July 18, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.