What a difference a year makes.

On National First Responders Day (Oct. 28) last year, doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and hospital staffers were considered heroes for treating COVID-19 patients at great risk to themselves and their families, well before a vaccine was available.

Police officers and firefighters likewise answered emergency calls in the face of the deadly disease. On this National First Responders Day, those same heroes are being fired if they choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or fail to show proof of vaccination.

As the left mandates vaccines as a condition of employment, it is wrongly treating our heroes as villains.   

Our country just marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11, for which first responders were revered and honored for bravely running to the disasters to save and protect other Americans.

The 25 million men and women who currently take immediate action when disaster strikes—whether in the form of accidents, natural disasters, crimes, terrorist attacks, or health emergencies—keep us and our country safer. They should be thanked and supported every day.

Yet in utter defiance of logic, some politicians are mandating that doctors who treated patients during a pandemic without an available vaccine be fired during the continued pandemic for choosing not to receive the vaccine.

For example, Dr. Stephen Skoly, a surgeon in Rhode Island, opposed his state’s vaccine mandate due to prior medical complications and because he has been following his antibody count.

Because he’s making a personal choice, he’s no longer allowed to see patients or practice medicine. He received a compliance order at the beginning of the month to prohibit all his avenues of care, including his private practice and his practice in state facilities.

This is happening to first responders across the country who are taking a stand against mandatory vaccination.

Our law enforcement officers are not only facing the same vaccine mandates, but have had a very difficult year facing violent riots, deadly ambushes, defunding efforts, and vilification. This toxic combination led to large numbers of law enforcement officers resigning or retiring starting last year, even before the aggravating factor of vaccine mandates.

With the loss of so many law enforcement officers, we have predictably seen crime rates significantly increase this year.

It turns out that then-Sen. Kamala Harris’ statement that we should “reimagine the police” was yet another empty, idealistic platitude that ignores the fact that evil and violence exist. There’s no substitute for law enforcement officers. Some jurisdictions—such as New York City, Baltimore, and Los Angeles—have experienced this reality and reversed course to re-fund police departments.

Resource security officers likewise have been removed from schools since George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.

The Alexandria, Virginia, City Council, for example,  voted to pull the school resource officers from the city’s public schools after they had kept the schools, teachers, and students safe for 30 years.

When gun violence increased in Alexandria schools, the City Council voted to reinstall the resource security officers, just five months after voting to remove them.

It’s time to stop pretending that psychologists can replace law enforcement officers to keep students and teachers safe from violence.

Instead of thanking and supporting law enforcement officers, the radical left’s instinct is to hold law enforcement in contempt.

There was no better example of that than when President Joe Biden wrongly blamed and punished Border Patrol horse-mounted agents for trying last month to manage the Del Rio, Texas, international bridge border crisis, which was created by the Biden administration’s own open borders policies.

After the White House repeated a lie about the horseback patrol agents using reins to attack illegal aliens, the Biden administration placed the agents on administrative leave. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised the investigation would be completed in days. Over a month later, it still is not complete.

Our first responders deserve better for the true sacrifices they make for us. On this National First Responders Day, all Americans should thank and support those who risk their lives for our health and safety every day.

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