Crossing the Thin Blue Line

Time to cross the line

Readers of this site will know that I’ve always supported our police as they struggle to keep the peace and pursue the bad guys who prey upon our property, our families, and our lives. There’s no doubt that the police are vital to our civilization, because they stand as the thin blue line between chaos and normalcy.  We support our police because they provide a service that is often ghastly in terms of its impact on the human psyche.  Day after day, night after night, they go out to face the worst situations that arise.  Too often, they come up against the worst, most vile offerings of the dark side of humanity, and most days, in most situations, acquit themselves with courage, honor, and justice. Some of them lose their lives, or are terribly maimed for their efforts on our behalf. There’s an important bargain we make with our law-enforcers, and our part in that bargain is our support when times get tough, but there’s an implicit part of the bargain that’s easy to overlook. It’s the part of the bargain hardest for our police officers, because it comes down to dollars and cents, and it means doing the right thing even when there are costs. We expect them to follow orders, but we also should expect them to know when to decline and refuse orders that are not valid, just and moral.  The most difficult and courageous act of any officer is knowing when to say “no,” and to stand by that decision. It’s time for officers of the law to step across the line.

We are coming to difficult days in the history of our republic. We are beginning to see the first real indications that for some time, our political leaders aren’t elected, so much as selected. More and more, we see that they do not govern on our behalf, as the model of our republic declares, but instead rule over us, and in spite of our wishes, rather than in accordance with them. Worse, around the world, citizens of nations once considered part of “the free world” are awakening to the same problem.  What’s worse is that almost without exception, the citizens of those nations long ago yielded their right to keep and bear arms to varying degrees.  They no longer have the means of effective resistance should the worst come to fruition.  In those nations, we are seeing that their police are following the orders of their corrupt and increasingly tyrannical rulers.  It’s shocking to see what’s being done in nations like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Germany, and France, along with most of the rest of Europe. Everywhere you look, in the face of peaceful demonstrations, governments are using provocateurs to stage attacks in order to justify crackdowns on their populations.  This can’t happen unless the police forces cooperate and conspire with the rulers against their own citizens.

To show you what’s afoot, and why it matters, I want to take you back a few days to Coutts, Alberta, in Canada and a situation that arose as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confronted a group of the truckers blockading the border.  The RCMP had been given orders to tell the protestors to clear the road, or enforcement actions would begin. The important portion of this video clip begins when the speaker on behalf of the truckers, off camera, addresses the member of the RCMP speaking. In short, the trucker explains that the police have a duty to tell their masters to go to Hell, and to ignore their orders, and that they do have that ability. The RCMP officer says “that’s not going to happen.” Every person interested in freedom is right to ask “Why not?”

This is the issue of our time, and it’s an issue the police across the United States had ought to confront, as individuals, and as units of law enforcement. The people who they are being ordered to suppress are the people who have always, almost without fail, supported the police in the furtherance of their duties, their careers, and their salaries. These are the people who have supported the police with fundraisers and collection plates and every manner of good will when officers have fallen in the line of duty. These truckers, in this instance, are representative of the broadest class of working men and women who have always supported the law and law enforcement, right up to the point that the law became an untenable weapon being wielded against them.

Our cops need to understand this. I realize it is difficult for a man to look at his own personal burdens and place his own job in jeopardy. We all know this. Still, law enforcement must come to grasp the following: While they’ve been “essential personnel” throughout the course of this pandemic, their jobs were never under threat except by the “defund the police” movement. They have generally enjoyed broad support by the public, even as they participated in a system that closed businesses, issued citations, and every sort of great and small transgression against the rights of the people that they had sworn an oath to protect. While cops collected record overtime pay, the citizens against whom they’ve been used have been forced in to poverty and bankruptcy by the very people from whom these officers take orders.

Officers must grasp this. They are being divided from the people who actually fund their existence and turned as weapons against them.  Most law-abiding, working stiffs can see what is going on.  They know, as the truckers in this video knew, that they don’t have any beef with the cops.  They don’t have any desire whatever to resort to violence.  They don’t ever want to be forced into the position in which they must choose between taking up arms against the people upon whom they rely to enforce the laws that keep the peace, protect the properties and lives they enjoy, and who pursue the criminals that plague us all.

So here we arrive at an uneasy stand-off of the unwilling, for the moment, where neither side, the cops nor the protesters, have any desire to make combat against one another.  Still, the police are being issued orders from on high. Certainly, all but the psychotic few on either side must see that this is a monstrous situation.  It is the moral and ethical duty of the police to refuse such orders, to pretend not to hear them, and if they can’t, then to lay down their badges and guns and walk away.  Better, the police could in some cases take public officials into custody for breaches of the peace, for incitement, for official oppression, or whatever other such charges available to them.

The simple point is that the cops, virtually all of them, know the orders they’re being given are monstrous, and with each passing subsequent execution of those orders, the rulers will become more tyrannical and more willing to issue even more outrageous dicta. Even if it is another simple matter of practical calculus, officers should realize that they can support this regime of oppression no longer.  Here in the United States, deaths among the police reached an astounding 458 in-the-line fatalities in 2021.  Is it the working stiff imposing this on police, or is it their alleged “leaders,” who use them as cannon-fodder in a one-side war with felons of every description, wherein police are legally shackled but violent felons are released repeatedly to prey upon the citizens and the police?  Police should ask: “Who is the enemy, anyway?”

The law-abiding working-stiff may grouse about a speeding ticket or similar, but in the main, they mostly accept it as the cost of minor misbehavior and move on. They know, even as they sign the bottom of the citation, that the cop writing the ticket isn’t the problem, and isn’t the enemy.  The thin blue line has two sides, however, and if the cops forget this, to simply become the enforcement arm of a growing tyranny, they will find themselves abandoned from both sides. They will still and always face the villains who torment our society, but now they will lose the support of the people they’ve sworn to protect.  If this happens, the police will find themselves in a situation much worse than they have known. Even if they cannot quite grasp the moral chasm growing before them as they carry out the orders of our rulers, as a practical matter, they must be able to see the tragedy that awaits should the whole of the populace turn against them.

At our current rate of collapse, the day will too soon arrive in which officers of the law will be forced to choose. In time, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines will also face this choice. It’s time to make that choice now, before the actual moment arrives, because when it does, the dangerous inertia of “just following orders” will lead to a catastrophe none wish to imagine.

 

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