Baton Rouge, LA -- Last year, in an outburst of pure insanity, the National Fraternal Order of Police, a union representing over 300,000 officers, called for cops to be included under Congress's hate crimes statute. This demand has now materialized into actual legislation about to be signed into law in Louisiana.
Bill HB 953, which passed the legislature this week, is going to change the state’s hate crime law to include law enforcement and firefighters.
A hate crime is defined by Congress 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.”
The bill, which is based solely on appeal to emotion, and not in fact, changes the state’s hate crime provision to say:
It shall be unlawful for any person to select the victim of the following offenses against person and property because of actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property or because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization, or because of actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer or firefighter …
Speaking out in support of this type of legislation last year, Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the union, said-
"Nine deliberate murders of law enforcement officers in space of a single year also deserves Congressional attention!"
While we certainly aren't discounting the police officers killed while on duty, the sheer pompousness it takes to assume such a higher than thou attitude is stunning. The last few years have been the safest years on record since the days of alcohol prohibition for police officers.
In fact, last year happened to one of the safest years on record for law enforcement according to the FBI's own data.
Consequently, 2015 was one of the deadliest years on record for citizens being killed by police. What about those lives? Do any of those lives matter?
Rep. Lance Harris advocated for the bill by falsely claiming that police are under attack. Drawing short on evidence for his assertion, Harris referenced the two tragic deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
It is undeniable that police officers have been killed in the line of duty, some of them ambush style, but adding some arbitrary law to the books to define this killing as an act of hate, won't change anything. In fact, it would likely add to the divide by showing the citizens that the state now actually considers that police lives matter more.
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This legislation will treat any perceived 'crime' against police officers as an act of hate and add another 5 years to a person's sentence because of it.
Police officer is a job, an occupation. Hate crimes are in place to protect race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, not occupations.
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. By this logic, private security officers should also be protected under hate crime laws as they are the targets of murder far more often than police officers.
Pandora's box has already been opened.
“Hate crime legislation was created because certain crimes – beating someone for being openly gay or wearing a turban … – are meant to strike fear in the heart of a community,” Anna Merlan writes for Jezebel. “[But] being a law enforcement officer is a job, not a fixed, immutable identity like race, gender or sexual orientation: the things at the center of actual hate crimes.”
Aside from the glaring special privilege this law grants to police, it will also serve to undermine the protections for those who actually endure ethnic, racial, and gender-based violence because of who they are.
Laws with the intention of granting special privilege to the enforcement class in American are already taking hold. For example, a newly enacted Oklahoma statute makes any “assault” on an off-duty law enforcement officer a felony even if acting in self-defense against a drunken off-duty cop in a bar fight. Any physical contact with the anointed law enforcement officer can now be considered a felony.
What does it say to the mother of a physically abused 4-year-old boy who watches someone who assaults a cop get a harsher sentence than the person who assaulted her son because of the mere fact that the person they assaulted carries a badge?
Aside from the horribly flawed logic behind granting a privileged class status to public servants, the idea of treating assault on a police officer as a hate crime has frightening implications considering how often people are charged with assault on a police officer.
When someone, guilty or innocent, attempts to pull away from cops trying to arrest them, or protect themselves from a police assault, they are almost alway charged with resisting arrest often followed by assault on an officer.
The officer need only state in his report that the subject resisted because he didn't like cops -- now a hate crime has been committed and the person is facing an additional 5-year sentence.
By calling this legislation the "Blue Lives Matter" bill, police are revealing their hand and the real impetus behind such an offensive act. They are apparently seeing the calls for greater police accountability, increasingly spawning across the nation, as attacks on the police in general.
As a defensive mechanism, the ruling class is seeking to establish a clear blue line in the sand that cannot be crossed without it being interpreted as an attack on the very fabric of the status quo. Logic and reason -- be damned.