Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Blue Lives, Black Lives, No Lives

Last September, an outfit obviously supportive of the summer's protests against abusive policing of the black community noted "Black Lives Matter is a peaceful movement working to recognize the importance of the lives of Black Americans and fight for racial justice and equality." It added

Similar to All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter is often used in contrast or as an argument to Black Lives Matter. The Black Lives Matter movement is not saying that the lives of police officers (or firefighters) are not as important as Black citizens. The goal is equality. Police officer’s lives matter and Black lives matter.  Police departments provide valuable and often dangerous services to our communities and in our country. Black Lives Matter is not anti-police, but police reform is a significant element in the movement....

This was a common view at the time, popular and wrong.

Equality arguably was (and is) the goal of the black lives matter movement, apart from the organization with the same name. However, the Black Lives Matter organization was anti-police and probably still is, though its website has been scrubbed of its most radical elements.

The discrepancy between the group and its millions of followers is one of the major misunderstandings of last summer's protests. Another is "police officers' lives matter." We learn

According to a Stars and Stripes article, in the first half of 2021, 71 U.S. law enforcement officers died from COVID-19, which is just under the 76 that died during the same period in 2020. In all of 2020, 241 U.S. law enforcement officers died from COVID-19. A study by Case Western Reserve University supports the article, showing more active-duty officers died from the virus last year than from all other causes combined.

Despite the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases within law enforcement ranks, police officers and departments have largely avoided the vaccine. There are currently no statistics showing the national vaccination rate for law enforcement officers; however, individual police and fire departments across the country show vaccination rates far below the national rate of 74% of adults who have had at least one dose.

Across the country, police unions are fighting mandates from municipal governments that cops be vaccinated. They're not endangering blacks. They're not endangering whites, Asians, Latinos, or members of specific ethnic groups. They are risking the lives of all the citizens whom they purport to protect and serve. And they are endangering themselves. Fifteen months after the murder of a black man lit the fuse of the black lives matter movement, neither black lives nor blue lives matter much at all.

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