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 11:39 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Mike Downey says the Giants and the Royals both lived through long title droughts. What teams are waiting for a win?
updated 2:32 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Mel Robbins says if a man wants to talk to a woman on the street, he should follow 3 basic rules.
updated 5:03 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say more terrorism plots are disrupted by families than by NSA surveillance.
updated 5:25 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Time magazine has clearly kicked up a hornet's nest with its downright insulting cover headlined "Rotten Apples," says Donna Brazile.
updated 4:55 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Leroy Chiao says the failure of the launch is painful but won't stop the trend toward commercializing space.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley: Though Jeb Bush has something to offer, another Bush-Clinton race would be a step backward.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
updated 3:04 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
updated 8:32 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
updated 7:19 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Julian Zelizer says control of the Senate will be decided by a few close contests
updated 8:12 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The response of some U.S. institutions that should know better to Ebola has been anything but inspiring, writes Idris Ayodeji Bello.
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT