So, Do Cop Lives Matter Too?

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July 18, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013

 

cops matter stripes

Can we really rank lives in order of importance or value? Should we?

 

As this long, brutal, violent and painful summer continues to unfold and trust in our judicial system continues to fray if not tear altogether, I wonder, do enough people also believe that cop lives matter?

In just the past 8 weeks there have been over 12 police killed with another dozen at least  wounded in places like Dallas, Baton Rouge, Newark, Charlotte and New York City.

Police officers who were veterans, who were rookies, who just got married, who just got engaged, an Iraqi veteran who did three tours and saved the lives of 2 of his platoon, a first generation cop who was the son of immigrants, a cop who was the fourth generation of his family to serve.

All proud to protect and serve. All proud to wear the blue.

cops matter family

Too many images of families hugging after they’ve lost one of their own to a senseless shooting.

 

Wait a moment you say, what about the fatal shooting of so many of our black men? Did they not have families, hopes and dreams? Were they not proud of who they were, whom they wanted to become?

I can only assume yes. Of course.

And this all only adds to the continuing tragedy playing out in the streets of our cities across America.

cops matter AS family

The pain is never less because of the color of one’s skin

 

Black Lives Matter, the activist organization that has been most high profile in its response and protests to what they and many other see as unjustified killings by white cops of black youths assert their message is clear-Blacks, young and old, male and female, straight and gay (and queer and trans as their co-founder pointed out recently) all matter. And they argue, it’s not just about shootings of blacks. They assert that president Obama has not prioritized the needs of black women and they matter as much as white women in the workplace for example.

But they firmly assert that the unjustified killings of blacks by cops diminish the value of blacks everywhere. They argue that the message from cops is that blacks are valued less than certainly white suspects.

Essentially, “they” and consequently, “their” deaths don’t matter.

cops matter BLM

A demand for justice and some claim, a threat

 

Alicia Garza one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter has repeatedly made the point that by saying “Black Lives Matter” it doesn’t necessarily imply that whites or white cops for that matter, don’t matter. It’s just that, as she says, “They aren’t shooting whites, are they?”

Yet, “they” are, aren’t “they?”

While reports do vary, I referenced over 12 sites that supposedly track such figures and I contacted someone I know in a police union in a large metro area.

The numbers I found ranged from 635 to 1,150 in just 2016 so far.

The majority of those shot and fatally wounded of these numbers?

White males between the age of 21-45.

Is this a good thing? Does it make the other shootings okay or somehow soften the blow or render the outrage that many, including the Black Lives Matter activists, feel?

No. of course not.

Does the fact that 835 people have been killed by gunfire in Chicago in the last 18 months alone, that the overwhelming majority of those victims are black youths, and that all of them died at the hands of another civilian, most often another black civilian, somehow render the arguments of Black Lives Matter irrelevant as some have claimed?

cops matter chicago

30 homicides in just over 3 days-Welcome to Chicagoland.

 

No, of course not.

It’s just that when I try and find how many police have been killed or wounded in cowardly, murderous ambush attacks I mostly come up with numbers of civilians that police have shot. Rightfully or wrongfully. No matter what search terms I use.

I shared this with my police union contact. He said that finding out the exact numbers of police shot and killed or wounded in the line of duty is often under-reported.

Police morale, he said.

On the other hand, activists against police brutality and unjustified shootings claim that the numbers reported to the public are much less than the actual number.

Corruption and protecting their own, they say.

And on and on we go.

Critics and opponents of Black Lives Matter claim they have evidence that there are terrorist elements in their group and that they are behind the recent ambush killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

And worse, these folks say, Black Lives Matter members are celebrating the deaths of these police officers and demanding that more die in retribution for the black youths that were shot by cops.

cops matter dallas

Do two wrongs somehow make a right?

 

In fact, they recently submitted a petition to the White House to have Black Lives Matter formally labeled a terrorist group. This was soundly and swiftly denied.

Look, this is complicated stuff in many ways. Race relations in America don’t seem to be getting any better some 153 years after the Emancipation proclamation do they?

In fact, for whatever reason, it seems we are more divided along racial lines than ever before not less. Despite (inspite of as his critics assert) having an historical first-a Black President in the White House.

So, where do we go from here? Can we, will we, ever be able to rise above our basic differences and unite on common ground?

Normally, I’d say yes. In fact, for years I have said yes.

Today, I am less certain.

About a week ago, a friend of mine essentially made the rather simple but profound argument that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” That blacks killing innocent white cops in ambush attacks were no better than cops who shoot and unjustifiably kill black youths.

The pushback to her facebook comments was fast and furious.

Responses mostly hit upon two themes. You are white and can never understand. And maybe this is what it will take for cops to stop killing blacks.

The chasm has never seemed so wide between black and white Americans.

The irony here is that my friend, Kathy, has devoted her adult life to progressive policies aimed at equality, justice and compassion for people of all and no color. It’s just she felt pain over the police that died just as she did over the black youths that died.

But sadly, these days, these brutal, violent, hot summer days, it seems only one thing counts-the color of your skin and not the content of your character.

cops matter mlk

Eight years ago so many felt we had come so far.

Today, it seems we stand in a racially divided quicksand.

Maybe that is our only commonality-we really do need to help each other find a way out before we all collectively sink.

Let me offer a simple sentiment with no implications or disrespect-

We, all of us, matter. And the sooner we start focusing on solving that which threatens to tear us apart even further the better.

Because time really is running out.

celebrity times Mischa

I feel the pain of a nation divided. It keeps getting worse not better. There’s not enough wine on my yacht to numb my pain. Only one thing to do-Oh, Cabana Boy, order more wine. Stat.

 

 

bengal-tiger-why-matter_7341043

 

 

 

 

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56 thoughts on “So, Do Cop Lives Matter Too?

  1. Alicia H says:

    Great post! You know I find this whole “whose lives matter more?” a bunch of nonsense. You are right we all matter. So as you say let’s stop focusing on that and focus on fixing the problems that divide us!

