2020-06-17 – Have you seen the “thin blue line” flag that police supporters are waving? I find it weirdly revealing. If I were motivated to rally round the police, I wouldn’t be waving this flag.
It’s an image of the Stars and Stripes reduced to black and white. The only color on the flag is a blue stripe splitting the flag in two. I see black and white and division. Is this a Freudian slip or is it intentional? We’ll probably never know.
I know that many people are worried. They see the police as a thin blue line between lawlessness and safety. I would probably be in that camp: if I thought that police were properly doing their jobs. And if I thought that the police weren’t being injected into all sorts of jobs that don’t call for police.
But that’s not the reality. Too often, they are the source of lawlessness.
And yes, there are good cops. I’ve met some. Last fall, my brakes went out on Lake Shore Drive and to save myself I drove into some bushes in the median strip. The cops that came to get me out were helpful and even caring. After they had me towed to a nearby parking lot, they came back to make sure that I safely got home. And through it all we talked about our kids and other friendly matters.
But I’ve also met bad cops. I’ve met the classic wife abuser. I’ve been asked for a bribe on a traffic stop. I’ve seen them in riot gear along the route of a peaceful march. Many people have seen far worse.
Something has to be done. The folks that stand behind a black and white flag with a blue stripe would be far safer if they acknowledged the problems and got out of the way of efforts to fix it. No one is trying to unleash criminals on society. You have to have a pretty black-and-white view of the world if you think that’s what’s happening.
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