By Steve Pomper
There was an interesting recent discussion on a national social media cop page. One member noticed in his area there were more campaign signs for one presidential campaign than for another. He wanted to know what the sign comparison was in other parts of the country. Officers from around the nation began letting him know the political lay of the land in their locales.
My mind began to churn because, while this should be an innocent exercise in American civics, in too many places, it’s not. As the ratios rolled in for different parts of the country, I thought about how in some places today this innocent activity is no longer innocent. In some places you cannot put up the campaign sign of your choice for fear someone will target your house to steal your sign or damage your property.
In Seattle, near where I live, I don’t think a campaign sign for the President would last five minutes. But it’s getting even worse. KIRO News recently reported an older couple in north Seattle were the victims of a drive-by shooting.
Video surveillance captured an SUV rolling up to their house. A suspect fires nine shots at the home before the vehicle flees. Six rounds struck the house and a car. At least one round went through the wall, through the house, finally ending up the couple’s garage.
One homeowner told KIRO, “I went numb. This didn’t really happen, did it?” The couple expressed fear because they “don’t know who it would be that would get that angry.” This is a normal reaction from normal people, police supporters, who live in an abnormal place and time. But what made the suspect so angry he would try to murder an innocent couple in their home?
They dared to fly a Thin Blue Line (TBL) flag to show support for the Seattle Police Department. While this incident was the worst, it was not the first. The victims said since they put up the TBL flag, about two times per week, someone passing their house would make negative remarks about their flag with some intolerant folks telling them to “take it down.”
In one past incident, which they reported to the police, someone painted “Black Lives Matter” and “ACAB” (All Cops Are Bastards/Bad) on the front of their house. Attempting to quell those incidents, the couple had replaced their large flag with a smaller one. Apparently, not good enough for the radicals.
The victims expressed dismay over the attack. They told KIRO they understood “supporting law enforcement might draw some criticism but say they never… imagined that a display could almost get them killed.” One of the homeowners said, “Everybody has an opinion and we’re entitled to it. You don’t shoot me for it!”
That sentiment should be obvious, but that’s not the world some of us live in, in too many parts of America today. With so many state and city political officials giving violent radicals tacit “permission” to wreak havoc on communities, how could something like this not happen? The nation has learned some American mayors and governors tolerate and even condone this political violence.
KIRO reports the responding officers recommended the couple not fly the TBL flag (ironically, displayed to honor them) because of the obvious danger. They said one officer told them that’s the same advice he gives to his family. When cops have to warn people they serve not to express their appreciation for police because they risk being killed is evidence of a sickness infecting our society far worse than The COVID.
While it’s a cop’s instinct not to surrender to the irrational mob, there is the reality of the grave threat posed for people in some communities because of their irresponsible political leaders. Yes, it is important to choose your battles carefully. But, in America, those battles shouldn’t include flying a thin blue line flag on your home, putting a campaign sign in your yard, or slapping a bumper sticker on your car. But, sadly, in some places, it is.