By J. Armstrong
When a police officer dies, my Facebook feed is normally filled with the patch or badge of the fallen’s agency. Right now, my news feed is full of “rookie pics”.. Police officers are posting pictures of their rookie year in a kind of social media memorial to Officer Ashley Guindon, a rookie Virginia cop who was gunned down while still in training.
But these officers couldn’t finish off the memorial to Officer Guindon before yet another cop was killed, and yet another Facebook tribute began. Tonight, Officer David Hofer of the Euless Police Department (Texas) was killed in the line of duty.
So far this year, 16 police officers have died in the line of duty. That’s 16 flag draped caskets. 16 (or more) processions. 16 separate versions of TAPS. 16 different gun salutes. 16 folded flags handed to a grieving loved one. And 16 last calls on the radio.. All by March 1.
Few (if any) elected officials have spoken up. I doubt any dignitaries went to any funerals. The media hasn’t blown these stories up or even really commented on them. Activists haven’t stirred. Public speakers haven’t demanded “justice”. And the president hasn’t claimed that more needs to be done to curb this problem.
I think police officers in the USA could feel slighted. They could be angry at the slanted reporting of officer involved shootings, versus the lack of reporting for officer deaths. They could be frustrated at the fact that they must play by the rules- EVERY. SINGLE. RULE.. But they are constantly fighting criminals who live by NO RULES and have nothing to lose. Cops could seriously decide to just take a day off. They could decide that the stakes are too high and the playing field is not fair.
..But they won’t. On the contrary.. Tonight, tomorrow, and every day forward, officers across this nation will still go to work. They’ll still velcro the vest, put on the belt, attach all the gear, lace/zip the boots, go in service, and answer the call when you dial 911. They’ll be there when you crash. They’ll attempt to stop the criminal before he/she gets to you. They will stand in the gap for you. They will be the Thin Blue Line.
To Officers Guindon and Hofer, to the ones before you, and to the inevitable ones to follow: your sacrifice was not in vain. The media, the activists, and even the president may not care. But we sure as hell do. We see you. We love you. And we will carry the torch. Your death will not be for nothing. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. May you rest easy knowing that we have the watch from here.