My life-long friend, my brother, Michael P. Harrigan is a regular man. He gets up at irregular hours every single night to tend to his infant daughter, Kapree. He mows his lawn, plays with his dog, keeps up on his bills and lives a normal life.
He is also a United States Marine Corps reservist. He fulfills his duty to his country every single month without complaint and with a certain vigor and efficiency any active-duty Marine would be proud of. When he’s not doing all of these things, Mike Harrigan goes to work every single day as a Cleveland Division of Police officer.
When he puts on his bulletproof vest, he contemplates what awaits him when he steps out of the precinct in East Cleveland, statistically the most criminally active region of the city. When he gets in his cruiser, he hopes he doesn’t get any major calls that day. He hopes that no one will shoot at him or at someone else. He hopes he doesn’t even have to place his hand on the grip of his sidearm. He believes that any breach in code performed by another police officer should be addressed, and that any officer that makes a mistake or performs an act in malice, ignorance or passion should be held accountable for their actions.
Mike walks the thin blue line that separates the order and peace of our society from anarchy and chaos. If you run, he will chase you. If you hurt someone, he will find you. If you break the law or infringe upon another citizen’s freedoms, he will do what is necessary to maintain peace and order. Most importantly and most prominently in today’s issues, if you threaten his life — his chances for going home that night to see his little girl sleeping peacefully in her crib — then you can bet he will take any action that results in preserving his own life, especially when someone brandishes what looks like a weapon at him.
When he sees that a fellow officer has gunned down an innocent citizen, he is just as outraged as any other civilian that watches the news and decides to protest the police or make calls for action.
During the Republican National Convention, Mike joined hands in solidarity with those who participated and protested in the Circle the City With Love event in Cleveland. Mike is a human being. Mike has fears, hopes, dreams, pains and joys. He is not a monster. He is not out to murder and senselessly harm those whom he has sworn an oath to protect and to serve. Mike would die to protect those he loves and those who cannot defend themselves. That’s the entire reason he joined the force.
Now, I am not a man that enters into the battleground of debate on social issue opinions and political correctness that permeates every facet of our society. I am not a man that identifies my entire being by labeling myself as a Republican or a Democrat. I don’t participate in protests for Black Lives Matter or for All Lives Matter. I am most certainly not a man that revels in the senseless violence between its citizens and its police force that plagues American society. Should we keep our officers accountable? Absolutely. Should we serve justice to those who break the law? Absolutely. Is any loss of life a tragedy that should not be taken lightly? Ab-so-lute-ly.
I am a human being just like Mike Harrigan. Enough is enough when it comes to hating the entire body of American police, because the majority would walk the line to stand up for what is right, alongside any one of the protesters like the ones that flooded North High Street on Monday. We must humanize and empathize with one another. We must come together. Once we view one another as human beings and not as faceless labels, like “pig cops,” or racially profiled individuals depicted as criminals, then we can make steps to come together as a society that tolerates and operates as a single team.
With a heavy heart, I write this as a plea to consider perspectives that challenge your thoughts. I plead for my fellow students and for my fellow Americans to stop this senseless feud between citizens and police: and if you are going to protest, then let us follow the model that was made in Columbus on Monday on High Street, with peace and purpose.