Empathy for Whom?

I live in the most conservative urban county in one of the most conservative states in the country. I shouldn’t have to worry about out-of-control spending in local government, should I?

Surely the city leaders in Fort Worth must have respect for the taxpayers who fund all their projects. We’re not talking Washington, D.C. We’re talking about Main Street, U.S.A.

There’s been a recent controversy in our newspaper about a female police officer who was injured on the job and whether or not we should continue to carry her on the police payroll year after year when she can’t perform the duties of a police officer. The city council voted yesterday to continue carrying her.

Let me state clearly before I proceed that I support law enforcement. I appreciate the work cops do, and I respect them for it—well, except when they’re running speed traps. I realize their jobs are dangerous, and I think they should be paid well and should have benefits available to take care of them when they suffer on-the-job injuries.

That said, I also think we need to use a little common sense. I understand this officer is paralyzed from her chest down. She received her injury trying to make an arrest. Okay. No question she should be supported for the rest of her life. After all, she was injured because she was protecting us citizens.

But should that support be at a level of luxury far beyond the reach of most people? Do we owe her fine wines and caviar? Fur coats and jewelry?

In her current position, between her paycheck and her injury-related benefits, she makes $114,000 a year. If we quit carrying her on the payroll, she would draw disability benefits of only $86,000 a year, which she didn’t see how she could get along on.

Donald Trump would have trouble living on that, but for most of us that’s a pretty good income. My wife and I are both retired from successful careers, yet some years we don’t make the lower figure, much less the larger one—and that’s with her still working part time as an educator.

I want her to be paid enough to take care of herself and her daughter, but I don’t think we owe her the life of Riley. I’m glad our city council has empathy for people who protect us from criminals and from fires, but who empathizes with the taxpayers who fund all of this?

What do you think?

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We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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4 Responses to Empathy for Whom?

  1. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I’m glad that the policies/procedures regarding injuries such as this are being reviewed and will hopefully no longer allow for wishy-washiness. I believe the policies/procedures are far too nebulous now.

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  2. claywatkins says:

    Slippery slope and there is no clear answer. I am with you, the government should be accountable to the people. However, the government should be accountable for the people (they employ) as well. For a person who is paralyzed there are likely expenses you and I do not incur and could be far more expensive than we are aware. Does she perform any duties as a police officer or is she on leave being paid fully? 114,000 a year won’t finance fur coats, but who’d wear one on Fort Worth – hardly worth the investment for 1-2 days a year! That’s my 2 cents.

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    • I agree that it’s a slippery slope, Clay, but police and fire unions in Fort Worth have demanded and received pay and benefits that threaten to break the city or its taxpayers. I agree this woman deserves a good safety net, but I don’t think we need to go overboard with it.

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