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That’s the claim of people who are using the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter – and there’s even a bill, HB953, that has been signed into law in Louisiana, supposedly in response to “hate crimes” against law enforcement officers.
The idea that cops are under siege might sound as absurd to you as it does to us. Or maybe you’re wondering if there’s something to this idea – don’t police officers have to deal with a lot of violence?
Either way, the info Kat Blaque shares in this video shows exactly why “Blue Lives Matter” is a ridiculous – and completely unnecessary – response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
This really puts in perspective what we need to keep in mind about why movements for marginalized people are crucial – and why it’s more than a little ironic for law enforcement to insist that they’re the victims.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
Click for the Transcript
Didn’t Martin Luther King say that cops were the least protected demographic in America? I’m pretty sure he said that somewhere.
(Caption: Do #BlueLivesMatter?)
When three black women started #BlackLivesMatter, it was more than just a hashtag. It was, and is, a movement dedicated to affirming that all black lives matter. It started in 2012 as a response to Trayvon Martin’s murder, specifically because of how he was dehumanized and the violence against him justified after his death. #BlackLivesMatter is a movement that seeks to draw attention to how state violence impacts black people and, of course, some people don’t really like that.
Some members of law enforcement see the hashtag as an anti-cop movement that seeks to attack and disrespect members of law enforcement. Thus, the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter was created.
Despite the fact that Black Lives Matter exists as a movement that criticizes police brutality, advocates of #BlueLivesMatter feel that cops are under siege.
In August of 2015, a black man named Shannon Miles emptied his gun into a police officer at a gas station in Texas. Darren Goforth was a Harris County police officer who had no prior contact with Miles and was believed to have been targeted because he was a member of law enforcement. In response, legal analyst Brian Wice said, “The shooter in this case didn’t see black. He didn’t see white. He saw blue.” In response to this case, the governor of Louisiana recently signed House Bill 953, which has been nicknamed “The Blue Lives Matter Bill.”
This bill seeks to include law enforcement, firefighters, and paramedics into the definition of potential victims of hate crimes. Hate crime legislation generally focuses on immutable characteristics that can’t or shouldn’t be changed. As society has progressed, these laws have been adjusted to include different groups like: gay people, people with disabilities, people of color, and people of diverse gender identities. This is usually the result of activism that unfortunately comes after a terrible tragedy. But what makes House Bill 953 so different from these cases?
Well, the FBI reported that 41 police officers were killed on duty in 2015. That’s an improvement from 2014, when 51 on duty officers were killed. On the flipside, the Washington Post reported that in 2015, 990 people in the United States were killed by the police; and so far, in 2016, they’ve killed 390. I want to make this clear. In a society where the 2nd amendment is what is what it is, I don’t believe that when a cop’s life is in danger and he’s being attacked by an armed person that they shouldn’t return fire in defense. The vast majority of these killings are the result of an armed assailant who either had a gun or was utilizing a vehicle in a way that puts an officer’s life at risk.
This doesn’t change the fact that there’s never been a safer time to be a cop. Over the past 45 years, violence against the police has steadily decreased, but the media coverage of police murders has skyrocketed. We live in a very interesting time where almost everyone has a camera. More people are recording the police and holding them accountable than ever before.
Sometimes videos where the police are clearly acting inappropriately are placed into the hands of Black Lives Matter activists who use the footage to criticize the police. As a result, an environment is created that seems overly critical and anti-police to some people. But despite that, it’s still never been a safer time to be a cop.
As a content creator, I’ve seen how the media has drastically changed over the past 10 years. Because of media oversaturation, I think it’s important for us to distance ourselves from media and to look at things objectively. Objectively, despite the amount of coverage of police murders, statistically, violence against police has decreased. Objectively, most police officers are killed while on duty responding to violent crimes. And objectively, death is a career risk that comes with law enforcement, and you can always walk away from it.
Being a police officer is a job, and comparing it to being black, or being gay, or having a disability, is inappropriate, especially when you consider that it’s already illegal to attack a police officer. HB 953 simply adds an additional five years to the charge.
There are many people who don’t like the police, but I’m not particularly one of them. I don’t believe that anyone should get away with killing or attacking anyone outside of self-defense; but I do believe that there are corrupt cops that will use their jobs to exert power over different minorities. Even as someone who supports the concept and function of the police, I’ve found myself hesitant to contact them because I’ve seen too many times when people like myself reach out for help and are seen as the suspect rather than the victim.
That’s part of the history of dehumanization of black people that is more willing to believe that we are inherently bad than we are good. Shannon Miles was recently found incompetent to stand trial for his murder of police officer Darren Goforth. However, regardless of what may happen, he is likely to never be a free man.
Before George Zimmerman killed Trayvon, he made several 911 calls profiling what he described as suspicious black children in the neighborhood. He reported several different groups of black boys for supposedly fitting the description of criminals in the area. Not long after, he stalked and shot one of them, and four years after that, he was able to sell that gun he used to kill an unarmed black teenager for $250,000.
It’s sad to me that we live in a world where we need the reminder that black lives matter, and unfortunately, I don’t think the issue has gotten worse as much as it’s become more visible. In my opinion, HB 953 and the Blue Lives Matter hashtag are nothing more than attempts to discredit the work of black activists and to position law enforcement officers as an oppressed minority. Many Blue Lives Matter advocates will argue that people of color view themselves as perpetual victims, but in the face of statistically low rates of violence against police officers, I can’t help but see that as a bit ironic.
If we can’t expect “good” cops to address police brutality and corruption, how can they expect people who don’t trust the police to ever fully trust them?
And on that note, I want you guys to always remember and never forget that you are beautiful and you are loved.