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Stop Protesting and Become the Solution

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By T.B. Lefever:

First there was the discovery of fire. Then there was the invention of the wheel. The next step in human evolution was harnessing the power of electricity.  Finally, we cemented our victory over Mother Nature and made the world our oyster with the invention of the safety pin. Yes, the safety pin.  The safety pin is the gift that keeps on giving.  What can’t you do with it? You can fasten a safety pin to anything. Lost your earring? Keep that hole from closing up with a safety pin. Missing a button on your pants? Safety pin.  Did you know twenty standard safety pins makes twelve inches? Why even invent the ruler? What a waste.  The list goes on and on forever like an endless supply of safety pins attached and wrapped around the equator to connect all the people of the world in peace and harmony. The safety pin has reached its maximum potential and all credit for its most groundbreaking application to date goes to our friends from across the pond.

Following Brexit, Brits who voted to remain started the movement and the saving of the entire planet was under way.  One heroic pioneer in the safety pin revolution posted to Instagram:

“Following the Brexit vote, many people took up the safety pin to show their solidarity with refugees and immigrants so that without a word, people may see your safety pin and know that you’re a friendly face, that they are ‘safe’ with you.”

Because the only path that all undeniable and truly momentous movements can lead to is the transformation of the human landscape and a genuine paradigm shift in the human consciousness, the safety pin super heroes are now here in the states.  Our Instagram activist continues:

“I wear a safety pin to show that immigrants, refugees, and anyone else threatened by the hate and fear of Trump and many of his supporters can know that I care and will do all that I can to combat xenophobia, racism, sexism, and ableism.”

Perhaps I can retire now.  I feel like I just won the lottery and I don’t need money anymore.  I’ve safety pinned this badge to my chest for years thinking I was the protector for those vulnerable in society and in need of safety.  Now I’m left feeling like the newspaper after the invention of the IPad or the landline phone after the mass production of the cell phone.  I’ve been replaced with something better.

In memoriam of the badge that has been replaced, I’d like to express why I got into this line of work in the first place.  My earliest memories are of my father suiting up in his blues as I was just lying down to go to bed. He was the good guy, the knight, a real life super hero.  I can still hear the sounds of him getting ready to leave as I would lay there and think about pop chasing the bad guys through dark alleys in the middle of the night.  There was the rustling noise of the plastic wrap covering those dry cleaned uniforms as he got them out of his closet, the ripping of the Velcro as he fastened his bullet proof vest, and the sound of the dispatcher’s voice chronicling the pulse of the city over his radio.  Of course, my dad never missed a chance to give us a hug before he left.  There was this thing my brother and I would say to him on those nights. I don’t exactly remember when or how it started, but I’m sure Chris came up with it.  As if rehearsing the words of a song, we’d say “If you see anything suspicious don’t go by it and don’t go by anything suspicious. Good night dad. I love you. Be careful.” Pop would smile, say goodnight, and disappear into the night. This was our nightly ritual growing up in a police household for years.

Fast forward twenty years and I’ve got two kids of my own.  I’m the one walking around with the bulletproof vest while my dad is working a retirement job outside of policing.  I know now that if I “see anything suspicious and don’t go by it” I’m not doing my job.  We talk a lot about this line of work; its dangers, the toll it takes on being a family man, and the plight of society as we see it through our eyes.  Some things are the same.  Books like “The Deadly Routine”, “Signal 63”, and “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement” litter my home just as similar titles did the one of my childhood.  We’ve both got our funny stories as well as the heartbreaking ones.  But there are some aspects of the job then and now that are just so fundamentally different that I can’t find clarity in his words. For those instances, pop just looks at me and says, “It’s a different job these days”.

In all seriousness, if the “quiet riot” of safety pin wearing virtue signalers could replace the likely Soros funded rioters wreaking havoc in our cities across the country, I would take the safety pins.  Violence begets violence.  The country is divided and we obviously need some coming together.  President Lincoln famously said “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  While I’ve had some fun with sarcasm over this issue, I want to extend an olive branch.  If you want to right some wrongs in the world, there is a better option.  It will require more than a trip to the office supply store but the sense of fulfillment and reward is exponentially greater. There is no safety pin like a police shield.

I urge any young, conscientious, or even idealistic American fastening a safety pin to their shirt to keep your nose clean, fill out some police applications, and join the men and women of the first police department that will hire you.  Does racism and sexism piss you off? Good, you’ll happily find the words “Women and minorities strongly urged to apply” on most of the job announcements you may come across during your quest. How about xenophobia? Pick any large international city that is always in need of people to answer the call and you’ll witness first-hand the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of legal or illegal immigrant communities.  You mentioned ableism.  We need strong young men and women to help us out with the countless welfare checks we answer every day and night when an elderly or disabled person falls down at home.  Are you willing to strap some gloves on and lift up an old man with staph infection all over his body off of the floor because he can’t do it himself?  Do you want to actually make a sacrifice to make the world better around you? Do you want people to seek you out when they are in dire need of safety and not a college campus-like safe space?  We’re out here every day and night with our safety pins.  They’re called badges and they come with responsibility, sacrifice, and danger.  They also come with the reward you may be looking for.  We’re waiting…

T.B. Lefever is an OpsLens Contributor and active police officer in the Metro-Atlanta area. Throughout his career, Lefever has served as a SWAT Hostage Negotiator, a member of the Crime Suppression Unit, a School Resource Officer, and a Uniformed Patrol Officer. He has a BA in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Rutgers University.

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