Over the thin blue line
The thin blue line flag is a desecration of the American flag. It should not be flown in any public building where police are headquartered.
American police are not a praetorian or Swiss guard. They are not paramilitaries, and they are not above the law. Police officers are not part of a society apart. They enjoy no special privileges, and have no entitlements to commit violence and abuse. Police officers are powerful people in American society. Their badge and guns give them tremendous power and the benefit of the doubt. When accusations against them are made by a beaten spouse, child or arrestee, it is the police officer who is viewed as credible, not the victim.
Police officers are not Navy Seals, Army Rangers or Marines. They do not have the training, leadership, traditions, ethics and discipline of the US Armed Forces, let alone the most elite combat units. The militarization of American policing has been a disaster. Police officers should be dressed like this:
The job is about public service, specifically it is about protecting and serving. It is a dangerous job. In 2021, 129 police officers were killed in the line of duty. It is a job that requires judgement, decency, courage, empathy, patience, restraint and understanding. Every citizen owes a debt of gratitude to honorable police and the leadership of exceptional departments. The American people do not owe respect to a badge on the basis of possession, or just because. Respect is earned, and the truth of the matter is that scores of police departments don’t deserve respect. They deserve the scorn and contempt of the people they abuse, instead of serving. American policing should be reformed top to bottom. That starts by cleaning out the detritus from many police departments.
Police unions are politically powerful. That is a good thing because police officers deserve to be well paid, respected and secure in retirement after careers serving the public. However, when the unions become the leading apologists for police murder, violence and mayhem, they need reining in by political leaders who have the guts to stand up to them. The police work for the people. The people aren’t the subjects of the police.
Police departments should model themselves on fire departments, not the US military. The idea that Memphis Police officers were organized into a unit called SCORPION is an abomination. Murder by rogue police from a unit called Scorpion was as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. The unit was “permanently” deactivated yesterday.
How many other police departments across America have similarly named squads?
How many have similar units?
What happened in Memphis shocks the conscience for two reasons. First, is the evil of the brutality. Second, is the cluelessness and arrogance of the murderer cops of Memphis. Even though they had body cameras on two years and eight months after George Floyd, they actually must have believed they were somehow invisible and that no one was watching.
Everyone is watching now. Platitudes that demand disclaimers celebrating police as a predicate to condemning murder are growing tedious at best.
In the end, American police officers would be well advised to remember for whom it is they work. They don’t work for the police department. They work for the taxpayers and the result, too often, is unacceptable.
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