The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …
IT TOOK SOME GUTS
I think of the days when I gear-up, getting ready for a shift. Funny how each of us develops a ritual of preparation. No one told me to do that. Likely, no one told you, either. But we do it. Every day. Every time. It’s a highly choreographed sequence that takes us from a human who is naked as the day we were born and piece, by piece, prepares us with gear, with clothing and with tools that ready us for the battle of the street.
When complete, I feel really tough and strong.
Yet, I cannot even comprehend of the guts and intestinal fortitude it took a group of men to write the words of the Declaration of Independence.
Whether they knew it or not, they were setting the destiny of millions of people who would follow – each one carrying the title of, “American.” And, the very creation of the document – The Declaration of Independence – which we celebrate every fourth of July, put their lives and the lives of their families in jeopardy.
These guys had balls (as it is the vernacular today). For all the power and strength I feel when I gear up, I don’t know if I could have done what they did.
But, I owe my life, my liberty and my right to pursue happiness to them.
HOW DO I FIT IN THIS PICTURE – AS A COP
First, I speak to ALL cops: active, retired, reserve, all of us. We all took the same oath to defend the Constitution. We are all part of the Thin Blue Line.
In the years following the Declaration, there have been numerous wars where our enemies tried to take our right to self-governance and freedom away from us. America was created out of a war. We are scrappers. We chose a form of government (Representative Republic) that is slow and messy. But, it’s ours.
The members of our Brotherhood have been tapped by the people to maintain civil order. We have been given extraordinary authorities as well as extra responsibilities in order to get the job done. For many of our fellow citizens, WE are the government. We are their only point of contact – good or bad.
WE CARRY THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION
I recall a visit to D.C. for Police Week. A few of us went to the National Archives where we saw the handwritten original documents:
- The Declaration of Independence
- The Constitution
- The Bill of Rights
This was some very ‘heavy’ stuff as my eyes strained to decipher the age-old penmanship.
YOU, ME AND ALL OF OUR BROTHERS carry the weight of those documents as we interact with citizens each day. We are today’s messengers. We are the people whose job it is to ensure that the promises made in those documents are actually delivered to the people we serve.
Put that in context of Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called children of God.”
Consider the enormity of this story the next time you are gearing up for a shift.
CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED
The governed set our course of action and the limits we work within. Reflect on this for a moment. No, it’s not literal: the drunk asshole I arrested last night didn’t have the right to give me orders on the spot.
However, the people collectively have sent their representatives to make laws, hire people (like us) and run the country. Without their consent, we have nothing.
The difficult task in a difficult situation is to try to discern what most folks would have us do. There’s a name given to it by the courts: the ‘reasonable man’ theory. You already know how it’s defined. It can be a bitch to execute. But, we must do our best.
Success of the nation depends on us always remembering that we can only operate with the consent of the governed.
STAND TALL & BE PROUD
The torch is now in our hands. Take a moment and follow this story line with me.
That torch was lit on July 4, 1776 with the Declaration of Independence; it’s creators risked everything by signing it. The torch was passed to the first Continental Army as they waged the Revolutionary War and then on to the warriors who preserved the Union through the Civil War.
We can imagine that torch being carried into the trenches of World War I in France and then carried ashore on beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II. American policing came of age and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with its military brothers.
In more recent history law enforcement carried the torch, as well. Our brothers in Blue guarded us on November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. Cops dealt with the Vietnam War protests, corralled the anarchists in Chicago who tried to stop the Democratic convention in the summer of 1968. The Chicago cops had the torch at their side all of those days, as well.
In the following years, we endured the tragedy of September 11th when 71 of our brothers died as they carried the torch trying to save others. There have been other terrorist events – Boston Marathon, San Bernardino, Orlando, and more.
In EVERY CASE our brothers stood tall, carried the torch and waged the battle so that America would prevail.
Whatever your role in The Brotherhood, you are helping to carry the torch today. It is the torch created when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776.
No job is unimportant. We all took the same oath. Every one of us would take a bullet to save a brother. We are all cut from the same cloth. We will carry that torch to our graves.
I urge you: Stand Tall. Be Proud. The torch has come a long way and now, it is in your care.
America would not have survived without God at our side and in our midst.
Yup, I know about the atheists and the ACLU who want to take God from our nation. They can go screw themselves.
I have my part of the torch and I’m carrying the necessary weaponry to defend it. I am on a mission from God – the same as you.
Together with God on our side, we will prevail.
Hold the torch high. STAND TALL, BE PROUD and THANK GOD this Fourth of July. We are a very fortunate nation.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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Thank you for taking the time to read this message and allowing me to share my story with you. I can be contacted with questions or input: EMAIL ME or call me at my home office (386) 763-3000.