  2. Aaron J says:

    I agree with the slain cop’s sister in baton rouge-It’s getting to the point that no lives matter. scary, scary stuff!

  3. Beckett D says:

    Great post. Not an easy subject but you handle it well. I pray the senseless killing from all sides stops soon.

  4. Marsha M says:

    Shooting police officers is not the way to achieve anything. Better solutions are needed quickly.

  5. Dustin H. says:

    I think what gave rise to this BLM (which I thought referenced the Bureau of Land Management when I first heard it…and wondered why they’re interested in police shootings), is not necessarily cops are killing blacks, but they’re killing blacks and getting away with it. Of course, this does not stop at the killing of blacks. Police get away with killing whites a lot too…good cases in point being the “worst police shooting he’s ever seen” as referred to by a GBI agent when Caroline Small was murdered by Glynn County officers…no indictment by the DA. Then there was the case of the GSP trooper travelling 95 MPH (not responding to any call) and t-boning a car carring two high school girls…they were both killed, he was not indicted, and was actually later elected as a city councilmemeber. Up until recently, police were also given the opportunity to testify in front of a grand jury with no fear of cross examination, something afforded to no one else.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-police and support all they officers and command staff I know personally within APD. Recently, I believe Fulton DA Paul Howard did the right thing. He did not even seek a grand jury indictment on the APD officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man who the officer “thought” may have committed some thefts from vehicles, instead he charged him out right.

  6. Beckett D says:

    From what I see Black Lives Matter is all about pushing the extreme black agenda and not looking or solutions that help all of us. They are today’s Black Panthers and we don’t need that.

  7. Amber T says:

    If more bloggers were like you we’d actually have civil debates! Fine stuff! And yes, cop lives do matter…a lot!

  8. T. Hogan says:

    Without question cops lives matter, the recent events should not call into question the validity of cops lives or any one else for that matter. Its getting to a point where no lives will matter and getting revenge or making a point will trump all. Though other races are shot and killed by police its the killing of African American that has gained much of the media attention and rightfully so. For many case regardless of race not whether the shootings are justifiable, it has more to do with the actions and if they were preventable by both parties. I know some people follow the rule of thumb as to do as your told by the police, but if you pose no physical threat to officers or others could other policing tactics be used.

    As far as the BLM movement, which none of the recent shooters were apart of, they are wanting justice or even a voice in the matter that has been neglected for many years. Some don’t agree with how they operate, but without the movement where will the information come from? Media, police, government? I think history tells us this will not happen. I for one don’t think the movement has accomplished a great deal, but I would hate to see how these events look without it. I definitely think a lot of non African Americans have a misconception about BLM.

  9. A. Luke-Morgan says:

    Excellent post. We are certainly facing very unsettling times. It is hard to find comfort as adults, let alone trying to provide comfort, security, and encouragement to an adolescent child. In my opinion, what our nation is facing is very much a matter of the heart-too many are filled with hatred and blatant disregard for the value of a life regardless of ethnicity or career. Long gone are the days where the majority of the population had a firm foundation of moral values such as loving thy neighbor, respecting one another, putting others before oneself, and knowing that lying, cheating, and stealing is wrong. Too often today there’s no consensus or equality of what is morally right and wrong. There is also a frequent disregard for laws and authority. So many (often on both sides of the law) think that they are above the law. Our nation has also lost the sound work ethic of generations past. The Information Age has certainly helped fuel the flames. The political leadership has amplified the chasm and further eroded the moral integrity of our nation. As a nation we continue to fear radical Islam terrorist attacks; meanwhile, our nation is increasingly on pace to either crumble or implode as irrationality, disrespect, arrogance, and ignorance overtake our nation.

  10. Briana Holloway says:

    Very interesting post! I work in law enforcement and with everything that is going on with innocent officers being killed and taken away from there from families because they chose to wear blue is sad. I have been in law for almost two years and my job is to protect and serve. Killing innocent officers is not helping anything and it is not does any issues.

    • Amber T says:

      Good for you! I pray you will be safe. All this talk about whose live matters is BS. And killing innocent police officers is NOT the answer.

  11. Chardonnay Watson says:

    I agree with everyone on this post because I understand that everyone’s life does matter, and there is no one that has more power than the other or more influence on the weight of their lives. I pray that we just come to an agreement and move forward to understand what the major issue is in consideration to the violence.

  12. Race relations are by far the worst they’ve ever been in my lifetime, no question. However, denying that race will ALWAYS be a social construct is a bit optimistic. Stereotypes of all races, justifiable and not, are seen and acted upon every single day in every single person’s life.

    Things like this are why I’m reluctant to call my social science degrees useful. We can acknowledge problems like these that do exist, but what can we as social scientists do to fix them? Absolutely nothing. There is no way to infiltrate the minds of every person on earth and eliminate the prejudices that are associated with different races. There is no policy or initiative that can change the thoughts people have associated with races based on their every day experiences.

    Sociological issues like this can’t be solved. We’ll just have to see how it plays out and hope it gets better.

    I’m curious to hear what some people would suggest as viable solutions to these problems.

  13. Sarah Matta says:

    This is very interesting to hear everyone reply to your post. I am very saddened by the shape of our country. We are so very divided and it worries me. I would not have expected our first black president to be in office when our country is in the shape it is. What is wrong? I believe the issue with race is that it is completely made up yet we continue to talk about it. The college I work at just paid, I don’t even want to know how much, money to an “expert” on race and culture. What happened when she came to visit? We all had never felt more upset and separated. She kept saying how important it was to talk about, talk about it, talk about it. Why? Why do we need to constantly point out the differences on the outside? I absolutely love what Morgan Freeman said:

    “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.” Hear what I’m saying?”
    As well as:
    “If you talk about it, it exists. It’s not like it exists and we refuse to talk about it, Making it a bigger issue than it needs to be is the problem here.”

    Stop using outside appearances to refer to people. Would you say “That fat girl over there.” No, so why would we say “That white girl over there/That black girl over there.” My son is biracial (black and white) and I hate that he is going to have to make note of that on forms for his entire life. I look at them and just think they scream, “you must be put into a category because of your skin color (even though it is not biological, it is a social construct).

    Do cops lives matter? I cannot imagine anyone saying no. They put themselves in danger to protect people. Are there some who are “dirty,” yes. I work in higher education and there were recently quite a few people (very important people) who were let go for stealing. There are bad people in every profession.

    Why are we having issues with cops? Unfortunately, I do not believe children are punished as they should be growing up. I do not think that they are taught that they have consequences for their actions. My dad was telling me that if one of his teachers in school would tell his parents that he did something wrong, he would get in trouble before he had time to come up with a story. Today, parents jump to the defense of the child and truly believe their child could do NO wrong. Children are not taught to respect authority.

    This is such a tough topic to discuss. I truly wish we could do away with “race.” Let’s stop talking about it and see what happens.

    • Kershawnda J. says:

      I appreciate your post, and you make some very valid points, but it is our job to talk about race. I think us not taking about race got us to this point.I know that it is an uncomfortable conversation to have, but we have to talk about it now especially in the field of higher education as we prepare students to face the challenges of today’s world. It would be great if people would get to know me before they see my skin color and my natural hair, That my three syllable name would not give folks the automatic impression that I came from a disadvantaged background, or I can’t be trusted to give them the correct information. I completely understand what you are saying and have tried to say that I don’t get treated differently because I am black, but that is not my reality. I think if we could speak more freely about our realities to each other to educate each other, we might be in a better place now.

      All lives matter but all lives do not get treated the same. Most people lump the good with the bad as it has been done with the Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue. It just like lumping all the Muslims into the radical extremist category. I don’t know when this will come to an end or even if there is one person that can lead us in the right direction but I do know that each of us has the responsibility to educate ourselves on the matter. We have to be willing to sit down and talk to each other for understanding. We have to work in our communities to overcome our issues instead of blindly following the issues of other communities.

      • Sarah Matta says:

        I do agree we should be willing and able to talk about race, but I think the more we do the more we make it an issue. I just feel as if it has become the new, I don’t want to say trend but I cannot find another word, to talk about race and ironically the country seems to be becoming more and more segregated. I truly do not feel uncomfortable, but sad when we have these conversations because all we are doing is pointing out the differences. At the end of the day I will NEVER know what it is to be black and you will NEVER know what it is to be white. We could talk about it all day and express our feelings and listen to each other, but we would leave the conversation still knowing that the other would never truly understand what we feel day to day.

        I cannot stand the fact that we have to mark our race on every single form we fill out. A student taking the SAT has to mark a box that labels them and puts them into a certain category. The goal is to be united yet we get put into these categories all of the time. Do you think that marking that box before you take an exam could affect your test scores? You made a comment that you wish people would not think that you could have come from a disadvantaged background/can’t be trusted to give the correct information so you must believe that people think that about you (although it is NOT true, just trying to use that as an example!). This is the reason that section bothers me so badly. Say that student taking the SAT is black and that he or she feels the same way that you do. This is where the self-fulfilling prophecy comes into play. That student has heard this all of their life and if they believe that others have certain expectations for them, sometimes this may lead to them acting a certain way that actually brings those expectations to life.

        I really do hope that eventually race will not be an issue, but it seems as if the country is reversing any progress made. So tough!

    • Ashley Crews says:

      Sarah,
      I believe you would be interested to know that there are other countries in the world that have made it illegal, especially in employment, to identify another individual by their “race” or the color of there skin. I also do not enjoy marking my race as “white” because I am not, my family comes from a lot of different places. What is my nationally? I’d probably need an entire sheet of paper to provide a response, as would the majority of others.

  14. jpmcvaney says:

    I find it sad that we have to discuss whose life matters. I also find it scary that my best friends and relatives that are law enforcement continuously talk about updating their wills when they have particular long or challenging tour. It is really hard to see a world, an America, where so much violence has taken root. Even as a person who loves and studies history as much as policy, I struggle to find the sense of why people do what they are doing in a time period where everyone could be benefiting from our massive technological advancements and enjoying life and all that it gives us. But instead we are focused on taking lives and ruining families, all because we disagree over something or because someone human made a massive error, so all that are similar to that person needs to pay. Doesn’t the different sayings go something like: Treat others as you would like to be treated and if you have nothing good to say then do not speak at all? Seems like something people need to relearn.

  15. Laura Deen says:

    This was a really interesting and good read; however, it is sad that our country has become so divided that we question whose life matters more. All lives matter. I believe the majority of the problem stems from the main stream media and politicians trying to push an agenda. In every profession there is going to be someone that does wrong and puts a black eye on that profession. Yes, police officers are held to a higher standard and should be, but let’s take a look at some statistics.

    My brother in law works for a department that works officer involved shootings in the State of Georgia. He told me that on average there are approximately 2 officer involved shootings in Georgia alone per week. He also informed me that since 2010 there have been nearly 200 unarmed Georgians shot and killed by police. The problem is that people automatically jump to conclusions when they hear the word “unarmed”. If you look at Georgia code 16-3-20 it reads, “a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felon”. Let’s look at a 2012 nationwide statistic. In 2012, according to the Department of Justice, there were approximately 12,197,000 arrests made in the U.S. There were 410 deadly uses of force that same year throughout the nation. These numbers are pretty close and accurate every year throughout the U.S. So, if you take 12,197,000 arrests and 410 are deadly force you get .00003361 percent chance of being killed by police. But if you turn on the news, one would think police are shooting and killing people often around the country. There is no police officer out there that wakes up in the morning and says “I hope I encounter someone today and have to kill them”.

    The problem is no one in our government right now stands up for the police. Too many people jump to conclusions and become a lawyer over night when an event happens such as an officer involved shooting. The only people that truly know the facts are the people involved and the department investigating the incident.

