Is Blue Lives Matter offensive?

By Mary Margaret Olohan

Activists and critics argue that “Blue Lives Matter” is offensive and even racist, but pro-police advocates say the phrase is intended to draw awareness to the sacrifices that American law enforcement make every day to fight crime and protect their country.

Blue Lives Matter originated as a response to the Black Lives Matter slogan, a phrase focused on racial injustice not to be confused with the organization, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc.

One Blue Lives Matter Facebook page with over 2 million likes describes itself as “dedicated to the warriors who stand on this line, to those who wage war in the streets, to those we have lost and will lose, to our brothers and sisters.” A popular Blue Lives Matter Twitter account tweets about sensitive cases involving police and describing fallen police as “heroes.”

The registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Blue Lives Matter NYC’s mission is to “raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of police officers,” “to help police officers and assist each other,” and to provide the family of police officers “comfort and support as they go through hard times.”

Blue Lives Matter a ‘troll’?

Activists and critics have said that the phrase “Blue Lives Matter” is intended to troll or mock “Black Lives Matter,” arguing that declaring “Blue Lives Matter” is racistand implies that black lives do not matter.

“It’s been obvious from the start that Blue Lives Matter originated as a troll,” wrote The Week’s Ryan Cooper in January. “It’s a reference to the leftist slogan Black Lives Matter (BLM), of course, intended to both deflect attention from the ongoing plague of police brutality and to suggest that the left doesn’t care about police lives.”

“It’s a typically dishonest piece of propaganda from a political movement,” Cooper said, “that has an entirely instrumental relationship to facts — thus the maudlin carnival of fake grief whenever a police officer is killed in a way politically convenient to the far right (or when the police kill a middle-class white person, something the far right would have ignored or celebrated prior to BLM).”

Diversity and inclusion reporter Jasmine Vaughn-Hall, the daughter of a black female cop, formerly wrote that saying “Blue Lives Matter” is incredibly divisive and that “asking for Black lives to matter is demanding that police officers are held accountable when there are outright and questionable uses of force.”

“The lives of police officers have never been devalued — they’re literally trained and empowered to protect their lives by any means necessary,” Vaughn-Hall wrote. “No one is born ‘blue’ or destined to be a police officer at birth. It’s a choice — and a noble one. People are born Black and they’re affected by that fact every day. Their skin is not a uniform they can take off when their shift’s over.”

Social media figures like Bree Newsome or the account Public Citizen insist that saying “Blue Lives Matter” is the equivalent of claiming black lives are worthless.

But others argue that the phrase is merely a defense of police officers who put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis.

“The phrase just means that the lives of law enforcement officers matter,” National Association of Police Organizations Executive Director William J. Johnson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “That’s all it means.”

“Human life matters,” Johnson said. “Human life is a good thing. It shouldn’t be controversial. Human life matters, and it should be protected, regardless of the color of someone’s skin or the uniform they wear to work each day. And so should the lives of law enforcement officers.”

As unrest continues, hundreds of police officers injured

At least 360 police officers have been killed in the line of duty during the past year, according to data from the Officer Down Police Memorial Page. A report released by the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) in October found that over 2,000 police officers were injured in only the first few weeks of riots and protests following the death of George Floyd.

Officers killed during the riots include retired St. Louis Police Captain David Dorn, Santa Cruz County Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, and contract security officer Dave Patrick Underwood.

The riots and protests, which began in the spring of 2020, have continued intermittently into the spring of 2021.

The resentment and violence against law enforcement has prompted many police officers to resign. The Seattle Police Department announced as recently as Thursday that more than 200 police officers have left their jobs since last year, citing an anti-police climate in the city’s policies.

Dori Koren, who serves as Chairman of the MCCA Commanders Group, told the DCNF that MCCA roughly estimates that 49 cities were experiencing protests and unrest between about April 11 and April 19 of this year. The demonstrations differed from those of last summer in that both the number of events and the crowd sizes were smaller in April, he said.

MCCA estimates that elements of violent extremism were present in about 27% of those 49 cities in April, Koren told the DCNF, noting that extremist activity included Antifa, Black Bloc, anti-fascism and white supremacy.

