I guess I don’t have to remind you that this has been a miserably cold winter. In my retirement, I am so glad I don’t have to bundle up and venture out on patrol anymore. I think about friends, brothers and sisters in blue, who have to brave these terrible nights in many parts of the country, travel through snow-choked streets rescuing stranded motorists. Some officers dive into frigid waters to rescue someone who fell in or broke through the ice.
I couldn’t help but think what we used to say to each other before starting our shift. “The hawk is biting tonight. The hawk is our friend.” They used that that phrase referring to the hawk winds that would bite at exposed skin, toes, and fingers. We called the hawk our friend because the only people out in this nutty weather were us, police officers on patrol.
That translated to this: the trouble makers, the criminal element seemed to take that night off. Calls regarding criminal activity dropped sharply. Although the nights seemed to drag on endlessly, at least we weren’t running from call to call non-stop. Of course, it seemed people from all walks of life stayed off the streets when the hawk was biting, so that meant victims also were few and far between. Yes the hawk was out there and the hawk was our friend. The best crime fighter we had.
Another curious result of this was that suddenly the protests in New York City, which seemed endless, stopped as soon as the weather and the hawk started biting them. I found this curious. I mean they shouted that they were the new soldiers, the army that will right the wrongs of biased and racist police. Yet the only people out on the street are police. Where are these new soldiers?
I remember reading in high school Thomas Paine’s The Crisis. The beginning of this writing always stuck with me “ These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country.” The summer soldier, the so-called soldier, who will only fight when it’s warm and to his liking. The sunshine patriot will only fight for his beliefs when the weather is sunny and to his personal liking.
The police officer is out there, fighting for what he believes 365 days a year through biting cold, snow reaching well over 7 feet in Boston, below zero this weekend in New Jersey. They don’t shrink away from the fight because the weather doesn’t suit them or the hawk is biting. They protect and serve, they defend the Constitution not because it’s convenient or warm or sunny, but because they believe in it.
These protesters are fakes and phonies. They aren’t soldiers. They aren’t the defenders of this great country. No one can claim that if they aren’t willing to be out there defending their beliefs and cause. If they felt so strongly, then where are they? I only see police officers. The true defenders, the true patriots, are the ones braving the cold and facing the hawk.
Captain Robert Cubby served for 38 years with the Jersey City (NJ) Police Department, now retired. A PTSD survivor, he has been involved in PTSD issues with the CISM team. A prolific author, Captain Cubby focuses on writing about his experiences and solving police problems. He is a National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) instructor about police matters and a frequent conference speaker.