    When a country has politicians that choose to take sides before the facts are out, this can cause major problems and a division between law enforcement and the community which we are seeing right now in larger cities. With all that said, ALL LIVES MATTER. Let’s stop the division.

  16. Kenny. H says:

    I think the whole Black Lives movement is tricky. I think you have individuals who want to stand up and represent those African American Individuals who unjustly treated by a justice system. However, the issues are when a certain segment of your movement justifies the killing of other innocent people, whether it’s a cop or just an innocent citizen who happens to be another color. This leads to individuals who have good intentions getting lumped in with those who are there to cause trouble. I think it’s just human nature to respond to a movement like Black Lives matter in a defensive way. Questions arise “wait why don’t coops lives matter” or “why does Hispanic lives get left out”. The only way to help remedy the situation is communication and understanding.

  17. Kenny. H says:

    I think the whole Black Lives movement is tricky. I think you have individuals who want to stand up and represent those African American Individuals who unjustly treated by a justice system. However, the issues are when a certain segment of your movement justifies the killing of other innocent people, whether it’s a cop or just an innocent citizen who happens to be another color. This leads to individuals who have good intentions getting lumped in with those who are there to cause trouble. I think it’s just human nature to respond to a movement like Black Lives matter in a defensive way. Questions arise such as “wait why don’t coops lives matter” or “why does Hispanic lives get left out”. The only way to help remedy the situation is communication and understanding.

    • E Griffin says:

      Cops lives definitely matter, as black lives and all lives. In the end they (we’re) all human lives right. That’s essential what should matter most. Not to be overshadowed by any particular category of people.

  18. Dave Brannan says:

    I can’t help but wonder about the reasons behind the division in this country that has led to these issues. The question I keep thinking about is not necessarily which side of the fence is more right, but how did we get to this place where the country is so divided in the first place? I have to think that the evolution of social media and the way things are reported contributes to this widening gap. Through social media, people everywhere are exposed to more sources of news and opinions than ever before, many of which have no intention of unbiased reporting.

    In a world where mouse clicks equal advertisement dollars, facts and balanced reporting become less important. The more inflammatory an article, the more likely it is to gain attention from both people using it as support for why their opinion is correct or people hoping to rip holes in that particular stance. Either way, people are divided. Pick a side, there can be no middle ground when you are only interested in 30 seconds of video with no context.

  19. Jessica Weaver says:

    This has been a really painful time–a time to realize how people really feel underneath the civility. One of the the things I have noticed is that a lot of people seem to feel like its fine now to bring out their true suspicions of each other–that if we are different races, we don’t care if the other gets shot in the street for no reason. One of the things the BLM movement has done is start bringing these feelings to the surface, and I suppose it is no wonder, then, how ugly it all looks–because what is underneath, what was being hidden, is ugly. It is a lot of fear and distrust, which even when it is not expressed in violence still divides our communities in everyday terms–where we shop, where we buy our homes, the clothes we wear and the music we listen to. I have no idea at all where to start to heal that–I am mixed up in it, too.

    I am glad, however, that police training is being emphasized. I’ve thought for a long time that a 15 week training course was not enough–and when I witnessed a sociopath racist with whom I was in an abusive relationship at the time pass at the top of his class, I knew something was wrong. His psych eval did not reveal his disordered thinking, and even when multiple women complained to his superiors of abusive and manipulative behavior, nothing was done. He did show me that part of his training included a week long segment on the types of personality issues police tend to have….so they know it. They know who is drawn to police work, and yet they do very little to support police officers in terms of mental health and sensitivity, even in training to de-escalate emotionally disturbed people….the incident recently with the autistic man and his caregiver highlight, to me, that police need a lot more training on how to bring calm to situations which could easily lead to violence–without violence of their own. Police officers need support–I think we are leaving them hanging out here to deal with a situation that is becoming more and more raw as we go along. If we don’t do something to make police work safer and more effective for all people, then we are treating police as if they don’t matter–in a way, perhaps the lack of training we already provide shows how little we cared long before this started getting so bad.

  20. David P says:

    “Can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?” No, Rodney, sadly, it doesn’t seem that we can. Unfortunately, I don’t know if humanity is ever going to get past this one. We are tribal by nature. Science has show that it built into our brains. We tend to “other” those that our most distant from us. Sometimes it’s race. Sometimes religion. Heck, in this country political ideology is a big one. And even if we do eliminate race then we’ll find something else. I recommend reading up on Dunbar’s number. Our brain’s are only capable of recognizing a limited number of people as actually “people.” And I strongly recommend the piece David Wong wrote about it.

    • Jessica Weaver says:

      Someone not long ago expressed the same to me–a black woman for whom I have respect, who never seemed racist to me. She said, basically, look, it’s not that I don’t like white people. But, I like my community, and I think we should be allowed to have preferences without it hurting others. Its ok to associate with your own people, basically, because that is what makes you happier and more comfortable. I think her opinion is controversial because it is widely accepted that we fear what we don’t know or understand, so of course, staying in your own communities and not mixing with others should lead to fear and distrust. Her assertion is that she knows what she likes, that’s it–its not about thinking others are less than. I had never thought about it that way, and it goes against what I have been taught all my life, but it is food for thought, anyway.

  21. Mary says:

    We are currently a nation divided, and that is very unfortunate. All lives matter; no one’s life is more valuable than another’s. I wish it were easier to have civil race conversations but the reality is that it isn’t, especially right now. While I don’t know what the answer is, the violence must stop. Gunning down police officers won’t bring back the individuals who were shot and killed during seemingly routine police stops.

  22. Hampton Raulerson says:

    It seems that many of these people chose to ignore that which you and Ronald Fryer have presented, that statistically white males are more likely to be shot than black males. Does this justify the actions of some officers, no but maybe BLM could take a look and taper their anger at anyone who isn’t a minority (white). This issue has been beaten to death and I’m sure that I am not alone in saying that I am weary of the media blasting every incident from the mountain tops. maybe they should instead report on the violence in places like Chicago where the nation has seemed to turn a blind eye. I can not agree more with Dallas City’s Police Chief when he said if you want to do something about the situation, get off the picket line and join the police force and become a part of the solution. Or Sanders when he encouraged those who want change to run for office. This is the way to bring about change, not shouting hatred and spreading violence.

