A Fallen Officer’s Tribute Reminds Us Why Good Wins

Sean Bolton Police

Make no mistake about it.  Officer Sean Bolton was a good man and the piece of trash that took his life is a coward.  Were we to view this incident in isolation, it would appear that the coward won and the world lost a good man.  But the narrative doesn’t stop there.  I actually knew Officer Bolton as we served in Iraq together with Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines.  I am not going to grandiose about how much I knew him for the sake of this article as I honestly didn’t know him that well.  Yet, I remembered him and have watched our mutual friends lament and honor his passing.  And from those that knew him best, you can’t help but gather an honest sense of just what a servant to others this man was.  It wasn’t enough that he joined the Marines and served in Iraq, or that he traded one uniform for another to serve the city of Memphis.  Rather, the character of the man, uniform or not, seems to be such that a deep hole in the lives of those around him has been created with his passing that only time and faith can fill.  But take heart brothers, Memphis, and America. For in his tribute, we should all be reminded just how much fighting spirit is left in America and just how much good exists around us no matter how quiet the good seems to be.

The Honor

Tonight in Memphis, TN; a somber and yet strangely heartening memorial will take place in honor of Officer Bolton. A Sea of Blue as it is called, when an endless caravan of blue lights flashing from local law enforcement will circle the city of Memphis, TN.  Some would just see this as something nice you could do for a fallen officer, but I see it as a show of force to the pieces of trash that litter Memphis.  For to me, this reminds the citizens of a very dangerous city that while the enemy has struck a blow, there is an endless sea of good ready to throw as many right hooks as necessary to ensure good prevails. It reminds the other men in uniform that should they fall, they will be honored in their death and remembered as a fallen warrior should.

I have watched my fellow Marines from Kilo rally as they are ready to descend up Memphis as well.  We served our entire time in Iraq without one loss of a Marine and I think we all recognize that while most of us are long out of the uniform, we lost one of our own now and it stings no less.  The truth is, the Memphis Police Department is littered with Marines from Kilo.  The news of Officer Bolton’s passing came to me from one of my Kilo brothers and Memphis Police Officer with whom I am extremely close.  However, it might not be an exaggeration to state that at all times, at least one Kilo Marine is standing watch over the city of Memphis.  So you interpret this as you will, but as for me and my house, it means the good guys will win as long as these men stand watch.

The Fools

Unfortunately, I have to divert for a moment and comment on a particular segment of society.  You see, there is a very small margin of Memphians who seem to be part of team T-street as the murderer is known and support Tremaine Wilbourn.  They have attempted to raise funds for his family and opine about the idea that poor T-Street was such a nice guy and would never do such a thing. I won’t spend much time on these people as I believe them to be relatively few and most likely mentally handicapped, but I just couldn’t write this article without extending a certain finger to them from the men of Kilo.

tremaine Wilbourn

Well, if you don’t know Tremaine was a man who served 10 years for a bank robbery at age 19 and was recently on parole.  At the time Officer Bolton stopped to investigate the car in question, Mr. T-Street was a felon on parole in possession of drugs and a firearm.  Now, I am no Inspector Gadget, but my detective skills tell me that unless he is fighting Lord Voldemort, the felon in possession of a firearm who used it to kill a police officer is the bad guy in the scenario.  If you can’t see that, then you are so hopelessly blind or willingly foolish that I am going to ask that you donate all the oxygen you planned to use in this life to charity.

The Truth

But make no mistake, this is not about race.  I know it is apparently hip these days to interpret every police encounter in the context of race, but that is simply not the case.  A few years back, a couple of white West Memphis, AR police officers were murdered by a white father/son duo claiming to be part of the sovereign citizen movement after a traffic stop.  Their motivation was twisted and they met their fate later that day in a hail of bullets at the hands of the law enforcement that rallied to capture them.

So yes, Tremaine was black and yes, Officer Bolton was white.  However, Tremaine is nothing more than a coward who feared the consequences of his own actions.  He knew full well the result of being captured as a felon on parole in possession of a firearm and drugs and he had already made up his mind that his pitiful existence was worth more than Officer Bolton’s.  Mr. T-Street might try to make this another racially charged case in defense, but he doesn’t deserve the right to drag the rest of America down with him.  He is a coward, and not worth one ounce of the national debate on race, police interactions, or society at large.

Officer Bolton was known and loved by his fellow Marines both black and white.  Officer Bolton will be honored by his fellow law enforcement officers, both black and white.  Citizens of Memphis, both black and white, will pay respects to Officer Bolton. So rather than drag this debate down to the shadows of race as Mr. T-Street would like, don’t let that happen.Rather, examine the below National Memorial for fallen law enforcement officers that remembers them for the lions they are.  For on this memorial are inscribed the words, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.  But the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Memphis Sea of blue

Rather, let us be encouraged by the community and brotherhood that emerged in such moments.  It is always there people, it is often just not as loud as the crime that takes place. Let us be encouraged by the officer who willingly walks up to an illegally parked car or pulls a car over for speeding knowing full well that this could be the last car he ever approaches. Such men risk all throughout this nation every day.

To Memphis

As of last week, I was a resident of Memphis for most of my life, but I have now moved on to the Pacific Northwest for a new phase of life.  So let me speak to the citizens of Memphis briefly.  For not only do my Marine brothers litter the force that protects you, but so does my actual blood brother who also happens to be a Marine.  The last conversation I had with him before leaving Memphis was at the entrance to my driveway as I loaded the car. He was picking up his bullet proof vest from his house as he was getting ready to go serve a search warrant on a few pieces of trash committing armed robberies in Memphis.

Sean Bolton

I had an ominous feeling about it as I knew this was the last time I would see him in person, but thankfully he and his fellow officer got the bad guys and Memphis is a little safer as a result.  But wake up Memphis.  Unless you are closely connected to the law enforcement community, you have no idea the evils that MPD combat on your behalf.  You can cut their pensions, criticize their actions, and then ignorantly reside under the umbrella of freedom they provide if you want.  Or perhaps you can look at Office Bolton’s actions and realize what they risk every single day.  The fact is, there is no doubt in my mind that a man of Mr. T-Street’s character would have killed nearly any citizen in Memphis if so chose.  But that won’t happen now because Office Sean Bolton stood in the gap and lived up to the highest traditions of not only the Memphis Police Department, but the United States Marine Corps.  Yes, I am saddened at his death but we should all take heart America. For the words of George S. Patton have never rung more true, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

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Jeff Edwards