Growing up, I used to pour over the Laura Ingalls Wilder books—fascinated by her seemingly endless adventures.
The books got pretty dog-eared; Exhibit A:
In one of the books, she wrote of a time she and her family—as they were still in the middle of building their log home on the prairie—found themselves surrounded by wolves in the middle of the night. Laura, her bed right up against the log wall, awoke to the sound of a wolf howling practically in her ear.
As her eyes adjusted to the dark and moonlight pouring in, she saw her father standing at the window with a gun—protecting the family’s doorway which, at that moment, was still missing a door and was covered only by a thin quilt. Pa noticed Laura, and asked if she wanted to see the massive beasts howling around their home in the middle of the prairie. She writes:
“There in the moonlight sat half a circle of wolves. They sat on their haunches and looked at Laura through the window, and she looked at them. She had never seen such big wolves. The biggest one was taller than Laura.”
After a while, Pa put her down. Laura continued: “‘Now go back to bed, little half-pint. Go to sleep. Jack [the dog] and I will take care of you all’… Pa was walking quietly from one window hole to another, and Jack did not stop pacing up and down before the quilt that hung in the doorway. The wolves might howl, but they could not get in while Pa and Jack were there. So at last Laura fell asleep.”
Unsurprisingly, the very next chapter in the book is entitled “Two Stout Doors.”
I want you to stop and think about that for a second. Think about all of the things around us intended to keep us safe every day: airbags, seatbelts, obstruction sensors on garage doors, backup cameras, locked doors, security cameras, … and in Laura’s case (and in the absence of a locked door), the family dog and her father’s loaded gun.
As long as her father stood the line, her family would be safe.
What happens when the things meant to keep us safe, fail? What happens if danger and evil are left unchecked? What happens when the lock fails; what happens when the proverbial wolf howls at the door?
Who stands to post? Who stands the line?
Officer Dale Woods. Officer Chateri Payne. Seargent Wytasha Carter. Trooper Christopher Lambert. Master Officer Joseph Shinners. Officer Clayton Townsend. Officer Natalie Corona.
These names join the ranks of so many before them who have died in the line of duty; who have died standing the very thin blue line between chaos and calm. They’ve died in service to a calling that demands they put their lives between danger and the rest of us.
We’re only two weeks into 2019, and we’re seven brave officers fewer.
And yet, instead of coming together and mourning the loss of these individuals who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I can sleep soundly at night, Black Lives Matter and other activists have decided to use this photo as a call to action against “racism.”
(Photo: Laus Photography)
“I would like this photograph to serve as my gratitude for all those law enforcement men and women who have served, who are currently serving, and those who have died in the line of duty protecting our liberties in this great country,” the late Natalie Corona wrote, before she eventually became a police officer herself. As her family remembers, she never “talked about anything else than wanting to become an officer.
Just two weeks into the job, this bright light was extinguished.
Instead of focusing on this young woman—born of an immigrant family in California—and her service to her community and her country, Black Lives Matter Sacramento (BLMS) quickly called the “Thin Blue Line flag symbolic of racism and white supremacy.”
The BLMS Facebook page encouraged members to “acquire” Thin Blue Line flags wherever they could “find” them (read: steal), because supporting police in this way is like saying “black lives don’t matter… while they kill us and they get away with it.”
Tanya Faison, founder of BLMS, stated “This is what makes it racist … We’re being killed on a regular basis, especially here in Sacramento.”
For the record, (as I’ve done before time and again), the numbers do not match the narrative. Period.
In the entire country, 995 people were killed by police in 2018.
(You can find this, and all of the below information, on The Washington Post’s database, found here)
Of those, just 26 percent (259) were black.
Of those, 17 were killed in the entire state of California.
Of those, TWO were killed in Sacramento.
That’s 0.002 percent of the entire black population of Sacramento, and 0.00004% of the entire African American population of California.
And yet BLMS founder Tanya Faison has no qualms with claiming African Americans are being killed on a “regular basis” in Sacramento alone.
For kicks, let’s look at the last several years:
- 2017: 1 death by police of an African American in Sacramento.
- 2016: 3 deaths by police of African Americans in Sacramento.
- 2015: 1 death by police of an African American in Sacramento.
And, in virtually all of these cases, there was a weapon involved, used or threatened to be used. But you know, narrative> facts, and stuff.
Let’s flip this for a second.
11 officers died in California in 2018. Given that there are roughly 79,431 sworn officers in that state, that means you statistically have a much higher chance of being killed as an officer in California than you do as a black person. (0.013% of law enforcement were killed in California versus 0.00004% of the African American population who died by police in the same place and year).
So if a patriotic young Mexican American woman wanted to wave a flag representing police commitment to standing the line between evil and our citizens, then AMEN.
How dare you, Ms. Faison—how dare you cook up an untrue narrative; a narrative that has been demonstrably connected to an increase in violence against police officers. How dare you reduce a beautiful tribute to honor and courage, to a simple ploy to gin up racial tension. How dare anyone deny a citizen (by the very theft that YOU have sanctioned, Ms. Faison) their right to display their thankfulness to officers like the late Ms. Corona in the form of a thin blue line flag.
How dare you.
Here’s my challenge: set aside the narrative; set aside the bias; set aside the hate. Be like this woman, who saw a badly injured police officer on the road and decided to set aside her “past judgements of law enforcement” in order to help him.
Look at each officer as the human being they are; a human being who, like the vast majority of their colleagues, has made a commitment to YOU—a commitment to put YOUR life and YOUR safety above their own.
They’re holding the line … for you.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com, and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show on KSEV 700 Radio in Houston. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree