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
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2322 GMT (0722 HKT)
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT