Back the blue

Published 4:51 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It took a while. I began to see the signs at least a year ago. The signs were in many yards and they read, “Back the Blue.” It took me a while to get it.

One of the reasons is that I kept thinking of high school football teams. Many booster clubs will create a catchy phrase and put it on a sign and include the school’s colors. Then they ask the supporters of their city or county high school teams to prominently place the sign so excitement is built for the upcoming season. That’s what I thought initially when I saw the signs “Back the Blue.”

It was when I saw the signs in many counties that I knew it wasn’t about high school athletics. I told you it took me a while. Actually it has taken all of us too long to come around with appreciation for those who wear the “Blue.”

Email newsletter signup

By now all of us know that the signs are to remind us of one of the most important foundations of civilization. The police are the “blue,” because of the traditional color of their uniforms. Without policing efforts, our communities would be at the mercy of evil forces. They deserve our support.

For some time now, those who are charged with protecting order in our cities and counties have come under stunning pressure. The evidence is clear. Men and women have been targeted and killed simply because they wear the “blue.”

In instances like Dallas, there was no one individual intended for harm. There was no particular policeman whose reputation was such that he was chosen for elimination. The ones who were shot or killed were simply part of a police department. It was murder in the first degree!

Those murdered, almost to a man, were great examples of citizenship. Most were married, had children, and some had grandchildren. Most were positive in their faiths and proud of their profession. They had chosen the vocation of law enforcement so that they could contribute to their communities. The phrase we hear so often is that they sought to “give back.”

In contrast, the shooters seemed to be dissatisfied with life, ne’er do-wells, haters, or loners. Their contributions to society were non-existent, and they seemed, more than anything else, just angry. My words may seem judgmental and harsh. I really don’t mean to be, but how else can you describe people whose hearts allow for cold-blooded ambush?

I’ve said it before, no one is perfect and law enforcement agencies have people who, although they think they want to be policemen, they don’t possess the attitudes and abilities that it takes to do all the things law enforcement officers are asked to do these days.

That was a major point that the great Dallas police chief made after the tragedy there. We ask so much of these men and women. They are asked to be surrogate parents for unruly children or professional psychologists for mentally ill and homeless people. We ask them to go into our schools and perform the job of disciplinarian and protector.

If a policemen stops us for a traffic violation, we want grace. When we are caught red-handed in wrong, we want mercy. When our hearts stop beating, we want them to be our doctor.

Yet, if they make a mistake in a split-second decision that means life or death for them or the perpetrator, we say the other life matters more than theirs. That’s not right. There is a thin blue line that separates good from bad. It’s time to “Back the Blue.”