Skip to main content

Honor my brave friend, a good cop

By Tracy Smith
updated 6:50 PM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
Police and firefighters on the scene of the shooting at a Las Vegas Walmart, on Sunday, June 8. Two gunmen shot and killed two police officers eating lunch and then killed a third person at the Walmart. The gunmen then killed themselves. Police and firefighters on the scene of the shooting at a Las Vegas Walmart, on Sunday, June 8. Two gunmen shot and killed two police officers eating lunch and then killed a third person at the Walmart. The gunmen then killed themselves.
HIDE CAPTION
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
Shootings in Las Vegas
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tracy Smith: My friend Alyn Beck was shot by two unhinged people bent on 'revolution'
  • He says shooting innocents doesn't spark revolution; it wrecks lives and families
  • He says Alyn and his partner were good cops, not 'government henchman'
  • Smith: If you're angry at authority, you can start a blog or join a cause

Editor's note: Tracy Smith blogs at the site Journal of a Madman. This article is adapted from a blog that appeared on the site Monday. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- My friend was just murdered under the guise of revolution.

His name was Alyn Beck. He was a cop.

Two unhinged people walked into a restaurant in sunny Las Vegas and attacked my friend Alyn and his partner, Igor Soldo, shooting them dead as they ate their lunch. They then turned and yelled something about it being the "start of the revolution," witnesses said. They left behind a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a swastika. They killed another person at a Walmart and then themselves.

Tracy Smith
Tracy Smith

These two didn't start a revolution. They just took the lives of two heroes. They tore fathers from children and turned wives into widows. They brought darkness into the lives of all who loved these two men and another bystander. They traumatized people who witnessed the tragedy.

They left a scene of carnage for dozens of fellow police workers -- the fallen cops' friends, colleagues -- to process emotionally and mentally. All for some perverse, horrific act masquerading as revolution.

Authorities say that the shooters viewed law enforcement as oppressive and that they had participated in anti-government protests.

But you don't start a revolution by ambushing two innocent men in a fast food restaurant. These weren't policymakers. They weren't "big government henchmen." They were two good cops.

We may all have problems with cops sometimes. Who hasn't felt angry after getting pulled over?

And yeah, I know some cops are just plain bad. Some are just out to push people around. Some are drunk on their authority and try to dominate everyone they encounter. And some hurt people. But anyone who knows any cops personally knows that those are the exceptions. Because for the most part, cops are good folks simply doing our dirty work.

Las Vegas shooters' social media posts
Couple yells 'revolution,' kills 2 cops
Friend of slain officer: 'He was gentle'

They are the society's janitors, taking out the trash and cleaning up the messes none of us want to deal with ourselves. Like you and me, they work for a paycheck, only their office is a squad car, their market is something like the Wild West and their briefcase is generally a 9 millimeter. Unless you are in fact "a bad guy," most of these men and women in uniform aren't making your life more difficult, they're making it easier. They are not a target of your revolution!

Whatever your desired revolution, it shouldn't take its power from cowardly acts of violence inflicted on the innocent.

Alyn's killers should be shunned in the public memory -- there is no cause that can redeem them. We must forget them.

Their brave victims are the ones to be honored and celebrated.

My friend, Alyn, was a dynamite guy. He was a riot to be around: kind and funny, capable of ridiculously juvenile behavior but also profound intellectual depth. Alyn helped me build the shed in my backyard. He insisted on helping. He was a tireless worker, and once he was done with a job, he'd be the one bringing you a lemonade.

Alyn was a family man, a devoted husband and dad, and with the birth of a daughter, he was relishing the joy of being a new father again after over a decade of raising his first two wonderful kids. He liked to swim with his kids in the backyard. He loved going dancing in clubs with his wife. He was remarkably patient in training and tolerating the family's lovable but absolutely insane dog, Marty.

As a cop, Alyn was top notch. When it came time for business, he was the first guy through the door, the one you would want showing up if you were in any kind of danger, because he was fearless and capable.

And now Alyn is dead, because two jerks decided they couldn't patiently let the system work like the rest of us. They couldn't control their impulses. They couldn't act like adults. These were not heroes or revolutionaries. They were cowardly psychopaths who chose to throw a terrifying tantrum.

If you're frustrated with government, if you're worried about the republic, if you're convinced black helicopters are watching you in the night or there is something else under your skin, there's something you can do: Start a blog, write a book, go to a protest, join a cause, call a senator, call a talk show, run for office. Do what people in a free society do, not what out-of- control adolescents in "Lord of the Flies" would do.

And if you just can't restrain yourself from going on a murderous rampage followed by your own cowardly suicide, do the rest of us a favor and do it in reverse order.

Shooting a cop doesn't make you a revolutionary. It just makes things worse for everyone.

Goodbye, Alyn. Thanks for making my life better than it would have been otherwise.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:12 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
updated 10:13 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
updated 5:56 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
updated 3:11 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
updated 8:45 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
updated 10:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
updated 12:59 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
updated 9:58 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
updated 4:41 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
updated 11:07 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
America will have its hands full in the Middle East for years to come, writes Aaron David Miller.
updated 11:17 AM EST, Sat November 15, 2014
Gene Seymour says it's part of our pioneering makeup to keep exploring the universe
updated 12:42 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Sally Kohn says the U.S.-China agreement to cut carbon emissions is a big deal, and Republicans should take note.
updated 4:29 PM EST, Sat November 15, 2014
S.E. Cupp says the Obamacare advisor who repeatedly disses the electorate in a series of videotaped remarks reveals arrogance and cluelessnes.
updated 5:00 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Reggie Littlejohn says gendercide is a human rights abuse against women, with bad consequences for nations.
updated 11:57 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
The massing of Russian forces near Ukraine only reinforces the impression that Moscow has no interest in reconciliation with the West, writes Michael Kofman.
updated 9:55 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
It takes a real man to make the moves on the wife of the most powerful man in the biggest country. Especially when the wife is a civilian major general.
updated 8:47 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
Proponents of marriage equality LGBT persons have been on quite a winning streak -- 32 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage.
updated 8:58 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
It has been an eventful few weeks for space news.
updated 3:14 PM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
It's too early to write the U.S. off, and China's leaderships knows that better than anyone, argues Kerry Brown.
updated 1:21 PM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
"How can Jon Stewart hire you to be 'The Daily Show''s senior Muslim correspondent when you don't even know how to pronounce Salaam Al-aikum?!"
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT