Remarks on Recent Violence against Law Enforcement

September 16, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C.- Remarks at the House of Representatives Special Order:

Last week, a husband and wife awoke to see a brazen burglar breaking into their car. 

The dad retrieved a gun and tried to protect his family.  He knew that the console of the car being burglarized contained another gun, and he saw the burglar retrieve it.  They exchanged fire, and the confrontation had become more than even that prepared father could handle.

So, it became the responsibility of Ryan Hendrix.  The eight-year veteran of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department arrived with two other deputies at 2:54 AM last Thursday.  They spotted the suspect and at first, he appeared to comply, then suddenly raised a weapon, and fired. 

The first shot struck Dep. Hendrix in the face before his fellow officers returned fire and shot the gunman dead.  Investigation revealed that the gunman was a career criminal, wanted by South Carolina probation, with arrests in four states. 

Ryan Phillip Hendrix, 35, Marine Corp vet, was declared brain-dead the next day. Ryan’s six-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter will live with only fragmentary memories of their father.  Ryan’s fiancée will not have that October wedding that they planned.

This murder is not an isolated story.  200 law enforcement officers have died in line of duty in 2020, up 90%. Nothing I say can ennoble the sacrifices of those lost, nor of the many others injured.  Those sacrifices — that service — speak for themselves.

But I can speak to a fast-growing cancer in our civic spirit.  An activism that exploits the wound to our national psyche borne of racial injustice in our history; an activism that draws explicitly on Marxism and attacks core foundations of our society, including and perhaps foremost the consensus of support for law enforcement — a consensus that abides in every nation capable of surviving.

It manifests itself in riots, looting, arson, destruction, shootings and killings.  I can contend against it, along with you.  I have introduced into Congress the No RIOT Act to criminalize injuries not only for federal but also state and local law enforcement officers and extend the death penalty for killing an officer in the course of interstate rioting.

But we cannot return to law enforcement officers the protection they deserve if leadership of country is divided on the institution of police; indeed, if the people are divided. All MUST BACK THE BLUE.

If we do not, then God have mercy on us because the criminals and thugs like the one who took Ryan Hendrix’s life assuredly will not spare yours or those of your loved ones.

This country is exceptional.  The recognition that every human is special and has fundamental rights. Our nation is a story of refining those rights in practice so that everyone gets a fair shake, that everyone’s life is protected and respected.

But elemental to that, what we cannot do without, are those who defend us from chaos and keep order—those whose service, whose sacrifice most Americans understand and honor. 

Most Americans know that Ryan Hendrix is a hero, and so are all who serve in blue.  Most Americans know that they are the highest caliber among us and that they deserve our respect and support.

I back the blue. I yield back.