My last two blog entries have been about Professional Courtesy and Firearms Training respectively. One commenter on the Professional Courtesy blog pointed out that I was (essentially) touching the third rail of journalism. I have to concede that he was right; that particular blog entry generated a high number of comments and some, ah, highly motivated back-and-forth between readers. The Firearms Training has received only one comment so far. I find it interesting that a blog regarding training practices that potentially have a direct impact on officer survival rates in lethal force encounters receives so little comment but the blog about (essentially) a social practice is received so explosively. That realization made me think... Bearing in mind that I'm a retired guy (for now), I have to sigh with contentment at the comments received about Professional Courtesy. Those police officers who responded made it clear that we are, indeed and still, one big brotherhood willing to stand shoulder to shoulder and hold The Thin Blue Line. Like other brothers we might fight and bicker amongst ourselves, but that's no one's business except ours. We're brothers. We sometimes fight. It's our prerogative. The "line in the sand" moment, though, is this: just because we fight amongst ourselves at times doesn't mean you should think you can. Yes, this thought process promotes the "us versus them" mentality that I so often preach against. Police Officers and Deputy Sheriffs and every other flavor of law enforcement are not seperate and above the rest of society. We are citizens who merely do a job. However, the basest characteristics of that job bind us in a fashion that non-cops can never and will never understand. Perhaps military service veterans will have an inkling, but even then - unless they've seen combat together - they won't fully get it. Following that thought and realization, I had this follow on: Our country is currently seeing a political / social upheaval the likes of which we haven't seen in the better part of fifty years. I don't know how many of you readers are old enough to remember the Civil Rights demonstrations of the '60s through adolescent or adult eyes. I was a child in the sixties - not OF the sixties - and I barely remember any of the news broadcasts. Let's face it, I was a kid. News? Heck no. Turn on Speed Racer, Lost in Space or Ultra-Man. So, barring those of you who are 70+ age range, the current socio-political environment is the most up-roarious (is that a word?) we've seen. It may get worse before it gets better. If (or when) the riots and chaos begin, it will be The Thin Blue Line that stands shoulder to shoulder and holds society together. And whether we want to like each other or not, we will stand and work professionally together to do the job. Thank you my brother and sister officers. Stand the line!