It always starts out as a normal day. You are always “just” doing something; gassing up, eating lunch, routine traffic stops, picking the kids up from school, rushing from meeting to meeting, fixing dinner, etc. The calls just come. The knock on the door just happens. There is rarely any warning. And there is nothing that can prepare you.
But “it” happens.
Line of Duty deaths are up 15% this year. Gunfire deaths are up 31%. My friend, Mel, said it best last night, “It’s a war zone out there.” It is. It’s a war zone.
There are self-proclaimed “revolutionaries” out there. There are people who hate law enforcement out there. And “out there” is at our front doors. “Out there” is in our face. They are living in our communities. They are our neighbors. They are people we see in the grocery store. And our officers are their targets.
And yet the Blue Line Family keeps moving. Our officers keep going out on their shifts and they keep doing their job. And sometimes they come home and sometimes they don’t. But as spouses, we still have to go to work and take the kids to school and feed them and keep moving. We have to watch our kids graduate from highschool without their other parent. And while hundreds of members of our Blue Line Family come in support and sit with us and cheer and hold us, it’s not the same.
In a matter of a week, the United States lost 4 officers. 3 of those were murdered in cold blood. Because they were doing their jobs. Because they wore the badge. And there are wives and children who are waking up to a new “normal” today.
You may not be a murderer. You may not be a thief. You may not drive drunk or even speed. You may be a fine, upstanding citizen. But if you are someone who badmouths those who wear the badge or if you are someone who takes a passive stance on our Law Enforcement Community, you are contributing to the demise of our heroes.
In this “war zone” we are living in today, there is no room for anything but support and encouragement of our Law Enforcement Officers. There is no room for dissention. There is no room for bad mouthing. There is no room for politics. There is no room and there is no time for sitting back or passive outlooks.
The time for action has flown by us. We are in a war zone.
Now is the time as citizens, as members of the Blue Line Family to be proactive. Now is the time to make sure that we are watching out for each other. Now is the time to make sure that those who control budgets and legislative decisions have the best interest of those who wear the badge. Now is the time to address mental illness and treatments. Now is the time to stand up and with our Law Enforcement Community.
Law Enforcement Officers are not a special interest group. They are the men and women who choose to defend and protect. They are the ones that stand between the monsters and the weak. They are the ones who stay awake while the rest of us go to sleep. And their families are the ones who keep the home front moving forward. They sacrifice and serve right along side their officer. They are not a special interest group. They are heroes.
This war zone is not going away. But we can help slow it down. Take an active stance. Support your Law Enforcement Community. Be proactive. Make sure that your community leaders are supporting them. Make sure that those who want to be your community leaders will support them.
And pray. Pray for those who won’t come home. Pray for the ones left behind. And pray for those who continue to wear the badge and those who send them out every shift, awaiting their return.