Federal Blue Lives Matter Laws? Nope, Nope, Nope
February 14, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Fault Lines contributor Sam Bieler examined some of the executive orders our sitting President issued regarding criminal justice. His takeaway was the orders were much ado about nothing. Here’s his comment regarding “Order Three.”
The third order, protecting law enforcement officers, is probably the blandest of the bunch. Section two of the order commands the Attorney General to coordinate state, federal, and local agencies to prevent violence against officers, prosecute that violence, and review existing programs designed to prevent violence.
It sounds bland, until you actually take a look at the Executive Order and review what it says. If you take a closer look at the text, the President is attempting to legislate federal hate crime laws for police officers.
Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the executive branch to:
(c) pursue appropriate legislation, consistent with the Constitution’s regime of limited and enumerated Federal powers, that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers. (Emphasis added.)
If that wording doesn’t trouble you, then welcome to Fault Lines. It’s good to have you on as a new reader. What our President is attempting to do with this executive order, in an attempt to show off his “law and order” chops, is essentially create a Federal Blue Lives Matter bill that will enhance penalties against anyone who commits a crime against police officers.
Fault Lines started covering the “Blue Lives Matter” legislation back in March of 2016 when Colorado Representative Ken Buck attempted to pass H.R. 4760, the “Blue Lives Matter Act.” It was a slap in the face for “hate crimes,” and tacked on a needless sentence enhancement in an attempt to appease cops who think the public is waging war on their jobs.
In order for you to understand why the “Blue Lives Matter” bills are toxic pieces of legislation, you need to understand why hate crime enhancements exist. When someone commits a crime against a minority community, whether race, sexual orientation, or any group with what society deems an “immutable characteristic,” legislators tend to recognize that the crime has lasting impacts on the community as a whole.
If a gay kid gets dragged four miles to his death by a pickup truck, or a black guy is hanged with a sign containing racial slurs around his neck, we acknowledge that others with the same immutable characteristics might be harmed in some fashion. They may not want to come out, or they may avoid traditionally white neighborhoods for fear of suffering the same fate. For better or worse, we tell people in these circumstances our courts feel their pain and will punish the offender appropriately.
Being a cop isn’t an immutable characteristic. You have a say in whether you put on a badge and service belt. You take exams and undergo physicals to become a police officer. Every day you are a police officer, it’s a voluntary choice you make. If you don’t want to be a cop anymore, you can simply retire. As contributor Greg Prickett has said repeatedly, “We can always find more officers.”
The Blue Lives Matter bills were introduced at the federal level and state levels in an attempt to appease those who felt their lives were at greater risk following the Ferguson and Baltimore protests, as well as the increased shootings of cops who were on or off duty. Each was a miserable failure. Louisiana managed to pass one with minimal effect. The best success it can muster is one misguided Louisiana Police Chief who thinks it means he slap bigger charges on people if they resist arrest.
“Blue Lives Matter” bills are a failure. Prosecuting them is a waste of time and money. And the Executive Branch, our Commander in Chief, quietly gave congress the ability to pursue his “law-and-order” agenda by pushing the “Blue Lives Matter” agenda through via executive fiat. This is not bland material, it’s abuse of the highest office in the land to make sure our nation’s law enforcement gets “bigly” protection from the mean nasty public that raises a fuss every time an innocent citizen is beaten, tased, or robbed.
If the president wants to walk the line of criminal justice reform, the last place he needs to start is by pandering to police unions and those who worship the authority of the men and women who wield a badge, gun, and the state sanctioned license to kill. Start by acknowledging police work is most likely a thankless job many take on in an effort to make their communities safer. Placing them at the front of the Oppression Olympics* by making them a protected class worthy of hate crime enhancements is only going to draw the ire of those who actually suffer from hate crimes.
*Thanks to Dave Rubin for that term.