Blue Lives Matter. Yesterday, following the murders of five police officers in the Dallas sniper attack, Rolling Stone asked if we need to assert that the lives of police officers really go matter. Answering their own question, the article us entitled “After Dallas, We Don’t Need to Say Blue Lives Matter.” On one hand, I get their point. We should not have to say this. It should be obvious how important police officers’ lives are. I should be obvious that all lives matter. On the other hand, we live in a world where stupidity and ignorance reign supreme, and points must be reiterated over and over as if we are trying to make them understood by a world of five-year-olds.
Blue lives do matter. We cannot let a few bad cops and a few unfortunate incidents turn us against the police. Yes, the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling (Baton Rouge) and Philandro Castile (Minnesota) were tragic and senseless, as were many similar incidents – all worthy of outrage. However, two wrongs do not make a right, and targeting white police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally hundreds of miles from those incidents solved nothing. It only brings more outrage and sorrow. We cannot fight hate with hate or violence with violence. And even if there are bad cops out there, the good ones outnumber them. Most police officers truly joined the force to protect and serve.
Blue Lives Matter. There was a point in my early adulthood when I wanted to become a police officer. Unfortunately, my health problems prohibited this. Still, it was interactions with one particular police officer that saved my life, changed my life, and make me appreciate the police and made me want to be one of them.
By the time I turned 18, I was deep into a relationship with a guy whose chosen vocation involved drugs, alcohol, crime, and domestic violence. Because of him, I had many interactions with the police. However, it was one officer who repeatedly responded to neighbors’ reports of domestic violence that made a difference in my life. I ignored him on many occasions. I had not asked for help and was not ready to face the truth. One night, however, this guy and me got into a fight in the alley behind a friend’s apartment. Neighbor’s heard me scream, called the cops, forced me over their fence, and dragged me to the hospital. Initially, I refused police help. Officer Manteris (Springfield, MO Police Department) , however, would not take no for an answer. After he cornered me at the hospital, he followed me back to my friend’s apartment, without my knowledge. My ex was there, and Manteris was angry. He beat on the door, yelled at me, and arrested my ex. He thought I was playing games and my ex was a thorn in his side. I only went back because I thought I had nowhere to go and was already in trouble at work for being at the hospital instead of starting my shift. Anyway, I have never forgotten the tears in that cop’s eyes when he told me that he did not want to be the one to find my dead body. It was not long after that that I got out of that relationship and changed my life for the better.
Don’t fear the police, and do not knock the ones who do their jobs. Don’t blame them for the bad apples. Most cops really do care about the people and the communities they serve.
Photo courtesy of Mint Press News