In an overwhelmingly refreshing point of view, legendary actor Denzel Washington weighed in – if only tangentially – on the “Defund the Police” chaos that has enveloped the country over the last six months. While Washington didn’t speak to the protests or the Black Lives Matter movement directly, he did say that he has nothing but respect for police and soldiers who put their own safety on the line for our most cherished freedoms.

“I have the utmost respect for what they do, for what our soldiers do, [people] that sacrifice their lives. I just don’t care for people who put those kind of people down. If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do,” he said in an interview with Yahoo.

Washington told the outlet that he gained a new respect for police officers while doing research for a 1991 action movie.

“I went out on a call with a sergeant. We got a call of a man outside his house with a rifle that was distraught. We pulled up and did a U-turn past the house and came up short of the house. He told me to sit in the car, which I was gonna do. I wasn’t getting out,” he said. “He got out. As he got out, another car came screaming up, and two young people jumped out screaming. As it turned out, it was their grandfather. This policeman defused the entire situation by just remaining calm.”

Washington said that while cooler heads prevailed on that day, the actions of the officers showed him the kinds of pressures that police face on the job.

“But it showed me in an instant how they can lose their life,” he said. “He didn’t overreact. He could’ve pulled his gun out and shot the people that came up driving real fast. He could’ve shot the old man that was distraught and a bit confused; I think he was suffering a little bit from dementia. But in an instant, it taught me, and I never forgot it, what our law enforcement people have to deal with moment to moment, second to second.”

This. This, exactly.

This is what the Monday morning quarterbacks don’t understand when they defend criminals who resist arrest and wind up catching a bullet in the process. Police officers cannot afford to err on the side of “oh, maybe that’s just a comb he’s pulling out of his pocket.” They cannot afford to start thinking about what morons on social media will say about their actions. They have to make split-second decisions, and when some idiot is stealing their taser and firing it back at them, you can damn well be sure that decision is going to be deadly.

Denzel gets it; why is it so hard for others?