What does Blue Lives Matter really stand for?

Colin Roberts, Columnist

This week, I have decided to write an article going further in depth on the negative effects of the Blue Lives Matter flag and why its perception is one of a dangerous movement.

As with any such article, I must start with a few disclaimers. In the first place, I should not even be writing this. I am a straight, white male and I am not affected by police brutality, nor the rampart support of police actions by certain communities.

On the flipside, I am in a unique position to write this because I will not suffer any of the repercussions that a woman or person of color might encounter. Threats of violence, or attempts to silence me, will not work due to my ethnicity and gender. I cannot be intimidated, attacked or stalked, as I am a well-connected, pro-gun, anti-gunsafe liberal.

Not only that, but as a white male, if for some reason the police were to unfairly target me for what I say in this article, it will actually boost my career and probably win me recognition in certain circles. Because of these discouraging but true reasons, I will address this issue until someone more qualified does.

My second disclaimer is that I do in fact support the police. I grew up in post 9/11 America, and for white people during that time the police were the only protection if Bin Laden and his cronies appeared on the streets.

But, this issue with Blue Lives Matters has never been about whether someone supports or does not support the police. In fact, if Blue Lives Matters had just been a movement some army wife named Sharon started on Facebook, it would be mostly harmless.

But, Blue Lives Matter did not just spring forth from the void. It appeared in direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement, because certain members of certain communities perceived a “war on police.”

This is incredibly dangerous thinking. First of all, if there is a “war on police,” then the Waller Country Sheriffs responsible for detaining Sandra Bland and the Cleveland officers who shot Tamir Rice need to be tried for war crimes in a military tribunal. This is what happens when you execute captured combatants without a trial or shoot unarmed civilians during wartime.

Second of all, if there is a “war on police,” the police need to be removed from the areas in the United States where the war is taking place and replaced with the National Guard. Though the police do have access to AR-15’s, MATV’s, drones and other military-grade hardware thanks to the 1033 program, they are not a wartime unit nor should they be equipped like one.

But, there is no war on police, is there? The numbers and data, whether you are on CNN or Fox News, indicates that police deaths are statistically fluctuating by only a few points year to year. In comparison, 40% of unarmed people killed in 2015 were black men, even though black men make up just 6% of the nation’s population. These numbers are similar in subsequent years.

This is not a controversial statement. This is not “Fake News” propagated by the Fourth Estate at the behest of Hillary Clinton. This is simply data supplied by law enforcement agencies.

Which brings me back to my point that the Blue Lives Matter’s movement is dangerous. People who fly the Blue Lives Matter’s flag are flying an updated version of the Rebel flag. I know both flags represent heritage, pride and values, but that does not matter. To the people you share this country with, namely people of color, the Blue Lives Matter flag and the Rebel flag represent a dangerous trend of ignoring their voices and dictating which neighborhoods will not blink an eye at their deaths.

Again people will claim that is not what Blue Lives Matters is about. And again, had this movement started randomly, they might be right. But Blue Lives started after Black Lives started, they could not even by bothered to change the name. When people say Black Lives Matter, the reply should be “yes, they do.” Instead of acknowledging faults and addressing them, a counter-movement in support of police began. It was a way to righteously ignore people of color and frame the issues through simple “good guys vs. bad guys” rhetoric.

I support police. But, at the same time, I want an end to the police brutality that goes unaccounted for. I also want people who support Blue Lives Matter to be honest with themselves; your neighbors pleaded for you to listen and you chose to ignore them. You are free to do this. And the next generations will be free to remember you as racists.

Lord knows how much you hate that word, it is unfair, is it not? But history has a habit of erasing intentions and only remembering consequences. Dwell on that the next time you are tempted to fly the Rebel or Blue Lives Matters flag.

Colin Roberts is a senior English major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].