Yes, Virginia, Blue Lives Matter, Too
Sept. 4, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — We’ve talked a bit about #RedLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter, and we’ve talked about the accountability required when a peace officer takes a life. I strongly believe that officers need to be held to the same standards as citizens, that the mere fact that they are officers does not give them a pass, a literal get out of jail free card.
By the same token, I have been remiss in addressing the other side of the equation. #BlueLivesMatter too. Although there are some in society who decry the police and would just as soon do away with them, that’s not a realistic option. Police do maintain a thin blue line between society and evil that exists in the world.
And the job is dangerous. Some people hate police because of the badge and the uniform. That’s apparently why Deputy Darren Goforth was brutally murdered in Houston, for no other reason than his job.
If you want to know why police officers focus on the First Rule of Policing, Goforth provides the explanation. He didn’t have a chance. Not a single opportunity to defend himself, and he was targeted because he wore blue. The job makes officers paranoid, and in many ways, justifiably so.
My family knows that I will not sit with my back to the door, and that I’ll have one of them move if necessary for me to face the door. I’m always on the outside part of a restaurant booth. They know that if something happened, and I had to take some form of action, that they were to put as much distance between them and me as possible. And after over 20 years of being a cop, I still carry a gun every day. I hate going to the courthouse because I don’t like not wearing a gun. But as a lawyer, I am supposed to use words, not force.
We all know that there are those out there who will not hesitate to take a police life, often brutally and cowardly, as was done by Shannon J. Miles, an apparently mentally unstable individual who has been held in a state mental hospital after a previous incident where Miles savagely beat another man in a homeless shelter. Miles was not prosecuted in that incident.
At the same time, you have police officers being attacked all over the country. Louisiana Trooper Steven Vincent was killed by a stranded motorist. Illinois Lt. Charles Gliniewicz was killed by three unknown men who were acting suspiciously, and who are still at large. NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were brutally murdered by Ismaaiyl Brinsley before he committed suicide. Las Vegas officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were assassinated by Jerad and Amanda Miller, two loony-tunes who were too radical for the idiots at the Cliven Bundy ranch drama.
Then you have professional agitators like Louis Farrakhan, who call for the black community to rise up against whites and police in his “Justice or Else” tour. You have Black Lives Matter groups calling for the death of police officers. In turn, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman slammed the Black Lives Matter group for their “out of control rhetoric.”
Both sides are righteously indignant. The police because they represent the government and are here to protect society, and the minority/rights groups because the police have become unaccountable to the public. Both sides need to talk to the other, but neither side trusts the other side, because of the various wars being waged, against drugs, against crime, etc.
We’ve got to start talking to each other and come to some sort of understanding. To have a dialogue where everyone’s concerns can be addressed, where all sides are accountable for their actions. I don’t know how to get there, but I know where we need to be, and the way we are handling it thus far isn’t going to work.
So today, as Deputy Goforth is laid to rest, I’m going to wear blue, in honor of the officers who have been brutally gunned down, and I’m going to wear red, in honor of red lives. I’m going to remember that not only red, blue, and black lives matter, but that #AllLivesMatter, and hope that others remember it too.
Main image via Flickr/D.C.Atty