How many times have you said something to someone during a casual conversation that indicates just how frustrated you were with someone or something like ‘I’d shoot him if he tried it’, or ‘I could just kill her…’?
That’s what happened to Jacksonville, Police Officer Sam Kovisto. Days after the election, Kovisto told several fellow officers:
“If an order was given to kill Obama or something, then I wouldn’t mind being the guy.”
He also told them that it wouldn’t bother him if a nuclear explosion took out the Northeastern states and killing everyone there because they all voted for Obama.
Somehow, his comments were reported to officials in the police department who immediately questioned Kovisto about what he said. He told them that he had no intention of doing such things and they were just casual comments that were being blown out of proportion.
However, Sheriff John Rutherford felt the comments were inappropriate for the workplace and was prepared to launch a formal investigation into the matter. With only five months to go before his planned retirement, Kovisto decided to retire immediately rather than end his career with a formal investigation.
Police work can be very stressful and dangerous. I have family who have been in law enforcement and they tell me that one of the best ways to cope and let off steam and frustration is to talk it out with others. The worse thing a cop can do is keep all of his/her stress and frustration bottled up inside because eventually that pent up emotion will erupt and when it does, it can be very ugly and very dangerous.
From all of the reports I’ve read, Kovisto was just blowing off steam and expressing his frustrations concerning the re-election of Barack Obama. Is that a crime? Should he or anyone else lose their job because of similar frustrations?
Years ago, I was called in for jury duty. I just happened to be Juror #1 and it was a murder trial. Sitting in the juror’s box, the defense attorney asked me how I felt about the death penalty. I told him that if he provided the gun, I would provide the bullet. I was immediately excused from the jury, but no one questioned my response or felt that I actually threatened the defendant’s life.
The First Amendment was drafted to insure that Americans had the right to speak freely and express their frustrations with the government. Once that right has been taken away, America is no longer a free country.
Sam Kovisto ended his 26 year career as a police officer early because of a casual comment expressing his frustration with the election and President Obama. If that became the rule in America, how many of us would be out of a job?