On Tuesday, January 16th, Detective Mike Doty and three other officers of South Carolina’s York County were shot in an ambush. Doty and the three officers were responding to a domestic violence call regarding the suspect, Christian Thomas McCall. McCall fired multiple shots while police pursued him, ending in the injury of Doty, three other officers, himself, and a police dog. Doty was taken into ICU, where he passed the following day. McCall was taken into custody.
York County is composed of a few small towns in South Carolina and, when a tragedy such as this happens, we all feel it. On Monday, January 22, Doty’s funeral took place. The procession took his body to Charlotte and drove back to York County.
I am not originally from South Carolina; I have only lived in the state for about one and a half years. While I did not know Detective Doty personally, any story of a law enforcement officer’s death is heartbreaking. However, here in a small town, that pain is nothing but amplified. The feeling is new to me.
That Monday morning, January 22, I heard that a few roads and highway I-77 were going to be closed for the funeral. I avoided those roads in the morning so I wouldn’t get stuck in traffic. Late that afternoon, I was driving in the Fort Mill area of South Carolina. I took a wrong turn and, heading towards I-77, got stuck in traffic. As I approached the bridge, I saw a fire truck on the side of the road. Its ladder was raised high and an American flag was hanging from it. Dozens of people were standing around the bridge holding flags, looking beyond the bridge down at the highway. I have never seen a more somber sight. As I looked out the window down at the bridge, I saw a long line of police cars driving down an empty road escorting Doty’s body. That sight overwhelmed me with emotion. I have never experienced anything like that before. In that moment, the tragedy became real.
The bridge was packed with people watching, and not just those watching just because of basic curiosity. Those who were there were obviously grieved. The whole county seemed to mourn. While many stereotypes exist surrounding southerners, one that is certainly true is the southerner’s support for law enforcement.
Detective Doty was the first officer murdered in York County since 1992 and Officer Doty’s death greatly impacted us all.
McCall, to my knowledge, did not kill Doty out of a hatred for police. McCall murdered Detective Doty because he is nothing but a lowlife criminal who has no regard for human life. However, in an age where members of law enforcement are being constantly dehumanized in the media, it is easy to forget that law enforcement officers are people too. They aren’t just racist, power hungry robots. They are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters. Putting on a badge doesn’t devalue your life, if anything, it increases the value of your life. Police officers and other first responders sacrifice so much for us. Imagine going to work and knowing that there’s a chance you might not make it home. Despite that, these brave men and women put their uniforms on, accept their low pay, and put their lives on the line every day to make sure we can live our lives safely.
Maybe you’re not fond of the police. Maybe you don’t respect what they do. Maybe you don’t understand why they do what they do. You don’t have to. You don’t have to like them. While you should, and while I greatly appreciate them, you don’t have to. However, you absolutely should acknowledge them. Acknowledge what they do. Acknowledge that they put themselves in danger so you don’t have to. You don’t have to understand them because heroes aren’t meant to be understood. They’re not meant to be hated or loved. They’re meant to be recognized for their bravery.
Mike Doty lived and died a hero and the people of York County will never forget his sacrifice.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.