  23. Ashley Crews says:

    I am so thankful and grateful to read this post. I am so glad to see that someone feels as I feel.
    As difficult as these times have become I was recently embarrassed by someone I know to be completed open minded. In a brief conversation at work, a black male coach was explaining with great enthusiasm his game style in basketball. I am not a basketball fan. I do not know anything about basketball. I did not know the individual he was comparing himself to was white. However, the person I previously thought to be opened minded over heard this conversation and started to be derogatory and demanded to know “how” his game could be like someone who was not the same color. The coach tried to explain that it was his “style” nothing else mattered. He quickly stopped trying to explain himself. He and I shared a facial expression and a moment of absolute understanding. We were both embarrassed for this other black individual and their inability to understand that the color of your skin has nothing to do with your abilities.
    It was in that moment that I watched out nation fall a little more apart. It was also in that moment that I knew it will be okay again, one day. Because I am not black and my coach friend never questioned how I felt about the conversation because he knew that it did not matter to me. Because we both knew that the color of either of our skin is not a factor in anything in which we do, learn, or excel.
    All lives matter. All lives should be treated equally. All murders and shooting should be properly investigated regardless of the status of the individual doing the shooting.

  24. savianna says:

    Should we rank lives in the order of importance, value, or the color of our skin?

    Should we, no.
    Can we, yes.
    Do we, yes.

    I am a black female and never saw color as an issue. I love everyone and enjoy diversity, but as i get older I became less naive and realized the world doesn’t work that way. I feel like color blinds everyone in one way or another. It is a scary thing to watch history repeat itself or maybe it never ended. When I hear debates on issues of color, violence, and character I can agree with many on both ends of the spectrum so I try to stay out of those types of conversations as some people are not as open or understanding and only care about their “own people.” We all have the same organs inside that keep us moving. There is nothing systematically different inside of us. NOTHING. I can never wrap my mind around judgement being made because of pigment but I can understand how pigment is associated with a culture, an area, a job, and a million other things. At the same time, that is what causes those judgments and assumptions and I feel like the complexity of it is way behind human mentality at this point. Every white man with a confederate flag isn’t a racist and every black man in a nice car isn’t a drug dealer. This is the way people think today. It is sad. I have actually encountered a family that most people I know would not bother with. I was going to their home (i’m a social worker) with 4 confederate flags all around the outside of the home..BIG FLAGS. I can admit i was a little nervous and when I came to the door there was an oversized pitbull that was let out in front of me without any warning. All I can think was OMG they are going to sick this dog on me! I actually stayed there for an hour and talked to the entire family and they were very nice. They would even tell me who they know that were racists and who aren’t. Hey! at least they were honest i guess. i still talk to them to this day. All I can say is…. We all need to learn our history, learn other’s history, learn to have a mind of our own rather than get consumed by negative influences, speak, ask questions for clarity. We assume & shoot now and then ask later. This world we live in, most days seems like destruction, and other days seem like….idk, hope may not be the appropriate word. Only time will tell.

    -Stay blessed

    Savianna

  25. Kyle Poe says:

    This is a great topic for discussion however I feel as though that these types of conversations should be held in person rather than solely online. See what happens is when we go on Facebook and see a new “shooting” about another black life being taken by a white cop, we immediately begin posting about it. The conversation quickly becomes more of a debate/ posting war. The conversations are not about finding possible solution(s), but rather expressing my argument so well that it is infallible and irrefutable.

    The biggest battle in which I believe we are facing is a lack of empathy toward various perceptions and an unwillingness to understand these perceptions. For example, when I was interning at Pace University this past summer, one of my students (who was a white female) felt the need to express to me here opinions on black lives matter. She could not understand the logic behind the idea that when people say that “black lives matter” others are immediately offended. What prompted this conversation was an incident in which her and three other students were pulled over. The black male student decided to walk instead. She immediately thought, “What if Tim would have been riding with us when we were pulled over?” expressing her concern for him. A light bulb instantly went off in my head and I realized that she does not have any idea what that encounter could have escalated to. On the other hand, I cannot full understand her perspective either. A lesson can be learned from this interaction.

    The issues are deeper than what we are actually seeing and reading about however the fact still remains, the killing of innocent people (black, white, blue etc.) is absolutely inexcusable. How can it ever be to justifiable to kill a black man, cop or any living, breathing, functioning human being? When has is it been made “okay” to believe that the person “deserved it” or “got what they were asking for”? Although there are so many avenues attached to this problem, it can also be attacked from many angles as well.

  26. valdostaphil says:

    I recently had a colleague tell me that the biggest mistake of the Black Lives Matter movement was merely one of marketing and branding in the form of excluding one single word. “Too.” As in “Black Lives Matter, Too.” It would have implicitly acknowledged up front that Blue Lives Matter too, so as the response went, which would have anticipated and preempted at least one vitriolic line of response. And it’s true. All lives do matter, and our social policy should reflect that. Law enforcement was given the benefit of the doubt in this area basically forever (rightly or wrongly), at least until the Rodney King incident, and the proliferation of smart phones has changed everything in the last 5-8 years. And it’ll probably bet worse before it gets better, because only legislation at the state and federal levels is going to make it better, and that legislation isn’t happening yet.

    What’s also true is that it’s extremely disappointing that people in this country are programmed to think in such polarized terms on every single issue and that if you give the other side an inch they’ll take a light year. Everyone shares in the responsibility for the current status of race relations in this country from legislators and law enforcement to everyday citizens and community leaders. But we don’t find common ground in this country. We finger point and cover our ears like children and go “LA LA LA LA LA LA” while the other side speaks.

