Sleep on This: The Thin Blue Line (June 8)
Good evening, friend:
I know, I know…I said last Friday’s Sleep on This reflection would be the last for a while. I lied. I have one more thing I need to say.
Many years ago, I was returning home from a particularly boring committee meeting, tooling along in the fast lane on cruise control. I know it was a particularly boring meeting because I fell asleep at the wheel. I awoke when my wheels hit the left gravel shoulder and, in my adrenaline-stoked panic, JERKED the wheel to the right. This high-speed over-correction took me clear across three lanes of highway to the opposite shoulder where, again, I corrected in the other direction. I still remember the violent whipsawing of my car back and forth, back and forth until finally, I settled down in a straight line, my heart pounding out of my chest. I shudder to think what would have happened if others had been driving next to me.
It feels that we are in a violent over-correction. Because we are horrified…rightly…at the killing of George Floyd by a police officer (who must and will face justice)…we are experiencing a violent and destructive swing in the opposite direction.
“De-fund the police” is one expression of that extreme. And may I just say, few who say “De-fund the police” really mean it. Anarchists do, of course. But even those politicians who claim to believe it will repent when it is their house being burglarized and their person being violated.
There seems little doubt that this is a season when serious work is going to be done among law enforcement agencies all across the country, reviewing and revising policies and, hopefully, screening for and removing from power violent persons who have no business pretending to be “peace officers.”
But one of the many, many tragedies in this present moment is that the vast majority of law enforcement officers who take their job and their vows to protect us seriously have been vilified. Many are being injured and even killed in the fulfillment of their vows, including African-American officers, a wicked and tragic irony. And yet, they can be too easily lumped in with the bad apples who, as always, spoil it for everyone.
No peaceful protestor wants to be tarred with the brush of the anarchists who have slipped into their midst. They shouldn’t be. No law-abiding, law-upholding law enforcement officer wants to be tarred with the brush of the rogue, violent cop who has slipped into THEIR midst. They shouldn’t be, either.
Lord, thank you for honorable men and women who serve as the thin blue line, protecting us from those who would do us harm. Will you encourage them in this difficult time? Strengthen and embolden them to continue to act with utmost integrity toward every citizen, regardless of color. Keep them safe as they keep us safe. Amen.