Now we get to push back. This week, we look at movements supporting law enforcement, and even some former convicts that have befriended the officers that arrested them after turning their own life around.
1.) Blue Line sidewalks. A man in San Antonio has started a movement taking the “thin blue line” very literally. Anthony Welichko devised what he calls the “Safe Harbor Initiative.” Essentially, it involves people putting a blue line of paint/tape on a curb outside of their homes. He wrote the following on Facebook:
To all law enforcement who see this line, know that the residents of this home appreciate your service and dedication to keeping the peace. Know that when you enter the neighborhood and see these lines that you are not alone or without “back-up”. We do not need the media to make our voices of support for our police and emergency services heard ( though it would be nice). Lastly, if you are in my neighborhood and mean to harm a member of law enforcement, know that decision may be hazardous to you health as someone has that officers back!
2.) Back The Blue. On October 12th, a rally in support of law enforcement will be held as part of the “Back the Blue” movement at the Oklahoma State Capitol building. The rally, which has the emphatic support of Governor Mary Fallin, will include speakers ranging from the governor, to legislators, to law enforcement. The event is, of course, open to the public and attendees are encouraged to wear blue to the event.
“Back the Blue” has also seen action in Dallas, Texas. With residents putting blue ribbons around trees. This has been met with some opposition in the Sunset Hill neighborhood, because apparently someone complained to the Dallas Code Compliance department. (It’s always one complaint now, isn’t it?) Those ribbons have now been removed because of that one complaint.
3.) ODMP. Outside of shows of support from the public at large, we have the Officer Down Memorial Page’s “No Parole For Cop Killers” campaign. Put simply, the group is calling for those convicted of murdering police to serve out their full sentences. The campaign has garnered significant success, with 153 of the parolees they track being denied parole and only 5 thus far being granted parole.
Incidentally, you should consider downloading the ODMP’s app. Recent LoD deaths are displayed on the app, and in-depth statistics are available as well. The app is available for free on both Android running OS 2.3.3 or later and Apple iPhones running OS 7 or later.
4.) Billboards. Ad giant Lamar Advertising has launched a “blue lives matter” campaign in Savannah, GA. Savannah Now reports:
Garden City Police Chief David Lyons, a Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police board member, said he hasn’t seen any of the billboards but supports the general message.
“I would have to support it, with the caveat that all lives matter,” Lyons said.
Lyons also said he regretted that events had come to a point that a rallying cry was needed to say that lives matter.
5.) Convicts. Conservative talk show “Louder With Crowder” shared two stories of ex-convicts who have turned around their lives and actually have thanked the officers who arrested them for “changing” their lives.
Elsewhere, we have this from FOX News about an officer reuniting (and becoming friends with) a man who almost stabbed him in the head. The officer wrote on Facebook:
Almost a year ago this man and I were involved in a major altercation where he tried to stab me in the head and I nearly shot him. Today we ran into each other again and I learned that after his time in prison and some help from probation he now has a full time job and has another son on the way that will be here in November. I was glad it ended well for us both that day and I am ecstatic now to learn that he has turned his life around and we can embrace as friends.
No one is ever lost forever and as long as you continue to work to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday things will work out eventually.
That last line is worth considering. Especially if you’ve read Midnight Run: Debt.
6.) Final word. As an almost characteristically prophetic monologue from Paul Harvey notes, a police officer’s work is one that is thankless, scrutinized for even the slightest mistake, and if they do their job right they are either ignored or derided as lucky. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the challenges an officer faces, the life-or-death decisions he has to make in a split-second (judged by people who have all day and no risk whatsoever), and the mindset of an officer. All three are twisted to make a political point in one direction or another.
Police should not have absolute authority to do as they please in all situations. (Search warrants are a good thing, aside from being the linchpin of the Fourth Amendment.) That being said however, the idea that they should be powerless, that every decision they make is wrong, and that they are simply out for blood is neither rational nor borne out by the facts.
Police are facing enough as it is. They face the kind of people we hope never to meet, a media that is waiting to ruin a career, and a criminal justice system that will just as soon release a serial rapist as it would sentence someone to life without parole for pot possession.
We don’t need outrage.
We don’t need conspiracies on what we think police face.
We need perspective, and a firm grasp on what they actually face.
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.