The barrier between anarchy and a civilized society, between order and chaos, between respect for decency and lawlessness.
If you had just arrived in the country after spending the past month in the Canadian backcountry without any news source, you would think American police officers were willingly looking for young and unarmed black men to shoot without provocation. Egged on by the news media, President Obama and his attorney general Eric Holder, and the race hustlers, provocateurs, rioters and thugs, too many law-abiding Americans are beginning to wonder if law enforcement represents the enemy rather than that blue line, or at least wonder if the system is corrupt and needs to be changed.
All of that notwithstanding, we have much to thank our law enforcement officers for. Without them that barrier between order and chaos, between civilized society and anarchy, between the rule of law and lawlessness would not exist.
What has transpired in Ferguson since the death of Michael Brown serves the interests of the progressive left. Its representatives and spokesmen have exploited what is going on there for their own benefit at the expense of civil society, usually ignoring the evidence and making up facts that fit their ideology. They are embarrassed by the crime statistics and they recognize that their welfare state has made things worse. As Jason Riley, a courageous black journalist wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, “…evidence [of what actually happened in Ferguson] thwart liberals who are bent on making excuses for black criminality and pretending that police shootings are responsible for America’s high black body count.”
Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist and one of the progressive left’s more reliable spokesmen, typified the attitude of ignoring the facts and blaming the police when he announced, on MSNBC that the choice to not indict the police officer showed that, “If you’re a white person in this country and you feel intimidated by a black person it seems that our system is saying, you know, shoot first and worry about consequences later.”
So saying that police work is dangerous is an understatement. Every time a cop makes even a traffic stop he knows that he may be assaulted or even shot. During 2013, almost 50,000 police officers were assaulted while on duty, and 76 were killed. Of those killed, 27 died as the result of felonies committed by their assailants; 26 were shot and one run down by a car used as a weapon. But have we heard from the President or the Attorney General about any of those assaults or killings? Did three White House officials attend any of the funerals, as they did for Michael Brown?
The thin blue line is best exercised simply by the fact that the police are there. Offenses that are never committed have it all over arresting, indicting, trying, and locking up an offender. Community policing–walking the streets, knowing the merchants, the neighborhoods and the residents, simply being seen has proven to be the best way to control crime. It is exactly what Darren Wilson was doing when he told Michael Brown to get out of the street and to stop impeding traffic–simply trying to keep the peace, as he had been trained to do and how he probably spent the majority of every day while on duty. Wilson, who had never used his gun while on duty before that fateful day, certainly knew, as he was being battered around by a 280 pound teenager who had just robbed a convenience store that nothing good would come from pulling his gun, that it was his worst nightmare, that he would be the bad guy, and Brown the hero.
The thin blue line has been damaged by what has happened in Ferguson and, unfortunately, many of our political leaders have thrown gasoline on the fire. As Ron Hosko, recently retired as head of the FBI’s criminal division and President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund wrote to President Obama earlier this month, “Long after Ferguson is forgotten, police officers across America will still remember the way their senior federal executives turned their back on them with oft-repeated suggestions that race-based policing drives a biased, broken law enforcement agenda.”