Anti-police sentiment in America has grown exponentially since President Obama took office and has hit a fever pitch over the last few weeks, as police officers have been murdered in cold blood in Texas, Baton Rouge and Kansas City.
As a means of trying to turn the tide and show support for the slain cops, firefighters in Riverside County, California decided to fly a flag with a blue stripe on one of their fire engines — only to be told to take it down.
Fox News reports: Police officers appreciated the goodwill gesture — but some people did not.
The following day the fire chief sent an email to the firefighters — telling them the flag had to come down.
And your friendly neighborhood columnist received an exclusive copy of the email written by Chief John Hawkins.“Our foremost concern was whether the flag could create a safety risk for emergency responders due to extremists targeting the fire engine or for people following the fire engine and not being able to see the warning lights,” the chief wrote. He also said the fire department had to “look at the big picture.”
“How is this perceived by not only the public, but also those that would seek to do harm to those in public safety?” he wrote. “Some feel the flag is an attempt to incite further violence against those who, to our very core, have dedicated our lives to protecting all lives.”
The fire chief called the decision to remove the pro-police flag a “difficult” and “painful” decision.
“Should we potentially increase the risk for our firefighters by flying flags, banners or signs in this time of divisiveness,” he asked. “Sadly, in this unsettled time the danger is possible.”
In other words, the fire chief was more concerned about whether this flag, designed to honor those who gave their lives to serve and protect their communities, would offend a bunch of left-wing, anti-cop racists.
The absence of intestinal fortitude presented by this chief and many others like him in our culture is both sad and infuriating. By allowing fear of these individuals to dictate our actions, we give them more power than they deserve, and only serve to further widen the chasm that already exists between cops and the community.
Allowing these firemen to fly the flag shows solidarity; it demonstrates clearly that most of us still believe in the rule of law and will not stand for anarchy and bloodshed.
Demanding this flag be taken down is essentially giving into terrorist demands and sending the message that these horrendous acts of violence intimidate us into changing behavior and indeed are an effective means of initiating social change.
This is not the direction we ought to take if we want to heal the nation and move beyond the superficial boundaries of race.
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]