I see Blue.
There has been a popular phrase used by people who feel that their belief system regarding racism is under question: “I don’t see color”.
Is that really true? When we hear someone declare that they do not see color, are we hearing their heart or just the use of a simple catch-all phrase that seemingly stops the conversation? As for me, I see color. I see color all around me. I see the green line under duress at our nation’s borders, I see the redline as they battle blazes and perform rescues in American homes and I most certainly see a blue line that was once thick with brotherhood, strength, pride and the support of its communities but has now thinned to less of a line and more of a fine filament.
I see color and this week I see blue.
National Police Week is always celebrated on whatever week May 15 falls in, under President Kennedy’s decree to honor the men and women who risk their lives every day in the line of duty — it takes place from May 15 to 21 this year. That is this week if you were not aware.
The week is not just meant to remind us to appreciate our law enforcement officers but it is meant as a period of remembrance as police officers remember their colleagues who have fallen in the line of duty. It is meant as a time of re-commitment for officers and communities alike; a time for us to resolve to support, love, care for and protect each other.
National Police Week is supposed to be all about honor, gratitude, remembrance, servitude, and peer support.
National Police Week was created in 1962; after John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726. The law designated May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and stated that the week in which the day falls should be National Police Week. Every year, the National Law Enforcement Officers organize a Memorial Service to honor police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The police force is not an American invention. Law enforcement has existed for centuries, while the first organized and uniformed police officers were created by King Louis XIV in 1667.
In 17th century Colonial America, the most important law enforcement official was the county sheriff. In 1789, the United States Marshals Service was established, and other federal law enforcement agencies started popping up, such as the U.S. Parks Police. However, the first organized and publicly-funded professional full-time police force wasn’t established until 1838 in Boston.
With a rich history of keeping law and order, it would seem like a simple task to take a week to remember their work, dedication and sacrifices, but it is not simple at all because in a country that is so wrought with racist strife, the color most under attack is blue.
America faces some critical questions right now. Many people, including some in very high office, would rather accuse law enforcement of racism and heavy-handedness than to see the evidence. When a police action comes into question, the most influential of characters from around the country begin to promise justice for the “victim” before the video is ever released!
Now, I am not saying that there are situations when the police have been wrong. We have seen unmistakable evidence to the contrary quite recently, but the point I am trying to make is this:
Our law enforcement is under attack and unfortunately a new tradition has been birthed in this country that an officer-involved shooting must mean that law enforcement has another bad apple in the barrel.
It would be overstating it to say there is no racism among America’s law enforcement officers. There are many things that have to be rectified within the ranks, but there are some who are scrutinizing and magnifying this issue for evil purposes. They are using it dishonestly to explain or excuse some terrifyingly dangerous behavior. They are stirring up emotion and anger—but none of it is truly intended to solve the problem.
The results are inciting evils that are quickly becoming far worse than those they purport to solve! The nation’s police are being undermined in ways that are beginning to prove devastating to our cities and our country.
America’s law enforcement is under attack. On one side people in communities are developing a mistrustful, hostile, antagonistic attitude, yelling at police, assaulting and even killing officers in some cases. Police are pulling back from doing their jobs for fear of attack, or losing their jobs or going to prison for doing anything that could be perceived as racist. On the other, the federal government is undermining local law enforcement and stripping it of power in an effort to centralize policing power on the federal level.
I remember the Ferguson riots where I first heard the chants of hundreds crying “kill the police”. It is something I will never forget. As a child I had been taught that these were the heroes that ran toward the gunshots and fearlessly would get the boogie man no matter what the cost. The security I felt in my childhood was because of these truths! What has happened in America that we scream against racism yet so many have chosen to hate blue?
I suggest, while we still have a few days left in this special week, that we find ways to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have devoted themselves to keeping our streets and homes safe and to remember all those that have given their lives in the line of duty. The United States has, unfortunately, witnessed a wave of progressive activists pushing a “Defund the Police” message. This movement ushered in a predictable result: spikes in crime across the country, but particularly concentrated in major cities that chose to defund the police or to embrace other anti-police policies.
There are and will continue to be consequences for not appreciating the blue line.
In June 2020, following the death of George Floyd, the “defund” cities of Los Angeles, Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago, Portland, New York and Minneapolis stripped millions of dollars out of their police budgets, directing them toward social services and youth programs.
These cities saw immediate jumps in violent crime.
According to data compiled by the FBI in its annual report on crime, the national murder rate rose by almost 30 per cent in 2020, more than any other time in the last half-century. The report shows that there were 4,901 more murders committed in 2020 than in 2019. Aggravated assaults in America rose by an estimated 12.4 percent.
According to data compiled by the MacIver Institute, Portland saw a 530 percent increase in its murder rate. Austin saw a 74 percent rise. New York’s murder rate was 56 percent higher. Chicago’s rose by 54 percent, Los Angeles, which is down more than 650 officers from its pre-pandemic staffing level, downsized its narcotics and gun-related units and reduced its homeless outreach teams by 80 per cent.
Seattle recently announced $2 million in hiring bonuses and benefits to lure recruits amid a critical officer shortage that has hampered the investigation of serious crimes.
We are doing damage that I am not sure can be repaired. If we continue to chip away at our own foundations we will eventually see our lives crumble and fall. We cannot continue to sit quietly and watch as our law enforcement officers are attacked, assaulted, ignored, disrespected and targeted. The majority has not spoken yet but I believe it is time.
Colorblindness is a policy choice and not, as many assert, a moral principle.
On Mother’s Day millions made it to mom’s house or her graveside to say thank you. The same will happen on Father’s Day. In between those two holidays is a chance to say thank you to a group of people that have been around long before your parents and will continue to be there long after they are gone. They will be there to protect you, to guide you occasionally, to counsel if need be, to assist when necessary, to serve as called upon and to watch over you as you sleep.
I see blue.