McCroskey Commentary: The Thin Blue Line Is as Thin as It Has Ever Been

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Growing up, my dad worked in the logging industry and it wasn’t uncommon in the winter due to snow, or in the summer due to fire, for him to be laid off. 

When that happened, he’d file for unemployment, but he also was expected to look for work and take it if offered. Unemployment wasn’t as easy to file for then and it wasn’t enough to feed and house a family of seven. So my dad took odd jobs of the not very glamorous type to help make ends meet. He would clean chicken barns and stack firewood. Sometimes he took me with him to help get it done.

My dad wasn’t a highly educated man. He was a veteran of the 82nd Airborne. He worked a lot of different jobs over the years and had a lot of pride. He told me it was his job to take care of his family and that meant doing what he needed to do the best he could.

So we cleaned chicken barns.

I know that thinking wasn’t rare back then.

Today, we find ourselves in a situation where unemployment has been incentivized due to COVID-19, making it more lucrative to stay home even if there is a job available. In some cases, in the words of the immortal Cousin Eddy of “Vacation” fame, they don’t even pretend to be holding out for a management position or any position — just the check.

Some state governors, all Republicans, told the federal government they didn’t want the extra money and that it’s time to get back to work.

The result in some of these states is the governors are being sued. And not surprising in this day and age, some judges found through legal gymnastics the state must pay the extra unemployment over asking residents to return to work.

Some in Congress want this to be made permanent, which is really nuts.

My dad never liked collecting unemployment or what he called “rocking chair,” and unemployment was always supposed to be temporary, a bridge to a job, not a lifestyle.

What has happened to that notion?

•••

A while back, I wrote that the movement to defund the police would lead to officers leaving in mass numbers as they are unsupported and vilified by their elected officials and the media.  That has proven to be true.

In Minneapolis, they are losing officers at a high rate and having a tough time recruiting. Who’d want to be there after all that’s happened? It’s a profession painted with the broad brush unfairly bashing all the cops, not just bad behavior of an individual.

I’m not sure if you’ve been to Seattle recently, but the Emerald City is not what it used to be.  They have lost many officers and replacing them isn’t something they can do quickly.

The training requirements in Washington prior to the changes of the last session of the Legislature took about a year to get an officer out on the street. Now, I’m not sure how long it will take, but if they can’t recruit enough candidates for new academy classes, it will be much longer.

Now, after running off a number of their officers, including their chief, they want them back after spikes in shootings and crime. 

What a surprise.

The endless bashing of our cops, as well as failing to prosecute crimes by spineless prosecutors for riots, looting and in some cases assaults on them, is extremely demoralizing.  But beyond that, the doxxing of their names and other private information puts their families at risk and won’t help recruiting efforts. This is sadly considered acceptable in some circles.

In my view, it’s time to take sides if you want to have quality law enforcement. 

The thin blue line is as thin as I’ve ever seen it. 

•••

John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis, and can be contacted at musingsonthemiddlefork@gmail.com.

Comments

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LL Hauer

I couldn't more strenuously disagree with the conclusion that it's "time to take sides" over anything at all. It is precisely this mind set that is creating deeper and deeper fracturing in our society: that in order to accomplish anything we need to take sides. This mindset plays on our fears and ignorance, causing us to keep giving in to the knee-jerk reaction of choosing polarized positions on every conceivable subject, be it policing, law enforcement or public health.

How disappointing that the Chronicle gives a public forum to a commentator who consistently appeals to the worst in human nature.

Friday, July 30
Grndma

I agree with Mr. Croskey! We should support whoever supports us! We didn't create this segregation, race baiting, and hatred, therefore we need to fight for what we believe in. It's politics and power hunger that caused all this hate. I was in Centralia today and I smiled at a young black man. He returned with a stoic, hardened look. WHY? I'm thinking, he just moved here and needs to open up to the love we have for each other in our county. It doesn't seem to matter how many times we state, "I'm not racist". Our young and upcoming generations are desensitized and hardened to see kindness as something else. It's the "something else" that truly scares me. More and more, our youth are disrespecting parents, teachers, and officers. We need to stand up for our protectors and teach our youth to respect them, not fear them. We are polarized because of our administrations socialist/communist practices which takes away our rights. Also, their lack of enforcing the law makes everyone a victim.

Stop tying the hands of our law enforcement and let us honor them...Inslee

Tuesday, August 3