    I know this is a bit of a tangent, but I think part of our failure to make progress in this area of social policy is the same as a lot of other areas: it can be linked to the fact that we don’t really have term limits for legislators in this country. Our legislators are always pandering to voting blocs on both sides in an eternal attempt to keep the job they want to retire from. If they were planning on returning to full time employment outside their legislative position at some point, they might care more about their legacy than their re-election and affect real change.

    I think in the next 20-30 years, we’ll probably see a dramatic shift in the requirements to become a police officer include at least a 2- or 4-year college degree as a prerequisite for admissions to police academies just like happened for school teachers, nurses, etc.

    • valdostaphil says:

      Also, if you look hard enough, there are some good stories out there from the ground level of people who have been doing community policing correctly, particularly some of the TED Talks that have been done on the subject by prominent figures in law enforcement. Seek them out. They’re definitely worth the time they take to watch.

      Unfortunately, those stories are the exception rather than the rule these days. Racism isn’t extinct, although it should be. We should all be colorblind, and yet there are still boomers who talk about interracial marriage like it’s still the 60s and they won’t be judged for saying stuff like that. I’ve had to correct several people that I otherwise have a great deal of respect for on that one. We shouldn’t have to wait another human generation for people to at least be treated all the same by government entities sworn to serve and protect everyone. We’re one of the most enlightened and educated societies on the planet and we should be able to evolve beyond preemptive hate based on some vague definition of “the other.” Perhaps in my lifetime. I hope.

    • valdostaphil says:

      Phil-Edwards-7050-Fall-2016-Blog-Post

    • junior jackson says:

      We need not take any of the necessary attention away from the movement of Black Lives Matter. We must continue to shout and chant that Black Lives Matter because those lives are becoming more and more expendable.
      Even some of the elected officials who proclaim to ordinary americans are very detached and have worked very hard to slander and defame the character of the movement. The President could and should do more to strengthen the movements mission however he has obviously fallen out of touch and this dangerous system has turned him away from the very people that elected and prayed for him.

  27. Brett Stanelle says:

    As a first responder and a member of the public safety profession, I greatly appreciate many of your comments in this post. Black lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter. In my community there are signs of unity everyday. I personally know many police officers who go above and beyond to help make a positive change in someone’s life and I also personally know many citizens, of all demographics, who have gone out of their way to show their support for law enforcement. Alas, I think that how the media responds to the differing types of stories and the social media court of public opinion add fuel to an already heated situation. That may explain the difficulty you expressed in finding statistics on officers who were killed in the line of duty. If you haven’t already visited the site, may I suggest the Officer Down Memorial Page (https://www.odmp.org/). The page allows you to search by name, state or date range parameters. Background information on each of the officers, which now included K-9s, is included and I find it a humbling tribute to read about their stories.

  28. Brett Stanelle says:

    As a first responder and a member of the public safety profession, I greatly appreciate many of your comments in this post. Black lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter. In my community there are signs of unity everyday. I personally know many police officers who go above and beyond to help make a positive change in someone’s life and I also personally know many citizens, of all demographics, who have gone out of their way to show their support for law enforcement. Alas, I think that how the media responds to the differing types of stories and the social media court of public opinion add fuel to an already heated situation. That may explain the difficulty you expressed in finding statistics on officers who were killed in the line of duty. If you haven’t already visited the sites, may I suggest the Officer Down Memorial Page (https://www.odmp.org/) and the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund page (http://www.nleomf.org/). These pages allow you to search various parameters and the NLEOMF page in particular offers a variety of stats. I find the information and stories to be a very humbling experience and hope to one day visit the memorial.

    • lexislloyd says:

      Great insight, Brett! I think a lot of times people get caught up with the media and what they hear. Unfortunately, the media is prone to post more negative actions than positive ones. I strongly believe that all lives matters. As a country, we should be equally treated with respect and dignity. It is a shame how some things get out of hand and one thing can easily ruin it for everyone. I think it is important that we take a stand and defend all lives. I hope and pray that our country can overcome this adversity and work together.

  29. Junior Jackson says:

    The division in the United States of America needs to be eradicated. Every person’s existence should be valued and treasured. Law enforcement officers should make a conscious effort to protect and love the communities they work in. Criminals are criminals however force should not be used more frequently in african american communities. Police officers should protect themselves and the public at large and the public should give officers that respect and ability to complete their work. But we, as a country, needs to start just respecting people’s individuality and their constitutional protected, civil rights, and only then will we, United States, be able to reach and see the promised land.

  30. A. Hughes says:

    While reading your blog I thought about the Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. It’s a satire on discrimination. Although it’s a children’s book it totally parallels with our society. My current mood is that we are all animals – us vs. them, all the time – it’s sad. There is no justification for these events on either end. We all (and I literally mean ALL of us) need to take some responsibility for our current situation. We also need to practice patience, kindness, and understanding. Things will always be complicated with tons of factors playing a role but when will it be enough? Are we at a tipping point? I don’t know. It’s just been awful grim lately.

  31. Kaitlynn F. says:

    As a white female, growing up in majority white small town, where cops are family friends, I rarely saw issues with diversity and discrimination. I always knew it existed, I just rarely saw it. It wasn’t until I played college basketball where this became something I saw often. One of many instances that stick out in my head is when me and two of my African American teammates went to the gas station for snacks. The guy who owned the store immediately started following us around the store. I knew exactly why but went about my business. My teammates called him out on it, rightfully so, and the next thing you know more cops were called. It kept escalating, and they were seconds from handcuffs. For no reason. This is such a small example, but it means so much more than this. I would be so angry if this was something that happened to me often. And so here are some of the beginnings of conflicting views. It’s hard to see what it is like in someone else’s shoes. But perspective is everything. There’s a lack of understanding of your neighbor. Most people want to see things the way they always have, or how they know. Regardless, violence will never be the answer.

