There was a little event you might have heard about downtown this week that could have gotten way out of hand. While I've already forgotten what all those protesters were rallying against, what's stuck with me the most is my newfound love for the Chicago Police Department.
I have to admit, I haven't always beamed with love and pride for my city's protectors. I still remember how angry I was the first time I got a moving violation for a "rolling stop" and cursing out the officer who issued the citation. But since then, my feelings for the po-po have been indifferent.
Being smart enough to stay the hell out of downtown during the protests, I spent my weekend glued to the Internet like the rest of the nation, keeping a close watch for any chaos. And with every post that showed a picture of a cop on the streets, my heart grew larger for the men and women in blue. Trying to remain impartial, I kept quiet until I saw the Tribune picture of the cop who was hit over the head with a stick by some a-hole protester. Then my feelings changed.
I know not every protester out there was evil--in fact, only a handful of them were. But like a house party packed with people, you get the fun ones with the jerks. It's basic math.
To those protesters who trashed our city and disrespected the police by using violence, stupidity and in some instances urine, I'd like to assure you that your point was lost the moment you acted like an animal. We can only hope that a warm bag of pee makes its way to your face someday.
I can't even imagine what it was like to be a police officer this week. Going to work with the need for riot gear--amid thousands of people who all have a different reason they're angry--and you are the face hired to keep them in order.
What made me sit with my jaw dropped in awe was the self-restraint the police had during the whole thing. I get all HULK RAGE when someone tries to cut in front of a line, let alone try to cause me harm. The fact that the police were able to keep their cool and use force only when necessary among a sea of chaos speaks volumes to their character.
I've called Chicago home my entire life, and never have I been more proud of that fact as I am today.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Chicago Police Department and all of the cops in town. Not only did they go above and beyond for their jobs, but they also kept this city going and made us all look cool to an international audience by association.
High-fives and hugs all around.
--CONNIE REYES IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR