Being a police officer is a dangerous, and often thankless job. They are charged with running towards the danger, while everyone else runs away. Good police officers put their lives on the line whenever they're on the street, and in many cases, a traffic stop can lead to horrific results.
But recently, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and people demanding accountability for bad (emphasis on BAD, I can't emphasize "BAD" enough) cops, police officers and their defenders have responded with Blue Lives Matter. This counter-movement gives the appearance that law enforcement officials en masse are under attack, and that their lives don't matter, and that they are being victimized by Black Lives Matter activists and other ne'er do wells.
But here is the truth of the matter. Even if we look beyond the face value of what "Blue Lives Matter" means (a career choice as opposed to a skin color), "Blue Lives" have ALWAYS mattered. Yes, police are held to a higher standard, and one of their own is taken out, it is indeed a tragedy. No one (reasonable) is saying that it was a good thing that this happened. The best way to prove that Blue Lives have always mattered, look at the response when even a single police officer is shot or otherwise killed.
When a police officer gets shot, here's what's NOT going to happen:
* Media outlets diving into the officer's history, to see if his background justified him getting shot.
* Law enforcement officials protecting the identity of the shooter.
* A community circling the wagons around the shooter.
* A prosecution team that will poison the well so that an indictment won't be handed down.
* People almost everywhere blaming the cop for his getting shot.
* An investigation that moves at a snail's pace.
* Alternately, a quickie investigation that only serves to fit a pre-prepared narrative.
* A look into what really happened ONLY after compelling, air tight video of the shooting is released.
* The shooting victim's treatment as "oh well, stuff happens."
* Video footage of the shooting victim's demise, dominating the news cycle and being aired repeatedly.
* Picture after picture of the police officer's bloodied and bullet-ridden body flooding social media.
You see, when a police officer is killed, people will pursue the shooter to the very gates of Hell until the officer's family sees justice. Blue Lives have always mattered.
Wait. Scratch that. There is ONE exception to the rule that Blue Lives have always mattered. And that exception?
When police retaliate against one of their own for daring to cross the Thin Blue Line, then, suddenly, Blue Lives don't matter as much. It was demonstrated in the case of NYPD detective Frank Serpico, who became a whisteblower against corruption in the New York Police Department. Side note, I should check out the movie based on his life.
Then there's this (and this is only the tip of the iceberg):
All of these law enforcement officials were trying to do the right thing, and they faced retaliation from their peers and superiors. Recently, police officers have been shot, and the narrative (of course) is that these shootings are the result of Black Lives Matter activists. Rushes to judgment are made, suspects are incorrectly identified, and mayhem ensues. The fact of the matter is that there is a chasm of mistrust between law enforcement and the people that they have been sworn to protect. We have heard talk about training police officers, and saw videos about how to respond when pulled over by the police, but very few people are addressing one key component.
If you want to rebuild trust between the police and the community, you MUST tear down the Blue Wall of Silence and allow the good police officers to cross the Thin Blue Line to weed out the worst in their ranks. They should be able to do so without fear of retaliation from their peers or superiors. A good cop shouldn't have to worry about a call for backup or assistance suddenly going unanswered, or "delayed."
"But Ty", I hear you saying, because frankly, you ask too many questions, "...police overall are good, and the good ones shouldn't be lumped in with the bad ones."
And that is true. And unfortunately, it's a luxury that isn't extended to groups like "Black Lives Matter." Whenever someone in a Black Lives Matter rally/march/protest says or does something stupid, the entire movement is blamed. The entire cause is denigrated because of the actions of some outliers, who may be more interested in being opportunistic slugs than being agents of change.
Imagine if that logic were extended to the Men and Women in Blue:
- Under the power and authority of his badge, Daniel Holtzclaw raped women he knew couldn't fight back.
- Under the power and authority of his badge, Joe Gliniewicz stole from youth police organizations and planned to murder those investigating him.
- Under the power and authority of his badge, Jason Van Dyke emptied his weapon into the body of Laquan McDonald, and lied about the encounter.
- Under the power and authority of his badge, Jon Burge led a campaign of systematic torture that led to scores of individuals confessing to crimes they did not commit.
- Police officer Anthony Abbate tried to hide behind the Blue Wall of Silence, which attempted to protect him, after he savagely and brutally attacked a female bartender.
- And then there's this:
WHY DOES SHE STILL HAVE A JOB?!
Do any of these law enforcement abominations prevent anyone from supporting something like "Blue Lives Matter"?
If not, then why let outliers within the Black Lives Matter movement shape your perspective of the movement and its purpose as a whole? Privilege doesn't allow for the "lone wolf" scenario to be extended to anyone who isn't white, male, and Christian.
Blue Lives have always mattered, and it does a grave injustice to everyone involved to pretend that it doesn't especially when this rallying cry is used to undermine legitimate aims to call for accountability and equal protection under the law in regards to police officers. We need everyone, from the President of the United States on down, to demand that police officers who violate the public trust are immediately fired and prosecuted. And when they are sued, put their pensions and salaries on the line. Let them put some financial skin in the game, and watch complaints plummet.
Encourage police officers to cross the Thin Blue Line. Smash the Blue Wall of Silence. Stop rushing to judgment and accepting the "official" police narrative until the investigations are complete. Hold the bad officers accountable immediately.
These are several ways to rebuild the broken trust that exists between police and citizens. And these things must be done YESTERDAY.