The Thin Blue Line: Why I Support the Police

By | August 29, 2020

[August 29, 2020]  I live in a 55-plus housing development as part of a Home Owners Association.  Residents are older, generally conservative politically, culturally homogeneous, and nearly all are retired.  Despite their age, most live with a spouse and are physically active.  They are what most folks would call, solidly middle class.  They also support the police and are advocates of protecting the Thin Blue Line.1

Recently, there have been several disruptions to our little community.  A small number of our residents publicly expressed their opinion that supporting the police is a “racist act.”  They claim that police officers practice systematic racism by “unfairly targeting blacks and other peoples of color” and do so, not indiscriminately.  Proof, they argue, is the fact that blacks are over-represented in our prison systems and are more likely to be stopped on the streets for no reason.  We are told by them that supporting this discriminatory police practice is racist.

One of my neighbors was called a “Nazi” for distributing blue ribbons for those who want to show their support of the police.  He was also called a racist and accused of wanting to “put black people in chains.”  Hyperbole?  Yes.  But this line of thinking has quickly deteriorated the quiet and friendliness of our community.

Why then, do I say I support the police?  Why would I want to publicly stand out as a target as someone who supports the police and subject myself to the anger?  I have a family who could just as quickly become the target of hate, as my neighbor has been subject to.

Here are a few reasons I have taken a public stand with the police:

  1. I refuse to blame all members of any group for the wrongs of a few. Sure, there are bad cops, like there are bad politicians and bad military members.  Each institution has rules and regulations designed to ferret out the bad and punish them.  I believe that it is also intellectually immature to blame everyone for the faults of a few bad apples.
  2. I question who is next on the political hit-list. The famous confession of Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller in Nazi Germany that begins with, “First they came for the socialists ….. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” is apropos.  What group will be next?  I adamantly oppose the targeting of any group for perceived wrongs where there is little proof of systematic immoral behavior.
  3. Disrespect is contagious. Emotions run high when we see ourselves as being morally superior to others.  Bad things follow.  When a group is targeted, it gives those who oppose them an emotional high to be on the “good” side and to be there to win the war on “evil.”  Disrespect can easily lead to bitterness, deceitfulness, and destructive behavior.  Disrespect of groups is a radically dangerous form of thought.  Look to the 20th century, where the bodies are piled up high in that social experiment.
  4. The idea of a police force is the result of social consensus across time. When we find any social condition that has evolved over long periods of time and are found across cultures, there are some powerful arguments for their intrinsic value.  The police perform a pragmatic role of preventing crime against people and catching those who would violate the trust and confidence on which our society is based.

Humans seem to have an innate desire to be part of a group and part of the winning group.  But modern societies tame these primitive needs.  We voluntarily give authority to specialized institutions like the police, the military, and political systems to act – based on tested and approved rules – in a way that benefits us all.  Attempts to attack those institutions will only end badly, not unlike the Communist and Nazi ideologies of the 20th century.

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  1. Origins of the term can be traced to an allusion to the British infantry regiment, The Thin Red Line, during the Crimean War in 1854. The “blue” in “thin blue line” refers to the blue color of the uniforms of many police departments.  More of the origins can be found in a Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_blue_line
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

47 thoughts on “The Thin Blue Line: Why I Support the Police

  1. Sadako Red

    I too stand with the police. Put my name on any list, call me anytime, show my picture to anarchists. I stand for police, the thin blue line.

    1. Billy Kenningston

      Hi Red, thanks for posting. This post is one of the more important ones by Gen. Satterfield because he is telling us what is a priority for him and, by implication, for us as well.

  2. Tony B. Custer

    One of the best articles by Gen. Satterfield. Yes, please please please tell us what you believe and why you believe in it. This gives us the chance to see what a successful leader thinks like.

  3. Jonathan B.

    Your analysis is firm and well articulated. Thank you for standing up for what is right during a time that even the strongest politicians and community leaders support BLM and antifa movement that is destroying our communities. Sometimes going against the flow is difficult. Today it is difficult.

  4. Greg Heyman

    Best of the best. Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for standing on the side of history we can all be proud of.

  5. Edward M. Kennedy, III

    Look out across all the major cities and towns that have been having riots, arson, murder increases, etc. and you will see a pattern develop. Now, if we are interested really in the idea of leadership (meaning defined by Gen. Satterfield), we should study these locations carefully and note how to fix the patterns of problems. First, the locations are all Democratic Party controlled so that says get rid of them and vote in anyone not in that party. Second, there is a hardcore group of people doing all the violence. Arrest them and keep them in jail until trial. All this would go toward making these places a better place to live and the others problems can be taken care of as well.

    1. Jonnie the Bart

      Excellent analysis. Maybe Democrats are worried about alienating their base. But their base doesn’t favor rioting and looting. Normal Blacks and white liberals may feel they understand the rage that’s supposedly behind the rioting and looting, but they still don’t like to see these forms of criminal behavior.

  6. Valkerie

    The ones who have been telling us for 40 years you don’t need a gun because you can just call the police, well, they just defunded the police.

    1. Linux Man

      Ha Ha, just too good. Valkerie, you just made my day. Oh, BTW, did you hear that the rock group “The Police” is changing its name to “The Social Workers”? Just kidding.

    2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      The Left controls every major institution in America. Mainstream media, academia, administrative govt, Hollywood, big tech. So if “institutional racism” really does exist, whose fault would that be?

  7. Jerome Smith

    Gen. Satterfield, you da man !
    Please continue to being on target with your articles and thanks for supporting the police. Smart!

