Did you happen to catch the front page of the Review-Journal’s Nevada section this past Sunday? If not, you missed one of the great positive stories I’ve seen in the media this year. It was Saturday’s graduation of Las Vegas high school senior Daxton Alyn Beck, the son of slain Metro police officer Alyn Beck.
I could not read that story without crying. I was taught by my wonderful dad David Root — a real man’s man — that men don’t cry. Well I broke his rule on Sunday when I read the story of Daxton Alyn Beck. My tears were tears of both sadness and joy.
I was raised to love and respect cops. To me, cops are America’s biggest heroes. They run toward the sound of gunfire. They drive toward reports of violence. If tomorrow they heard there was a terror attack in progress on the Strip, every Metro cop would be speeding toward the scene.
Do you appreciate how remarkable that reaction is?
Cops are willing to die to keep you and me safe — even if they don’t know you and me. Cops get up every morning, eat breakfast, kiss their spouse and kids goodbye, and head off to work. But unlike the rest of us, they don’t know if they’ll ever come home again, if they’ll ever see their family again. They do this to keep us safe, so we can get home to see our families. That, my friends, is the definition of heroism.
That’s why they call them “The Thin Blue Line.” Because a few hundred cops in each city are the only thing standing between the good, honest, law-abiding citizens, taxpayers, homeowners and business owners … and robbery, murder, mayhem, anarchy and rioting. These brave men and women in blue are our last line of defense.
I can’t help thinking this way. My dad was a Jewish, patriotic, conservative butcher and Navy veteran from Brownville, Brooklyn. There weren’t too many Jewish cops in those days. But my uncle and godfather Alvin Root was a Jewish police detective in Brooklyn. I idolized Uncle Alvin.
I grew up in a typical rough, ethnic New York neighborhood. My neighbors were almost 100 percent Italian — with one exception. My next-door neighbor was Tom Lennox, a tough Irish cop in the Bronx. He became like my second father. He actually took me out on patrol, to see him “on the job.”
Later, he became a cop at Yankee Stadium and took me out on the field to play ball with the kids of the New York Yankee players. Tom, the Irish cop, and my Uncle Alvin, the Jewish cop, were my heroes.
I can’t even imagine waking up one day to hear they were never coming home. I can’t imagine a little boy hearing his dad and hero is never coming home again.
Daxton Alyn Beck had to hear that news. His dad and his Vegas police partner Igor Soldo were assassinated in cold blood three years ago. It was a dark day in Vegas history.
I cried that day too. I shed tears every time I hear a cop is killed. I can’t help it — I wear blue on my sleeves.
But Saturday here in Vegas was a great day. Because Daxton Alyn Beck didn’t graduate high school without his dad, Alyn. I know Alyn was looking down from heaven. But Daxton also had 150 surrogate dads there. That’s how many Las Vegas Metro cops showed up at Daxton’s graduation as “stand-in dads.”
The entire Vegas police department is now Daxton’s extended family. They pledged to be there for all the important moments in his life. What a great story. What heroes these Vegas cops are. I don’t care how macho you are — if that story doesn’t make you cry, you have no heart.
Now you know why I love cops. Now you know why I will always stand behind the police, through thick and thin.
Thank you, Daxton for your family’s and your father’s sacrifice to our community. Your dad will forever be in our hearts. But I’m thrilled to hear you have 150 “stand-in dads.”
God bless the Thin Blue Line.
Contact Wayne Allyn Root at Wayne@ROOTforAmerica.com. Hear his nationally-syndicated “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 790 Talk Now.