Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is proposing a “Blue Lives Matter” bill that will amend the states’ definition of a hate crime by adding an occupation – police officer. Pushed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, Bill HB 953 will include firefighters and policemen, with Louisiana’s House of Representatives currently reviewing the bill for approval.
This Police Union Has Been Problematic Before
The National Fraternal Order of Police has been accused of threatening private citizens, encouraging wiretapping laws onto civilian cell phones, and propagating a police state.
Chuck Canterbury notes that 9 people were killed in the line of duty in 2015. This is, unfortunately, an aspect of a highly dangerous occupation. Police officers already have legislation that protects them, making Bill HB 953 an almost asinine piece of legislation.
The Blunt Facts
2015 was one of the safest years for law enforcement. 2015 was also one of the deadliest for civilians, with more than 1,200 people killed by police. In January 2016, law enforcement already killed about 4 people per day, with the recorded deaths in that month being disproportionately higher than other first world nations. In the UK, only 7 people were killed by police in the last 5 years.
Problems with the “Blue Lives Matter” Bill
Of course, being on the line of duty is a dangerous job, with honorable men in blue being deserving of appreciation from the American public. However, a “Blues Lives Matter” bill won’t change the attitudes towards cops, won’t correct police brutality or the lack of accountability – if anything, it will divide and underline the perceived value between cops and civilians.
Crimes defined as hate crimes are in place to protect gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation – not occupations. Legislation like Bill HB 953 will actually make public servants an elite class for no other reason other than their chosen occupation.
In most jurisdictions, a person on domestic soil has the right to protect their livelihood, their property, and their bodies from police or otherwise. This bill can be taken advantage of, with people pulling away from police, protecting their property from public servants, or simply inquiring about detainment, possibly being slapped with a 5-year sentence, just for affronting an occupation that a bill has suddenly deemed a protected status.
Pandora’s Box Has To Be Closed
There’s already bills that protect policemen, with many states taking it a step further. Oklahoma’s House Bill 1318 makes it a felony when any person protects themselves from an off-duty policeman. Any sort of physical contact that a policeman deems inappropriate can now be considered a crime.
The “Blue Lives Matter” bill is an emotional response to the Black Lives Matter organization, with the National Fraternal Order of Police thinking that because citizens are demanding accountability and an end to police brutality, their lives are in danger. They’re not – stop drawing lines between citizens and police, and start listening to the real complaints from American citizens.
Featured image by Yannick Gingras on Flickr available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license