  8. Delf A. "Jelly" Bryce

    The anti-police folks don’t use good arguments and they know it. I propose they call us racist is because there is no real reason for being anti-police. For example, last year in the US, there were 15 unarmed black men shot by the police, 25 whites. US population is over 330 million. Now that’s a statistic.

    1. Albert Ayer

      Hey Jelly, good point. The whole racist thing is falling more and more of deaf ears.

    2. Big Al

      There is still a point to be made that there is a bias against blacks. The average person, for example, would not want to be caught on the streets in a black neighborhood. Why? Simple, higher violent crime. Think I’m a racist for stating the obvious, then go to any predominantly black neighborhood anywhere and walk around all night. Yeah, you will be afraid.

      1. Wilson Cox

        So, people are not so much biased against blacks but don’t want to be a crime statistic?

  9. Tony B. Custer

    Guns sales have gone thru the roof because of this. It means also that there are a lot of people out there with a gun who have never used it before. There is a risk of someone getting shot by the untrained.

  10. Martin Shiell

    There are people that will always be influenced by the latest fad. This anti-police mvt is similar to the pet rock craze of the 1960s. Others are for it, so I’m for it. Such a way of thinking is not just immature but ignorant in many other ways. It is ignorant because it is not in our best interest to be against the police.

  11. Georgie M.

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
    — German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984).

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Thanks Georgie. I wondered about this. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt, repentance, and personal responsibility.

      1. Edward Kennedy III

        Excellent job pointing this out Georgie. Thanks.

    2. Martin Shiell

      Thanks Georgie. Should give anyone with a brain pause to think.

    1. Forrest Gump

      One thing they did correctly point out – even with their anti-police bias – is that the movement is not solidifying around a consistent theme. That is because, IMO, there is the neo-Marxists and the leftist liberals who cannot agree upon a common solution. Good, stupid is as stupid does.

  12. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Vilifying all of those in uniform who have sworn to protect and serve their community, and calls for defunding police departments, will not achieve any positive or lasting change.

  13. Kenny Foster

    IMHO, the reason we are hearing so much about DEFUNDING the POLICE and so much anti-police rhetoric is because there is a presidential election on Nov 3rd. The Democrats don’t really care about anything but power. Just look at the City of Baltimore. The city has been run by Democrats for the past 57 years. Nearly all are black. Yet, the average black person is much worse off than the rest of America. Is it racism? I think not. I think its political corruption and the average black politician is able to sell that theme over and over again, continuously getting re-elected. Some folks just keep falling for the liberal ideology that cops = bad, politicians = good. When the reverse is closer to the truth.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      Great analysis, Kenny and I think your comments reflect mainstream thinking. Yes, find bad cops and get rid of them. Any institution, esp those that protect and defend the population, should be aggressive in doing so. Just like the US military that has the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    2. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Defunding the police is one dumbass way of thinking. Only those that have an ability to lie repeatedly to themselves would ever suggest such a stupid thing.

    3. Nick Lighthouse

      Great comment Kenny. I too agree this is all about certain, irresponsible politicians wanting to get elected. Joe Biden is one of them. Such depravity that I’ve never seen before. But, alas he is senile. I think it is more likely Nancy Pelosi. What a stupid b****.

  14. Willie Shrumburger

    I too support our police but I also recognize that there are some bad police officers. Law enforcement as an institution also sees it. That is why the police have specific methods of ferreting out them. The police don’t turn to govt to determine who is bad, they know the best and the police will police themselves.

  15. José Luis Rodriguez

    Gen. Satterfield, I think you should change the title of your article by adding “Why I Support the Police.” This is really what the article is about anyway and I think you will attract more people to read it. Just my thinking. ? All thumbs up!

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Great suggestion for Gen. Satterfield. Yes, this is really about supporting the police and what they do as their mission — serve and protect.

      1. KenFBrown

        We Serve our Community! We Protect our Citizens! United we stand, Divided we fall. Justice will be served!

  16. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for standing up for what is obviously right. Too many of our young folks and those who are “woke” (to what I don’t know) and are purposefully driving our society off a cliff. The results will be clear, anarchy. That is the purpose of any Marxist org that unleashes its minions. Just look at the 100 million dead due to Communism in the middle of the last century.

  17. old warrior

    Kicking butt again, Gen. Satterfield, huh? Go for it. I’m with you.

    1. Wendy Holmes

      Nearly spit my coffee up thru my nose again “old warrior.” Always good to read a bit of humor first thing in the morning. ?

  18. Eric Coda

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield for standing on the right side of our nation and communities. Every solution those who oppose our police have, have shown to be abject failures. Looks like stupid social experiments will be again tried. I won’t be as bad as the twentieth century but it could be.

  19. Darwin Lippe

    One of your best articles, well articulated, to the point, and on the right side of humanity.

    1. Max Foster

      You hit this one on the head with your comment, Darwin. Of course, Gen. Satterfield is right. Why would any society cut off the arm that protects it? Such thinking is downright stupid. Oh yes, there are problems, where are there places where there are none where humans are involved? They don’t exist. Like the antifa org that is burning cities, they killed a number of their own for not being radical enough. Humans err. It is up to us all to unite and work on solving those problems amicably.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        Yes, Max, once again you have the heart of the problem in your grasp. Good work!

      2. Harry Donner

        Excellent commentary. There will be, of course, those who disagree “on the fringes” of your argument and who want to make the fringe element the main argument. This does, indeed, show a high level of immaturity.

    2. Dennis Mathes

      Good comment, Darwin. Yes, I agree with you. This is why I’m a regular reader of this website. There are some articles that are good but this one is surely one of the best. Gives us some great macro reasons to support the police.

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