I am all for protecting the men and women in uniform who protect us. Law Enforcement should NEVER be targeted for violence. Doing so is tantamount to an act of war against police everywhere. Yet, a recent movement for so-called Blue Lives Matter laws may be a huge step backward for police/public relations in America. Texas just became the latest state to pass a Blue Lives Matter bill and frankly, it is nonsense on two fronts.
Opinion by C J Oakes
If a law is not sensible, the law is doomed to failure, both in the eyes of the public and possibly the courts. The recent foray into nonsense by the Texas Legislature is its Blue Lives Matter bill. Governor Greg Abbot, a former Attorney General not only supports the bill but asked for it last year, stating that the targeting of police officers should be a hate crime. Sounds good in sound bites.
But anyone who knows the law (like Abbot presumably does) knows that police are already protected under Texas Capital Punishment laws. The law already states that capital homicide, that is, a murder which qualifies for the death penalty, includes any “peace officer or fireman in official duty.” So, law enforcement is covered. What sense would it be then to add a hate crime which carries a lesser sentence of life in prison?
No, this Blue Lives Matter Bill is Politicians Blowing their Own Horn, a horn which sends a divisive message at a time when unity is sorely needed.
Which brings us to the second point of nonsense.
To be successful in their mission, police must have the support of the public. History bears this out. Although implementing stronger laws to protect law enforcement officials and judges is a good thing, calling them Blue Lives Matter Laws should be an affront to anyone other than law enforcement. Why?
The “Lives Matter” movement, stemming from abusive treatment by police on people of color in America, is divisive. Police around the country have decried the movement as divisive and in its wake, “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” movements have formed. Bottom line, all are divisive.
Hence, a law which propounds to be a “Blue Lives Matter” Bill at a time when police abuse continues and is now officially protected and sanctioned will only add more fuel to an already divided populace. At a time when Governor Abbot should be working to unite Texas, when President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should be seeking to unite America, all are creating further divisions.
Everyone in America knows the quote above and a few know its origin (John Dickinson) and background (Aesop, the Bible, Patrick Henry). What most fail to grasp is that when George W. Bush said that if a person is not with us they are against us in speaking of the terrorist act of 911, he was describing unity. Strangely, whereas many on the liberal side of politics chafed at his words, it is today those on the conservative side which are opposing the idea. They are doing so by fostering division between groups, especially between law enforcement and the public.
This is born out by the use of the Blue Lives Matter slogan in support of additional, needless bills to protect a group which already has maximum legal protection. Such laws only add to the division in the nation at a time when we need unity more than ever. Lest we fall.
The choice is ours. These laws are political. These laws do nothing to protect police officers and only serve to weaken ties to law enforcement in communities. Shame on the Governors and lawmakers in Louisiana, Texas, and several other states for seeking to divide us. Shame on them.