It is time for a nationwide Amber Alert for law enforcement officers and I am calling on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lead the way.
Today I learned a New York State Trooper was shot to death and two others were wounded in the Catskills. It appears the man who shot the troopers, Travis D. Trim, 23, of North Lawrence, New York, was killed in a shoot-out with the State Police. Last summer Ralph “Bucky” Philips shot three New York State Troopers, killing one. He was caught after a five-month manhunt and is serving two life sentences. One wonders if Philips would have been caught sooner had an Amber-Alert type system been in place.
Is this personal for me? You bet it is. My life was saved by the New York City Police Department’s 84th Precinct in 1984 when I was held up and shot in the head at point blank range. All alone and bleeding to death from a head wound with the bullet lodged in my brain, I was able to get back to my feet, but my life would have soon ended if several units from the 84th Precinct hadn’t arrived lightening fast and taken me to the hospital.
I would propose calling the alert the Gregory alert, in honor of Brother Gregory Myles, a counselor at the New York State Police Academy, who selflessly tends to the hearts, minds and souls of those in the trooper family who are impacted by violence.
The Amber Alert website says the alert has saved the lives of hundreds of children. There is no doubt the Gregory Alert would have a similar effect. When these alerts are triggered, law enforcement notifies broadcasters, state and city transportation officials, radio and television programming is interrupted, alerts appear on highway signs, in e-mails, on wireless devices and on the internet.
When someone hurts or takes the life of a man or woman that has pledged to protect our lives with their own, an alert like this is the least we can do.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. would be very proud of Governor Eliot Spitzer. TR was elected New York governor in 1898, and quickly gained a reputation for taking on machine politics. Like TR, Spitzer does not let party loyalty blind him to loyalty to the people who elected him. If only that statement could be made about most members of the New York Assembly. But we can’t. When one of their own was not among those recommended for the post of comptroller, the majority of the assembly threw a hissy fit and appointed one of their own. Never mind that last month leaders of the legislature and the new governor held a press conference to announce they had agreed to chose a comptroller from a list recommended by a panel of three former comptrollers.
Well, it seems to me that Spitzer is on his way to being the people’s governor and, with any luck, the assembly might follow suit and, say, think more about representing the people than their own personal interests.
In response to the Assembly’s actions, Spitzer accurately summed it up when he said, “We have just witnessed an insider’s game of self-dealing that unfortunately confirms every New Yorker’s worst fears and image of all that goes on in the Legislature of this state.”
Like TR, Spitzer seems hellbent on rooting out corruption in all forms and we the people would be wise to throw our weight behind him. If members of the assembly don’t learn to put the people first, then lets throw them out when re-election time rolls around.
Oh, if you think it was just the Republicans who undermined the new Democratic governor you’d be wrong. The Democrats cut the rug out from under the governor as well. More accurately, the Assembly undermined the people of New York and given Spitzer’s landslide victory, it is safe to say New Yorkers are sick of being undermined.
So keep going governor. TR’s footsteps set a fine stride to follow. After all, he is the only U.S. president to have received both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Medal of Honor. TR would be proud of you. This writer is, and so are many, many New Yorkers.