  32. Tayo Sowemimo says:

    I am in agreement with most part of this post, and I certainly believe All Lives Matter, there is no doubt about that. The central argument of Black Lives Matter movement will be lost, if we don’t admit, minorities are unfairly targeted by law enforcement, the post before mine Kaitlynn give a good example of how innocuous situations escalate to levels that can lead to fatal encounters. I do not support some tactics employed by Black Lives Matter movement, neither do I support any act of violence on our police officer; but to heal the great divide, we need to make sure everyone is treated equal under the law, and when a police officer crosses the legal line, they should be prosecuted just like every other citizen.

  33. Antonio A. says:

    As an individual of color, I think that often things are heavily misconstrued. The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of the fact that like someone mentioned earlier, people of color were being killed and police officers were not being held accountable for their actions. All Lives Will Matter when Black ones do, Latino Ones do, Native American ones do, LGBTQ ones do, just to be clear. That is like an individual grouping a racist white individual as being a part of the KKK, though we despise them, it doesn’t mean that they are related. Same goes with BLM, just because people are shouting this phrase doesn’t mean that they are affiliated with the movement. Also, people don’t often do their research, especially regarding groups such as the Black Panthers (which people compare BLM to). The Black Panther Party believed in being able to exercise their constitutional rights just like everyone else, they were not the individuals who were committing violent acts. They did many great things for many Black communities such as free lunch for students, among other things. Folks need to hop off the bandwagon and see why groups are hurt, do you truly understand, or even trying to? You can’t criticize or undermine a group of people’s hurt if you’ve never felt it or been in those shoes. Sidenote: I am thankful for the many woke and advocates who are not of color, but fight hard for equality for all 🙂

  34. Megan P. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I believe that you are correct about many things and make very good, clear points here. However, I charge you to consider that Black on Black/White on White/etc. crime will always be high because much research shows that we feel more comfortable in communities of our own. We are, as people of color particularly, more like to only have access to communities in which we share the same skin color as our neighbors. With that in mind, intra-ethnic crime will generally be higher because we are in contact with one another much more regularly and our communities are made up of people who look like us.

    As far as Black Lives Matter, they do. Do they matter more than white lives? Cop lives? No. However, it is clear that much of the rebuttles to #BlackLivesMatter is a racist attempt to discredit the fact that our fight is one for not just Blacks, but all people. An affirmation of the value of Black lives does not discount that of others’ lives. Further, #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter only matter to their supporters, it seems, when people of color are being villified for being angry and tired of our men and women being killed in the streets and in their homes and in their churches and in their safe spaces. Those hashtags are nowhere to be found when white officers are slain by their own people. I do not agree with ambushing police officers in any way, but I do not stand beside Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter as movements, because they are not and never have been. I do not stand beside those who refuse to acknowledge the wrongdoing of all parties involved, not just the dead (who, frequently, have done nothing at all).

    The day the KKK is recognized as a hate group and Black Lives really do seem to matter, I may change my tune. But until that time, Black Lives will always be the forefront of my concern.

  35. kade bell says:

    This was a great informative read. But yes cops lives do matter, just like everyone else does. Cops are from all different races and ethnicities just like all of us. They have a very difficult job and just like every other thing in this world, their is good and evil. As for black lives matter movement , not all people have the same views. just because a couple people say one thing doesn’t mean that everyone else ion the group feels the same way. yes we need to get better and stop stereo typing people. If we work together and hold everyone accountable for their actions then we can start making some positive strides.

  36. gljackson33 says:

    Cops lives matter just like everybody else. But they have the duty to protect civilians lives as well. They have a difficult job to do, so the citizens should work with the cops to try to make their jobs a tad bit easier. Cops should ensure the citizens that they are there for them and not there to make them fearful of them.

  37. scwoods23 says:

    Yes I believe that cops lives matter; however, they took an oath to serve and protect everyone regardless of color. I don’t believe BLM was created to make people believe that only the lives of black people mattered, it was created to show the racial injustices that were occurring repeatedly throughout the nation.

  38. Yvonne Valdosta says:

    I think that activists have the right to focus on one issue even though the causes that they care deeply about aren’t created in a vacuum, nor are the ills of society. It is all relative, however choosing to focus on one issue, shouldn’t cancel out the message or intent. The example that I like to use is Breast Cancer and Prostrate Cancer awareness are both very important, however one should not show up to a Breast Cancer Walk shouting “This walk should not be allowed until all Prostrate Cancer is cured”. As if women are important and men aren’t . Just as black lives are important and not whites or police? Of course not. Not only is this a Red Herring, but it is in some ways a hindrance to the First Amendment right to assemble and protest. Groups who feel marginalized and discriminated against are fine with asserting their rights and disdain about maltreatment in America. Somehow, the cries of certain groups who express their disdain, fall on deaf ears. It is impossible to empathize with someone if you do not share the same experience that they do. As your colleague stated, some people will never know what it is like to be Black, not only in America, but in the world. Your later post on profiling has relevance, as the issue of police shootings also relates to police violence, aggression, use of force, unfair practices, false arrests, and the overall disproportion of black and brown incarceration to that of whites, although whites make up a larger portion of the population in America. Also the UCR and other reports do not fully report the crimes of whites or place them on the local news as they do that of blacks in urban areas.It is hard to tell a group of people that they shouldn’t have a problem with police violence against blacks because Cities like Chicago have high murder rates per capita. They don’t want to reference historical data such as the closing of Cabrini Green housing projects where the crime was centralized. This spread criminals across the Southside of Chicago. Also, access to guns in States like Indiana where there are less restrictive gun laws. Or how about the historical redlining, blockbusting, white flight,segregation, lack of access to GI and FHA, gerrymandering, peonage and other unfair practices that have such disproportionately impacted people of color in America. This has led to a large group of people who are poorly educated, have little resources, and are surrounded by poverty and crime. How do you expect anyone to excel or pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Dr. King said it best in his talks on Federal subsidies and land grants to whites and immigrants. Blacks have a long way to play catch up in this country and across the world that was fueled by the ugly hatred of Jim Crow, Apartheid,colonization, slavery, discrimination and unfair law enforcement. This has not gone away with a black president. It has only be highlighted. Yes all lives matter. Cops too. Officers who do their jobs to protect and serve and enforce the law equally should be protected and treated with respect. Those that don’t should not be in law enforcement and we should be able to talk about it.

