he celebrates a successful family life as a husband, father of two successful sons, and grandfather to two rambunctious boys…all of whom he considers his greatest blessings.