If the title of this post got you excited, hold that thought. This post is about to take a left turn.
One of the news articles that popped up on my phone today was an article on DailyMail.com written by Todd Starnes. The article is about some Walmart employees refusing to make a Police Lives Matter cake for a police officer’s retirement party. If you would like, you can read the story here. I gathered from the article that the employees refused on the grounds that they found the concept to be racist. From that, I will operate under the assumption that the employees are likely black. I could be wrong, but that seems a safe bet. If I am wrong, I apologize for being a racist and insensitive white guy from middle America. Sue me.
Mr. Starnes wrote of being surprised that the employees were not fired for refusing to make the cake. So he is obviously taking the side of the daughter trying to get a cake for her retiring father. That seems to be a sensible position, because how could someone be against an assertion that Police Lives Matter. I mean, police lives really do matter. But here’s the thing. The phrase Police Lives Matter is a direct challenge to the Black Lives Matter organization. It trivializes a movement that aims to protect the lives of a minority group. While I understand the sentiment behind the phrase Police Lives Matter, I cannot help but to say those Walmart employees are absolutely correct. They had every right to refuse to make that cake. I applaud them for standing up for their convictions. It takes courage to stand up to your boss and say no when there is a real possibility of being fired for it. Kudos to the Walmart employees.
That being said, Walmart should have fired them on the spot. Walmart is a huge corporation, and they cannot have employees dragging their name and brand into political issues that they cannot win. No matter which side Walmart takes, they alienate some segment of society that are potential customers. Once those employees made that decision and it hit the news, Walmart could not win no matter what they did. In this case, they tried very hard to take care of the customer and make the cake. In the process, they possibly angered everybody that is sympathetic to Black Lives Matter. They appear to be siding with a woman that some people will view as racist. They could not win.
So, what about Black Lives Matter? The news has been constant lately. It seems that every week another story breaks that follows the same theme. An unarmed black man is shot and killed by police officers. These incidents are the reason the Black Lives Matter group exists. All police agencies in this country need to understand something. If you want the Black Lives Matter group to go away, stop killing unarmed black men. It really is that simple. It has gotten so bad that according to a Huffington Post article, three countries have issued warnings about travel to the United States. This country is supposed to be a welcoming environment that is safe for all people. That is no longer the perception some people have of us.
One thing I will not do in this post is list stories about unarmed, black men who have been killed by police. Even if I limited the list to those that occurred in 2016, it would be too long for this post. And that’s only part of the problem. There is another side to the problem, and could be argued is much more important. For so many years there has been an attitude within law enforcement that “We protect our own.” It is important to know that you have backup in a stressful situation. I understand that, but there needs to be a reasonable limit to that. Covering for criminal activity is in itself a crime. This Good ol’ Boy atmosphere in the police ranks no longer has any place in our society. It is sad that the reason it is being challenged now is only because of squad car dash cams and officer body cams. Until now there has never been proof when an officer acted outside the law and killed an unarmed person with no provocation. Now we are seeing it weekly. And much to the horror of the black community, the powers that be keep sweeping it under the rug. They take a very long time to come to the decision that the officer acted appropriately when all the video evidence tells a completely different story. What do you expect the black community to do when this happens. They are the underdogs. They are the marginalized. They are the powerless victims. They are the ones that die. Don’t be surprised when they stand up en mass and fight back the only way they know how. This is the only way they can effect change in a broken system. Who will listen to them if they petition lawmakers? Who will take them seriously if they speak out? It is only through the actions they are taking that they bring attention to the issue that is most important to them. This is the only way they know to defend themselves from an armed adversary.So, what should the police do about this?
There is a good example of what not to do. According to this article from CNN, North Carolina enacted a new law removing squad car dash cam footage from the public record. In North Carolina, dash cam footage was considered public record, so it was available for scrutiny. Not anymore. This sends exactly the wrong message to these groups protesting police shootings. If you do not have anything to hide, stop hiding the evidence. The solution to the violent protests that are happening after the police shoot an unarmed, black man is not to hide the evidence behind some new law. The solution is to STOP SHOOTING UNARMED, BLACK MEN! Why is this so difficult to understand? If you hide the video footage behind this new law, the black community will assume that you are guilty, and they will riot. This law is not fixing anything. It is perpetuating the Good ol’ Boy mentality that I wrote of earlier.
The best way to end this Black Lives Matter movement is to stop hiding the evidence. Stop defending obviously guilty officers that kill any person without cause. Release the unedited video in a timely manner so everyone can see what really happened. Put the officers that are guilty of killing any person without just cause in prison. The only thing that will end the Black Lives Matter movement is complete, honest, transparency. Until that happens, they have every right to rise up against you. Don’t act surprised when they do.
PS: I find it odd that I wrote such a liberal piece. I mean, I am likely to anger more Republicans with this post than Democrats. I don’t know that I like that, but it is what it is. I created the Politically Incorrect category with the expressed goal of pissing off the Liberals and Democrats. Unfortunately, with this post, I likely failed. But stay tuned. I’ll get back to my vast right wing conspiracies soon enough.