  39. Erica Kimbro says:

    Ok. I believe the focus is more on who’s lives matter the most than either supporting or accepting the initial purpose of the cause! It’s a bunch of back and forth over nothing. Black Lives Matter campaign isn’t specifying that black lives are the only ones that matter. Neither is saying that all lives don’t matter just because people choose to highlight black lives at the time. People make it more than what it is and that makes me more upset than the killings themselves. I don’t know how as a whole if it will get better in terms of people almost ALWAYS relating these killings to racism, but I do stand by the initial posting that COP LIVES DO MATTER!! they are people as well, I think people seem to forget that. 😦

  40. Jakira Smith says:

    Do cops lives matter? Absolutely! Regardless of job description or race, the life of every human matters. The Black Lives Matter campaign was not created to seclude black people or place them in a battle with the rest of the nation. The Black Lives Matter campaign was created to bring attention to the constant racial killings in the black community. The same way police officers go into work everyday with the expectation to make it home, so does every person in the world. Nobody leaves their house in the morning without anticipation on making it back home. The issue is that if black people are truly doing wrong without a shadow of a doubt, why do police find it necessary to kill them on sight. We live in a country where we have a judicial system and too many black people are being killed during the first step of that process. Cop lives do matter, but they can’t protect anyone that they are afraid of.

  41. Molly Giddens says:

    It is always a tragedy when a life is lost, no matter what the circumstances may be. With that said, I do feel as though police officers have become a target of crime themselves.

    From what I took from studying Criminal Justice, most crime is intraraical, meaning that crime was either white-on-white or black-on-black. I think the media has blown these stories of racism somewhat out of proportion and from that the police are now fighting for their own lives. There are now groups formed out of this “police brutality” and as the Black Lives Matter Movement is concerned, there group purpose is as follows:
    “Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes…”
    I am quite sure racial profiling happens and will continue to happen, but I think it happens less than truly depicted.

    The security and livelihood of police officers is now more at risk than ever before. As the common axiom goes “tomorrow is not promised to anyone”, these individuals, especially in the current times, are not promised to make it through the hour let alone their entire shift. Upon taking the pledge to serve and protect, these individuals are aware of the potential circumstances they may face in safeguarding their communities, families, and friends. They are more concerned with preservation of law and order than their own personal safety putting their own needs and wants after those of others. Does that not deserve an award for heroism?

    But instead of thanking our officers, we are forming hate groups…

    Of course in all fields and professions, there are those who abuse their powers. Most abuse stems from a moral issue rather than a profession issue. There are plenty of bankers who embezzle money. There are plenty of healthcare providers that prey on the sick and vulnerable… and the list continues. There needs to be more professional standard committees, conduct codes, and policies weeding out these “bad seeds”. All in all, there is no need to declare war on the police officer because of the uniform he or she wears.

    Now if the racial concerns lie in sentencing, why is the Black Lives Matter movement not more focused on the judicial system rather than the officers themselves? Or we could refuse to look at the negative and look more toward the positives: there are more black men in college than in prison (npr.org).

  42. lrtrower says:

    This was a very interesting article. All lives should matter. The question was asked in the beginning “Can we really rank lives in order of importance or value? Should we?” At the end of the day, no matter what your profession is, you are still human. Also at the end of the day, no matter what color your skin is, you are still human. Many people fail to recognize that everyone has value. They are all related to someone. People need to remember the golden rule, treat others like you wish to be treated. In today’s society, they need to look at the issue, not the person. People are quick to pass judgment not knowing the whole story or issue at hand. Police leave for work, hoping to return home to their families. Blacks leave home hoping to return to their families. Everyone leaves home hoping to return home to their loved ones. There are situations that can come up at any time. Today people are very careless. They don’t care who or what they kill. Hatred comes in all forms. It all starts with people. People do not think before they do anything anymore. They will kill not caring who is affected. Everyone’s lives matter.

  43. Ken Sirmans says:

    First I want to caviout my comment that I am an African Amercian and have my bachelor’s In Criminal Justice with hopes to become a Law Enforcement Officer.I do believe that cop’s lives do matter to,Because I believe ALL LIVES MATTER.Now one thing that has to be understood about the Black Lives Matter(BLM) movement is that it is meant to bring to light that African Amercians/Black People and to a broader extent all people of color lives are often not viewed as having any value. When you have what to me and many of my fellow African Americans seems to be clear cut case where an un-armed black citizen has been killed by an armed law enforcement officer,and what clearly seems to a case where there should have been no reason for the officer to fear for their life then it seems as their life was valued over ours. However I still do call on my fellow brothers and sisters of color to remember that just as we want them to realize that we are somebody’s child,father,mother,brother,and or sister, they are as well. Law enforcement officers are just somebody that is just doing a job in order to put food on the table for their family as well.A

  44. Christopher Cary says:

    Everyone has a life that matters. The question is do our fellow Americans view our own life as valuable. Most of the time, yes, some of the time, no. This is evident in we all have biases based on our life experiences. I have felt that black people don’t value me due to how I spoke and carried myself. (I’m black) Also met many cops who were vary nice and friendly and those who were not so. I believe that on both sides of the fence over generalization and lack of regular communication and interactions with people of different races has destroyed some peoples ability to understand different cultures and people. Lack of understanding and compassion is destroying our nation.

  45. gljackson33 says:

    I think every life matters. Do we value life as a country. So many people have different views about different things. If everyone can learn to agree to disagree we will be a whole lot better off. I think need to as a black person, we have experience a lot of bias as a people. More black men are often targeted by cops. I myself personally feel that there is a lot of bias in the police department. The system has to change first. Then the people will follow.

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