The senseless killing of Corporal Ronil Singh was nothing short of a complete shock to our picturesque community. The absolute horror that unfolded in the early hours of Dec. 26th not only reverberated throughout the West Side but across our nation… all the way to the White House.

As we watched the pain and grief of our friends and fellow officers on full display, many of us asked why. Sometimes there are no answers. At least none that make a difference to those who feel this pain the most. No answer will bring back the husband, father, brother and son who protected our town. No answer will help our police officers on their next stop, wondering if it could be them.

Gone is the security of thoughts like it could never happen here.

In a town like Newman, everyone used to know everyone. There is little anonymity when you grow up in a small town. We worked together, our children played sports together and when tragedy struck our neighbors came together to lend a helping hand or offer a shoulder to cry on.

But the peaceful town we lived in has been on a path away from the values that made us the place where children could play outside all day. Gone is the time when we could leave our doors unlocked at night or trust that the people around us all shared the same outlook on the world that we held.

So now, we see what is occurring in our own backyards. We see that evil and cowardice for what it is.

And I am angry.

I know I am not the only one who is angry. My anger and pain is but a fraction of what is felt by Corporal Singh’s family and fellow officers at Newman Police Department.

But that anger is real.

I am angry that the town I love is splashed across the national news, angry at seeing friends and neighbors grieve in high definition.

I am angry that our state politicians thought that the best way to serve the residents of California was by passing SB 54, handcuffing the ability of law enforcement to remove criminals who are in our country illegally and are, by definition, criminals taking advantage of our freedoms.

I am angry that these same politicians have mismanaged the prison system so badly that “non-violent” criminals are released from prison before the ink is even dry on their sentencing paperwork making our communities less safe.

I am angry that not one of the people we elected to serve our community in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., could be bothered to interrupt their Christmas vacations to make a statement of support to the Newman Police Department, the City of Newman or most importantly the Singh family.

I am angry that the town that I love has to suffer through the unimaginable, knowing that it didn’t have to happen, because Washington politicians refuse to solve a problem that has been growing for over 30 years. And that those in Sacramento doubled down, like a child throwing a temper tantrum, against the president of the United States.

I am angry that a man who legally came to this country, worked hard and did everything necessary to succeed was taken from us by someone who did none of that .....who lived a life that was the complete antithesis of everything Corporal Singh worked for and stood for.

I am angry that we have to think of politics when we should be free to grieve and honor a police officer who was committed to protecting Newman and serving our country.

I am angry that a man who brought laughter and joy to a profession that is filled with tragedy and stress was taken from his friends, leaving a void that can never be filled.

I am angry because I am told that it is immoral to want to protect American lives first, and that anyone who wants a wall is racist. Never mind that Americans come in every color, shape, size and religion.

I am angry when people say that illegal aliens commit fewer crimes than American citizens. To logic that out, you must believe that we don’t have enough crime in this country and importing more is a necessary good that can not be questioned.

And I am especially angry that the lives of people lost to violence at the hands of illegal aliens aren’t worth more than the dollars we waste in the foreign aid given to nations that wish death upon the very Americans who are footing the bill.

To put it in perspective, in 2011 the U.S. Government spent over $10 billion a day, over $7 million an hour. Our budget has only grown leaps and bounds since then.

It is laughable to say that there is no money to secure our border. Whatever ways necessary… be it wall, fence, drones or more border patrol. I am firmly good with an all-of-the-above approach.

A secure border is one of the few things our federal government is Constitutionally-obligated to provide. It should not be this difficult to understand.

Corporal Singh’s life was worth more than $5 billion. So was Kate Steinle’s. So was the life of every other child, wife, husband and family member who has died at the hands of people here illegally. I have had enough.

In modern day politics our political class is actually rewarded for not fixing anything. They raise funds off outrage. They divide as political strategy. Kicking the can down the road has flipped our branches of government back and forth. But amazingly, and by design, nothing gets done.

What will it take? How many have to die? When will California and the rest of this country say enough?

Maybe when enough county sheriffs say they will not comply with a law that endangers our residents. Maybe when people show up in Sacramento with yellow vests to say it will not be tolerated anymore.

Maybe then we can get past what the Democrats want and what the Republicans want, and actually do something that Americans want.

The death of Corporal Singh should rise above the petty politics of the day. Unfortunately, we live in a society that can’t even produce a movie without politically clubbing the audience. We cannot look to politicians to make the change. We must demand it for ourselves.

We must demand more. More than building a wall.

We must demand more from ourselves and our neighbors.

More from our leaders.

Our community will heal, and time will dull the edge of pain we are experiencing. The loss we feel will always be there.

Evil has tragically touched our community.

But evil only prevails when we allow it to overshadow good.

We must be, will be, stronger going forward.

Corporal Ronil Singh deserves no less.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.