Un-Face-Masking The Thin Blue Line

A police officer with the Phoenix PD was killed in late March responding to a report of domestic violence. He was a commander with the department, with 31-years on the force, said to be just months away from retirement.  At about the same time, a Houston (TX) officer was killed, responding to a call, when the helicopter he was riding in crashed. The week before, a Baton Rouge PD officer was killed during a four-hour stand-off with a suspect barricaded in a house. He was a 21-year veteran of the force.  Then just two weeks before, a San Marcos (TX) police officer was killed responding to a domestic disturbance call, in what was later determined to be an ambush shooting.

Following that death, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement that applies equally to all serving in law enforcement.  Said the Governor: “Tonight’s shooting in San Marcos is a somber reminder of the service and sacrifice our brave men and women in law enforcement make every day to keep us safe.” U.S. law enforcement deaths to-date in 2020 (thru May 14th) stand at 43.  While that’s down somewhat from 2019 (to-date), every officer fallen is a tragedy, for their families, their fellow officers, and for the maintenance of our free society.

So, given the fact that all law enforcement officers put their lives at risk whenever they’re on-duty and, despite that, every one who wears the uniform takes immense pride in their profession, their legacy, and their service to our communities, an order to his officers from the San Francisco Chief of Police seemed inappropriate and c-y-a defensive.  Proud to be members of the “Thin Blue Line,” officers from his department, in this era of imposed public mask-wearing, while on-duty at a recent public protest, openly and proudly wore “Thin Blue Line” logo masks.

Responding to alleged public reaction to those masks, the chief’s subsequent email to his officers read, in part: “The San Francisco Police Department stands for safety with respect for all, and in consideration of concerns some community members have expressed that ‘thin blue line’ symbolism on some of our officers’ face masks may be perceived as divisive or disrespectful, we are taking steps … to provide alternative neutral personal protective equipment. Thin Blue Line masks shall not be worn by our on-duty members.”

The Chief was apparently reacting to “perceived” divisiveness and disrespect voiced by some ‘concerned’ elements within the community, no doubt, then, in response to political pressure from higher up.  And we must remember, this city is in the heart of Lib-Land, where a majority of folks, as we know from long experience and exasperation, don’t think like regular, common-sense Americans.

Those officers wearing the “TBL” masks were doing so as a source of pride and remembrance, not to upset the public or to in any way be disrespectful.  Too many in some segments of the public have become far too sensitive to “perceived” slights, particularly, in this case, those who do not favor, or opening resent, the presence of police, except, that is, when the officers come to save their backsides!  It’s much the same hypocrisy professed by the self-important types in Hollywood, and elsewhere, who decry the possession and use of firearms, but then are constantly protected by gun-packing security personnel.

The San Francisco Chief did also mention in that email to his force that “the masks our officers wear were meant to honor all who make the ultimate sacrifice for the people we serve.” Ironically, by wearing the “TBL” masks, that’s exactly what his officers were doing!  But political pandering and pressure, in this particular instance of police officer mask-wearing, was not political, but simply a personal  expression of duty, honor, and remembrance. While the “Thin Blue Line” symbol relates to the pro-police effort that simply had to develop in response to the past White House occupant who was definitely not a law enforcement supporter, it actually traces back a few decades, and has since become a “meaningful expression to honor fallen officers.”  Just as it should represent to all Americans today, as far too many law enforcement officer lives continue to be lost in the line of (citizen life protecting) duty.

UPDATE:  With regard to the death of 31-year-old Officer Justin Putnam (San Marcos PD), it appears now that he was ambushed, shot, and killed by an illegal from Mexico.  (Information via breitbart.com, John Binder, 5-13-20).

(Phoenix PD via foxnews.com, Edmund DeMarche, 4-30-20; Houston PD via foxnews.com, Brie Stimson, 4-30-20; Baton Rouge PD via foxnews.com, Vandana Rambaran, 4-26-20; San Marcos PD & Governor Abbott via foxnews.com, Dom Calicchio, 4-19-20; SFPD edict via foxnews.com, Robert Gearty, 5-1-20).