Sitting on the side of the highway ready to catch speeding drivers, a state police officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself, “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!”

So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.   Approaching the car, he notices that there are five older ladies – two in the front seat and three in the back – eyes wide and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

“Ma’am,” the officer replies, “You weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit?” she asked.

“No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly…22 miles per hour!” the old woman says a bit proudly.

The officer, looking around, suddenly realized the situation.  He was now trying to contain a chuckle and explained to her that “22” on the sign was the route number, not the speed limit.

A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

“But before I let you go, ma’am, I have to ask… is everyone in this car OK?,” the officer asked.  “These women seem awfully shaken and they haven’t uttered a single peep this whole time.”

The driver calmly replies:  “Oh, they’ll be alright in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 163.”

That was an easy story, an easy day for a police officer here or virtually anywhere in our great American nation. But most stories, and most days are not nearly as easy on the men and women protecting us as police officers.

Sadly and recently, we have witnessed so much spiteful and deadly violence against police and all in law enforcement throughout our country. This cannot be tolerated in American society!  Let me just write a few words from my perspective as a priest here in a small community along the beautiful Colorado River.

We are a society here in the United States based on many very strong values. Among these values are those primary ones listed in our Declaration of Independence as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This month, we celebrated the 4th of July, our national Independence Day, as “ONE NATION UNDER GOD.”The Declaration of Independence, which was signed 242 years ago, begins with these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

242 years later, we all need to remember that from the very beginning, our nation has always acknowledged that there is a CREATOR, and that He is the SOURCE of our rights. And that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

The Declaration of Independence states that all of this is SELF-EVIDENT, meaning any thinking person should be able to see it. So, it’s good for us to give thanks to our CREATOR, and to thank Him for giving us LIFE, and LIBERTY, and allowing us to pursue HAPPINESS.  It should be SELF-EVIDENT to all of us that God has given us so very much in the course of our lives. It’s good to think about this even in the heat of summer.

One of the most important means through which these values are assured for us is through being a society with a strong respect for law and order. Otherwise, we could devolve into the utter chaos and daily violence which we see in some other parts of our world. And while we wish that such chaos and violence didn’t exist anywhere in the world, we most certainly do not want to allow it to exist in our country, the USA.

And one of the primary forces for assuring the preservation of law and order in our society is the local police force. For us, here in Laughlin, that local police force is comprised of the men and women of the Laughlin Substation of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. But what I am writing truly applies to all those in law enforcement throughout our tri-state area including the Nevada Highway Patrol, the Arizona Highway Patrol, the California Highway Patrol, and all of the local police departments in our surrounding communities. In fact, these words apply to all men and women working in law enforcement throughout our United States of America. These men and women deserve our respect and our support.

This is true for all of us, whether we belong to a specific religion or declare ourselves to be of no religion. We all need law and order in our society. We all depend upon these values. We need them in order to survive and in order to thrive.

At the very least, people of faith, please take some time each day to pray for the safely of the men and women who serve on our local METRO police force and all those who work as law enforcement officers in all of our communities throughout the USA.

These men and women are putting their lives on the line every day for you and me, and for the American way of life we cherish in these United States. Please pray for them. Do not let some crazy, hateful, negative or racist people or organizations intimidate those who protect us! Whenever possible, pray for the safety of those in law enforcement and stand up for them in your speech and actions. They are a real blessing in our lives and in the life of our American nation. The debt of gratitude we owe them for our safety as individuals and as a society can never be fully repaid. May God bless them with His strength and guidance.

Additionally,  one of the things we all need to hear and remember is our own history.  In just over one month, September 11th, will mark the 17thAnniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America.

On that fateful morning, 19 male followers of radical Islam hijacked four commercial passenger jetliners. Each team of hijackers included a trained pilot.

  • American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City at 8:46 A.M. and 9:02 A.M. respectively.
  • American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. at 9:37 A.M.
  • The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 A.M. It is believed that passengers and crew members attempted to retake control of the plane which, it is thought, was planned to be crashed into the United States Capital in Washington, D.C.

Within a little more than an hour, nearly 3000 innocent people died as a direct result of this horrendous display of evil.

Seventeen years later, we remember those who lost their lives because of these terrorist attacks. We pray for their families and friends whose lives were irreparably shattered. We pray for those who gave their lives in the rescue and recovery efforts. And we pray for the men and women of our Armed Services who today are fighting the war against terror at home and around the world. May God bless them, and us, as we fight against the powers of evil in our world.

And it must be remembered that local law enforcement men and women in New York City, in Washington, D.C., in Shanksville, PA, and all the surrounding communities and, indeed, throughout our great American nation were the first responders to these attacks, along with the men and women of the fire departments and emergency rescue services, and the military forces of the United States of America.

Those of us who are people of faith, and all of us who are people of good-will, can benefit from reflecting on God’s words of comfort and strength in the Bible as we remember this tragic anniversary. We need to know that God is with us enabling us to remember the past, to navigate the present, and to prepare for the future. We need to be open to the power and influence of God every day of our lives.

Father Charlie Urnick was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1974 in New Jersey.  He served as a Catholic chaplain in the United States Air Force for more than 29 years. Since 2008, he has been serving as the administrator of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Laughlin, Nevada.

He thinks of himself as the happiest Catholic priest in the whole world. His motto is: “Live! Love! Laugh!”

Father Charlie is also recognized as being the first Catholic Priest who is also a proud Whiskey Patriot.