Skip to main content

Honor my brave friend, a good cop

By Tracy Smith
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 2250 GMT (0650 HKT)
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
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1251 GMT (2051 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1850 GMT (0250 HKT)
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1850 GMT (0250 HKT)
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 2205 GMT (0605 HKT)
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT