Comparison of the Struggle Movement Black Lives Matter and the Blue Lives Matter
It has been almost five years since the fatal shooting of a man named Michael Brown. Five years since fire was kindled underneath the cauldron of the scorching basin to a call of justice extruding from the black community. The incident ended the life of Brown, a young man at the age of 18 just beginning his first steps into adulthood, halted by a series of unfortunate events or so some described them to be. Others called these events targeted, called them unjust, and called for justice in the wake of the waves that came crashing down from the moment the young black man’s body hit the pavement. From the recedes of these crashing waves emerged a movement declared Black Lives Matter. A movement centered around a desperate search for justice in a country where that justice, for those of color, seems to be lost especially when concerning law enforcement and the justice system.
Similarly, during this time another movement was being synthesized to create a change that would place this new Black Lives Matter movement into a depreciation of value. In 2014, two police officers, named Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were sitting idly in their squad car when they were ambushed and shot dead where they sat. In the aftermath of this loss, a band of law enforcement officers found the Blue Lives Matter movement. This movement could be argued to be out of justifiable rationale, but in reality, this movement infringes on regular citizens and their fundamental rights. It is redundant considering the magnitude of laws put into place to protect police officers along with diminishing the importance and significance of a hate crime.
The Blue Lives Matter movement has brought forth a legal change within several states, this change in law has dramatized and leaped to boundaries that truly cripple the rights of any regular citizen. For example, in 2016 Louisiana’s governor, John Bel Edwards signed into law that the action of targeting a police officer would be prosecuted as a hate crime. Not long after this law went into effect, a man was arrested and charged with a hate crime while being held in jail for other infractions. This man who was arrested for unrelated charges was yelling sexiest as well as racial remarks towards the officers, because of these obscurities the man was slapped with hate crime charges. The ACLU was onto this incident in moments stating that, “We hope that the DA will agree criminalizing speech represents a further violation of rights and protects no one”. Although spouting such awful rhetoric is very uneducated and not excusable it is protected under the first amendment which must be upheld and respected by all the laws that are put into place by the federal government as well as state governments.
Not only does labeling these actions towards an officer as a hate crime hurt lawful citizens’ rights, it takes away from the true meaning and pain behind what a hate crime is. It defers the agony that has been felt by generations of minorities as well as multitudes of other people including women, religions, and those of the LGBTQ community. These groups have faced years of prosecution and have had to fight rigorously for every step towards justice oftentimes finding justice was never truly achieved. A perfect example of this is the story of Emmett Till, a young African American boy who was brutally murdered in 1955. The 14-year-old boy was kidnapped from his great-uncle’s house to be beaten, mutilated, and then sunk into a nearby river. Despite the stacks of evidence against the accused men, they were acquitted by an entirely white jury. His mother mourned for her son, the true pain she was feeling caused her to crumble at her son’s casket crying out, “Lord, take my soul”. Many years after Emmett Till was laid to rest the two men accused of his murder admitted to the killing and were never held accountable for the racial injustice they had created. To compare the very limited and very few targeted acts towards police officers to the years of cases like Emmett Till’s is almost insulting to the turmoil felt by these true hate crimes.
Furthermore, police officers already have protections for targeted and untargeted attacks against them. There are magnitudes of protective laws that help keep officers safe that are on and off duty. Citizens that harm officers are held under harsher consequences as compared to regular citizens. For instance, say a man harms another man over a dispute while discussing the price of a car. The man who harmed the other would be charged with assault. Whereas, if the very same man were to hit an officer while disputing a traffic ticket, the man would face a charge of aggravated assault which holds a much higher punishment and fines. Certain states have passed laws that label the targeted killing of an off-duty police officer a capital crime. Police officers are not the only ones protected by these laws either, firemen among EMTs and other public service workers fall under this category of protection.
On top of these laws, police officers receive further judicial advantages but these limitations protect them from prosecution. They have a set of laws called The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, much simpler referred to as LEOBR. This bill of rights protects them from being questioned on many activities and actions they may engage in while on the job. Overall, this would keep them from facing prosecution for using excessive force to take down a subject, thus giving them a further advantage over minorities and others who face hate crimes within the United States. This further proves how unnecessary the Blue Lives Matter movement is when there are increasingly higher standards to protecting every single possible action a law enforcement officer could face.
Taking everything into account, when you compare the struggles of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Blue Lives Matter movement the conclusion is clear. There is true injustice when one looks towards the Black Lives Matter movement, there is a change that needs to take place within the law. The Blue Lives Matter movement fights for this as well, but they already have this justice. They have a plethora of laws keeping them harbored from injustice and are well respected throughout their communities, to say that they need this great movement to bring forth earth-shattering change is gratuitous. Furthermore, this cry for change is diminishing of what the true pain of injustice means, the pain endured by those who’s lives are affected daily by racism, sexism, and true hate. Police do not experience this kind of treatment and comparing them further pushes minorities’ faces into the dirt that they are plundered into daily. On top of these disputes, the changes in legislation, taking place as a result of the Blue Lives Matter movement, has wounded citizens’ first amendments rights. These laws have already caused harm and could possibly cause further harm to citizens more profoundly if these arguments are not properly being taken into consideration. Conclusively, the Blue Lives Matter movement is repetitive, a repetition of unneeded change. It compromises citizens’ first amendments rights and curtails the importance of a hate crime and what it genuinely means to face one.
- “ACLU of Louisiana Statement on ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Arrest in New Orleans.” ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union , 8 Sept. 2016, https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/aclu-louisiana-statement-blue-lives-matter-arrest-new-orleans.
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- Brown, DeNeen L. “Emmett Till’s Mother Opened His Casket and Sparked the Civil Rights Movement.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 July 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/07/12/emmett-tills-mother-opened-his-casket-and-sparked-the-civil-rights-movement/.
- Miller, Ryan W. “Black Lives Matter: A Primer on What It Is and What It Stands For.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 8 Aug. 2016, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/07/11/black-lives-matter-what-what-stands/86963292/.
- White, Daniel. “Louisiana Gov. Signs ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Law.” Time, Time, 27 May 2016, https://time.com/4350917/louisiana-blue-lives-matter-law-hate-crime/.
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