By Barbara Morris
This year three of my longtime NYPD friends, Officer Jovoda Cooper, Detective Victor Logan, and Officer Don Barto, along with Officer Michael Valentino, newly retired from 101st Precinct, received well-deserved awards. Congratulations to all of them.As in other years, bad weather had been predicted for the day of the picnic; however, somehow the good cause of feeding and entertaining thousands of children outweighed the technical expertise of the weather prognosticators. The sun shone down on all the celebrants, and the youngsters and the law enforcement people had a wonderful time together, from what I have heard, as it should be.I have also heard that some local residents and community leaders blame the upcoming Republican National Convention for leaving local beats understaffed. As is always the case when there is some major event, there are never enough police at the home precinct of the specific event to adequately cover it without drawing officers from other precincts, whether it is New Year's Eve or the St. Patrick's Day or Caribbean Day parades Ñ or even the US Open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.Crowds, most unfortunately, often generate the danger of crime, injury and death, even under more normal circumstances than those that exist today. With threats of terrorism from foreign and domestic sources, the circumstances are compounded. Anti-Bush, anti-war and pro-homosexual marriage rights demonstrators have demanded and been given their Constitutional rights to march and speak their minds.At this writing, they are demanding that the city (the taxpaying public) provide them with portable toilets, water and extensive, blocks-long communication systems Ñ all free and erected by someone else on their behalf. That part is nowhere in the Constitution. They rightly should have the first two items, at least, but not at our expense.After Sept. 11, 2001, it is my opinion that it was a mistake that we were told that we should just go along and do things in our normal way. We have been told in no uncertain terms that there are enemies determined to kill everyone in the United States and destroy this country. They would not even hesitate to kill their own agents who may be working here to help them. War is not normal and if we want to live out our normal lives and have future generations do the same, we must act as if we are at war and support efforts aimed at protecting us and our country, making personal sacrifices when necessary.Having lived through World War II, I truly believe that we would never have won if the general public made the demands on government or were as uncooperative as they are now. When demonstrators against the convention promise to throw balloons filled with urine, plan to sprinkle their clothes with gunpowder to confuse police dogs and throw marbles on the streets to injure police horses, I believe it is the reprehensible threats of demonstrators that will necessitate additional law enforcement.All demonstrators do not plan to follow the course some of the organizers had predicted. I hope cooler heads will prevail. We have too many interior quandaries already, not the least of which is the former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger revelation with regard to top secret information that this supposedly very ethical guardian of our U.S. security “was sloppy” about handling. I guess it all depends on the definition of what “ethical” is, as the saying goes.Former President Bill Clinton and his friends all had a “good laugh” when they heard what “sloppy” Sandy Berger had done, news reports said. They have some sense of humor … not the same as mine. As one who had government clearance (I'm sure very far below that of Sandy Berger), I can't begin to imagine how he got away with what he admitted doing. I hope each of the guardians of those top secret documents who reportedly were talked into leaving him alone to do what he did were fired, at least.A breach of responsibility in regard to the security of this nation and the safety of those here is not a laughing matter. When we were told that the report from the 9/11 Committee was completed, we were advised that we must work together, Democrats and Republicans. I truly believe that to be true. Stay safe, everyone.