The MCCA Commanders Group chairman said that at least 10 cities were experiencing one or more events involving violence towards police in April — such as throwing rocks, paint, or frozen water bottles at officers, using lasers to damage officers eyes or shooting officers.

Police officers quitting

The DCNF spoke with a Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer who described how a number of his fellow officers have left the police force to head to red states like Florida where they won’t be made examples of and where their local government will back them up.

“Some of them just quit and went to private sector jobs,” the officer, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, told the DCNF. “We had other people that said ‘fuck it, I’m transferring’ and went to another state. Which is what I’m doing.”

The officer discussed with the DCNF how his wife fears for his safety when he is out on the job in the current chaotic political climate. He described watching the video of former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, noting that he and his fellow officers were horrified at Chauvin’s actions.

“I’ve never heard of that before,” he said, referring to Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. “We were all like what the hell? What is going on here?”

Progressive local officials like the Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano only make officers’ lives more difficult, the Virginia cop said, noting that Descano “hates police.” Descano did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

“That’s kind of a problem,” the officer said. “We need to be on the same team to fight crime.”

The officer suggested that the best way Americans can champion police officers is to tell their local representatives that they support law enforcement and want the police to be able to to do their job.

“I mean, look at the crime rate around the nation, especially around Northern Virginia,” he said. “We don’t want that. We want to live in a safe area.”

“We need need help in government,” the officer said. “We need people to be a voice of reason, go to your legislators, contact your local reps, enact laws and do things that will help police not try to hamper us or tie our hands behind our back with every single law they try to pass against us.”

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster

11 thoughts on “Is Blue Lives Matter offensive?

  1. Vermont Police Coalition
    April 28 at 10:50 PM ·

    When did supporting your police and displaying the thin blue line flag make you a supporter of white supremacy? The symbol has been around far longer than the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been in existence. To draw that distinction could only be from people that do not like the police to begin with.

  2. Eight times more Police are killed than criminal blacks than Black persons killed by police?
    Does that MATTER!

    More blacks are killed by blacks than by police, IE. gangs and rivalries.

  3. Black Lives Matter is a means to an end. The real intended (but never mentioned) purpose of this phrase is to keep things going. The violence, the hatred, the deception with the money, and the back and forth with whatever it takes including death, is ok with these people. (S A T, simple as that)

  4. It’s an easy concept to figure out: Black lives matter…period! UNLESS those black
    lives are pre-born Black lives, or they are Black lives that are snuffed out by other Black
    lives or they are “Uncle Tom” Black lives where conservative values and opinions make their Black lives utterly irrelevant in the eyes of the marxist authoritarian elite.
    See, not so difficult to understand…

  5. Police should go full blown Chief Daryl Gates. Just say in precinct headquarters and just let things rip!

  6. So Blue Lives Matter offensive?? Well seeing that Black Lives Matter in big letters on State street in Montpelier in front of the Statehouse in huge letters is OFFENSIVE TO ME !!! If they had painted ALL LIVES MATTER would have been the right thing to do. I for one am sick and tired of the State government catering to the BLM movement. We are all AMERICANS and should all be treated the same.. Vermont never had slaves, we didn’t allow it.
    Haveing that BLM painted on the street is a disgrace. All Lives Matter would had been the right thing to do..

  7. You talk about offensive, that BLM rag is just propaganda, if any of these fools really
    believed in that statement, then they would be ” marching and protesting ” in Cities
    like Chicago that kills more blacks in a weekend, than most cities do in a year………

    Are they bad cops, ” yes ” but the overwhelming majority are just doing a job to support
    the laws that are written by our legislators and arresting those that don’t follow them.

    So to all the cop haters ” liberals ” walk a day in their shoes, and deal with what they deal
    with daily. Yeah, that’s what I thought, you’re what comes out of the backside of a chicken
    ” CS ” loud mouth fools.

    I fly my ” Thin Blue Line ” flag every day if it offends you ” TS “, I have known too many
    good police officers, if you follow the laws, then they won’t draw……. pretty simple !!

    Show respect and you’ll get respect, your choice.

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