The Black Lives Matter Movement and America's Founding Principles
As a sworn reserve deputy for a major sheriff's department, I cringe with disgust whenever I see any unjust police action. During my academy training, we were required to memorize the California Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. Here is the first paragraph:
As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind — to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder, and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality, and justice.
Unjust police actions impact the authority of every sworn officer and hurt the reputation of every law enforcement agency. This is why it is vital for law enforcement representatives to speak out against the bad apples anywhere in the justice system — not unlike how it is done in the medical field.
But the claim that "systemic" racism permeates law enforcement agencies strikes me as false. What correlates most to police shootings and arrests is the crime rate, not race. There are an estimated 375 million annual U.S. police interactions with citizens — in 2019, 999 ended in shooting fatalities by police (0.0003%), and 14 were unarmed blacks (0.000004%). Only one of those shootings was not attempting to resist or evade arrest (0.0000003%). (Source: Washington Post.) The Black Lives Matter movement chooses to ignore these facts and prefers to call attention to questionable police tactics and to ascribe racial motivations to much of law enforcement. Tactical units from my sheriff's department have recently been called out only to discover that there were cameras set up on scene just to "catch" officers doing something inappropriate.
The Black Live Matter movement is really two disparate groups. One identifies with the idea that black people have been unfairly treated and discriminated against in society. These BLM-supporters often wear the T-shirts, carry the signs, chant the slogans, and demand political and economic change. These supporters are not part of the second group. That is a formal organization that maintains a website with revolutionary goals, large amounts of money, and radical leadership.
The first group of adherents to the BLM message is larger and likely not aware of the radical organization whose water its members carry. The second group is smaller and more disciplined and raises some fundamental issues that need close examination. I refer to the first group as "BLM Supporters" and the second group as "BLM Activists."
The BLM movement was founded in 2013 following the death of Trayvon Martin. As the original movement grew, it failed to pay attention to factors that have caused many of the race-related problems the country has confronted. The destruction of the black nuclear family and missing black fathers, for instance, are arguably the single most detrimental societal change America has witnessed over the past 100 years. Out-of-wedlock births are a corollary. Worse, these changes have too often been incentivized by government policies.
Every weekend in major inner-city neighborhoods, the death toll from black-on-black murders is staggering. Black lives do not seem to matter to the BLM organization under these circumstances. The young perpetrators are more often than not from fatherless homes. Not only are BLM activists silent on this issue, but they say on their website: "We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement[.]"
Hanging on the wall in the Orange County sheriff's training academy is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I make a mental note to read it every time I am at the academy: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." MLK taught us that we should judge others not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. BLM activists say something different: "We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people[.]" In law enforcement, we are sworn to protect freedom and justice for all people equally.
Sometimes law enforcement tragically misses the mark (as do all professions), but we shouldn't destroy or defund the whole law enforcement structure because of a few rogue incidents. We should deal with them. Bad cops should be fired just as bad teachers should be removed. Nobody hates bad cops more than good cops.
Lady Justice is always portrayed with a blindfold. The symbol stands for the idea that justice — from cop to court — is applied without regard to wealth, power, or status. Should we raise the blindfold in certain instances so she can peek out with an eye toward taking better care of black Americans? BLM Activists, I suspect, would say yes.
There is another critical factor that differentiates BLM Activists from BLM Supporters. The co-founders of the BLM movement are unapologetically Marxist — followers of Karl Marx, the revolutionary German philosopher who died in 1883 and whose ideas have inspired the governments of all the communist regimes. BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors explicitly said that she and fellow BLM co-founder Alicia Garza are "trained Marxists." On the BLM website, they state: "Our members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes."
The Los Angeles Chapter of BLM held a rally on June 23, 2020. Their message: "We are demanding that the School Board vote ... to defund school police by 90% over the next three years." This theme seems to resonate throughout the BLM movement and is often endorsed by many political leaders on the left.
It is time we no longer embrace the well meaning slogans of the BLM Supporters or the radical agenda of the BLM Activists. Rather, we must vigorously embrace and stand for the American way of life, characterized by a colorblind society, adherence to the tenets of the U.S. Constitution, and a return to traditional American family values.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." We are now called upon to end our silence. We must be vigilant — or we may very well lose the country the vast majority of us of all faiths and colors and creeds love.