Following centuries of tyranny, decades of oppression, years of harassment and months of protests there are still those who refuse to acknowledge systemic racism and the byproduct of police brutality against people of color in this country. This bastion of white privilege asserts that if you support the Black Lives Matter movement then you must be against Blue Lives Matter. A dangerous belief that somehow equates an occupation to a racial identity. Of course, this is simply another attempt to distract the public with a clumsy “us versus them” argument,intended to distort the BLM cause with false equivalencies. This is a ruse designed to undermine the casualties of police brutality and perpetuate the perverted notion the BLM movement is nothing more than an anti-police group. Judging BLM demonstrations by its most violent participants, but not judging a police force by its most violent cops, is the language of the oppressor. The reality is, racism in America isn’t getting worse, it’s simply being filmed. Despite police killing anywhere from 900 to 1,000 people every year, only 35 officers have been held accountable through convictions since 2005. Injustices like this only serve to reinforce the systematic assault that negatively impacts the lives of African Americans and gives rise to social unrest. This is not a black versus white issue, this is everyone versus racism issue. The reality is, wrongful death and brutality at the hands of police occurs at an alarming rate, and it is the municipalities who are held financially liable for these abuses. We rightfully hold the police to a higher standard however, if law enforcement refuses to police themselves then society itself should impose structural changes. Beginning with restructuring portions of funding from municipal police departments to other public health agencies. This reallocation would provide funding for social workers, mental health professionals and addiction specialists to intervene when non-violent incidents occur. Additionally, we need to address the militarization of our police. Subsidizing local law enforcement with surplus military weapons, armored vehicles and weaponized aircraft only contributes to the perception the public is the enemy. Furthermore, we should require police unions and perhaps the officers themselves carry insurance. This would incentivize law enforcement to rid themselves of a detrimental police culture that protects the bad actors within their ranks or face potentially crippling premiums and terminated coverage. Presently, it is the municipalities who are held liable and who bear the entire financial burden. Much like health, life or auto insurance for the rest of us, the insurance companies would hold local law enforcement financially accountable; and in turn, incentivize the police unions to eliminate the destructive practice of shuffling predatory cops from one community to the next.
We need to acknowledge the perpetual state of war that impacts the militarization of our local law enforcement. We must have the courage to challenge the detrimental police culture that subscribes to the credo of “better to be judged by twelve than carried by six” and we must find the courage to face the reality of systemic racism in our country. Until then, no one is safe. The only remaining question to ask is; would any of you choose to be black in America today…… and that answer really is all you need to know.