Following in Louisiana’s footsteps, Congress will consider a piece of legislation called the Blue Lives Matter Act. But its blatant perversion of the Black Lives Matter Movement — a title with an unstated but understood “Too” — instead, widens the already ginormous disparity by officially declaring Police Lives Matter More.
Should the legislation pass — which appears increasingly likely given the current fictitious narrative of a war on cops in America — killing a police officer would be considered a hate crime.
Public ire over hundreds of civilians killed each year by police reached another boiling point recently after the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota — and the near certainty the officers responsible won’t face any disciplinary or punitive consequences.
It also seems a near certainty this pattern of police killing civilians — often black men — with impunity led to the targeted but random murders of five police in Dallas during an otherwise peaceful protest over the latter. When three officers were killed in Baton Rouge over the weekend under more questionable circumstances, police and their supporters opportunely jumped at the chance to declare the war on police a fact — though evidence strongly suggests otherwise.
Though police brutality activists and virtually everyone condemned those killings and repeated the call to end the violence from both sides, the deaths nevertheless laid further groundwork for the Blue Lives Matter Act — legislation to codify what the public already knows: Police lives matter more.
“Since the Baton Rouge tragedy, we’ve received calls and messages from around the country from individuals asking about the Blue Lives Matter Act, and we’re confident more members of Congress will be co-sponsoring the legislation as soon as they can when Congress reconvenes,” asserted Kyle Huwa, spokesman for Rep. Ken Buck, who authored the bill, Reutersreported.
Introduced in March by 16 House Republicans, the bill has yet to receive bipartisan support. Congress reconvenes in September following summer break.
Louisiana’s model for the Blue Lives Matter Act codifies both an appeal to emotion as well as to authority, but utterly fails any test of fact when examining the basis for actual hate crimes — basing legislation on the American penchant for blindly worshiping those in uniform.
Congress currently defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation” — whole categories of people who have faced legitimate, historical, and systematic bigotry.
This simply isn’t the case for police. In fact, the FBI’s own report on police officer killings exposes the war on cops narrative as pure alarmist propaganda. According to the FBI:
“Preliminary statistics … show that 41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2015. This is a decrease of almost 20 percent when compared with the 51 officers killed in 2014.”
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Obviously, that number will rise this year, and though targeted violence against police should never be condoned, updating current hate crime legislation to include law enforcement is hubris of the highest order when compared to the historic struggles the groups listed have faced.
As Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, explained, the recent dramatic declines in law enforcement deaths and lack of historic persecution of police wouldn’t warrant such sweeping changes.
“We should not use this as a moment to dilute the unique problem of long standing discrimination and violence directed toward groups on the basis of race in our country,” Clarke warned.
While sharp declines in felonious deaths prove the propagandic nature of proposing a dramatic shift in hate crime legislation, the opposite has been true for civilians.
A record number of civilians met their fate at the hands of police in 2015 — using the Fraternal Order of Police’ and House Republicans’ twisted logic, perhaps killing civilians should be a hate crime. For all intents and purposes, there appears to be a war on people. And considering highly suspect killings by police only rarely result in punishment of any kind — the failure to indict yet another officer in the death of Freddie Gray on Monday comes to mind — the wholesale slaughter of civilians has essentially been deemed acceptable
Additionally, the Blue Lives Matter Act solidifies that shield of safety and impunity for police rather than addressing the underlying issue of brutality by law enforcement. Without drastic reform of policing in the United States, particularly boot-camp style training such as the “Bulletproof Warrior” program the officer who shot Philando Castile received, an actual war on cops remains a distinct possibility.
Without rectifying police violence and its parallel impunity — and, instead, shielding that violence through arrogant legislation like the Blue Lives Matter Act — attacks on police will likely escalate.
As Matt Agorist previously noted for The Free Thought Project’s report on Louisiana’s version of the legislation, “Police officer is a job, an occupation [..]
“What this law will eventually do is make police officers an elite protected class for no other reason than their choice to become a police officer.”
Cops are public servants. Period. Their choice of job shouldn’t come with specialized, horribly flawed, protectionist categorization. Police choose that occupation — race and ethnicity obviously are happenstance of birth. Placing specialized protections for occupation in legislation defies logic.
The Blue Lives Matter Act also has rather terrifying implications should the legislation ultimately extend beyond killing to any act of ‘violence.’ A person reflexively pulling away from an arresting officer or attempting to defend against a police beating can be charged with assault — even if the defense is valid, doesn’t involve a weapon, and wouldn’t be considered assault were the officer a civilian.
As Agorist warned, an officer could simply add in their report the arrestee didn’t like cops, and — poof — it’s a hate crime.
If law enforcement officers want to actualize a war against them, the Blue Lives Matter Act will do just that. If, however, they want to improve relations with the communities they’re putatively tasked with protecting, they would best be advised to stop viewing the public as the enemy — and stop demanding respect they have yet to earn.