Sunday, March 22, 2009


10 - 13

The Thin Blue Line is four men thinner tonight.

(March 22, Oakland, CA) This is not a story about gun control, the failures of the criminal justice system or societal ills. At least it isn’t tonight. It is a story of four young men doing their jobs and paying the ultimate price.

This will become a political issue, a case-in-point for politicians of all stripes who, on any given day, could care less about the men and women who serve our communities. Death is an omnipresent possibility for cops. Any given tour could be the last. Circumstances yesterday put these men in a life and death struggle - death prevailed.

This is not about police tactics or budgets. It has nothing to do with poverty, civil rights, unemployment or drugs. These four men encountered a very bad man who decided he had nothing to loose; that is the most dangerous of men. This is not about his mental state or childhood. His life of crime is a footnote. This is a story about duty and honor, character and courage, right and wrong.

For most of the country this will be a one day story; on the Tv news today, gone and forgotten tomorrow. Journalistically, it just “doesn’t have legs.” No, the line of duty deaths of four policemen is not a big story. After all, they weren’t rich has-been actors who skied into trees, or famous hip-hoppers who beat their wives or even an individual who had eight babies. These were just policemen; nondescript if not anonymous. Their anonymity ended with their lives; they are unknown no more. It is good to see their photos. It allows us to remember that they were our neighbors and friends, coworkers and members of the PTO. Ordinary men often confronted by extraordinary scenarios.

Their families will grieve, their brothers will mourn. They will be laid to rest with full honors and the pain will remain raw for those closest to them. Survivors will survive beyond the TV lights and cameras. Lives must go on.

These men should be honored and remembered; their all too brief lives celebrated for who and what they were. Men like this are rare and the Good Lord always welcomes such men warmly.

Walk easily over, brothers. Step lightly home.




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