Having been a writer for a good chunk of my life, I have always believed that words hold incredible power. And it is because of that deep belief that I should have known better and chosen my words more carefully in my previous post.
By saying I do not support “Blue Lives Matter” because cops are not born with blue blood, I was merely trying to point out that “Blue Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter” cannot be compared because one is something you have control over and the other you do not. It did not mean that I believe the lives of those who serve on the police force do not matter. In fact, that could not be further from the truth.
I support the police. I am grateful to those who serve, and I would be devastated if anything were to happen to my family or friends in the line of duty. If that message was unclear or lost altogether, then I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.
My issue with “Blue Lives Matter” is the wording.
Had it been, “Cops Lives Matter,” then I would take no issue with it. While it may seem trivial to some, the difference matters to me because when I hear “Blue Lives Matter,” I do not hear “Cops Lives Matter” — even if that is what the slogan means. My issue with “Blue Lives Matter” is that it was born as a direct rebuttal to “Black Lives Matter.” Its purpose was to hijack the narrative of a movement that simply called for an end to police brutality against black people. It was not an attack on every member of the police.
I know Colin Kaepernick wore socks with pigs in police uniforms, so I do not need you to bombard me with those images. I also do not agree with what he did. I am in full support of his peaceful protest in the form of kneeling during the national anthem, but the sock gesture did not sit well with me. You do not need to agree or disagree with everything someone does, and I think it’s important for people to remember that. But I digress…
I know that cops have one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and that sometimes they can be put in situations that require split-second thinking and action. But there are accidents and there are incidents. It is an accident to shoot a suspect who legitimately appears to reach for a weapon. It is an incident to choke someone to death when they never threatened the officer’s life. I think there is a stark difference between the two, and I don’t believe anyone who commits the latter should wear a uniform.
But I am not against the police as a whole. I never have been. If my previous post made it come off that way — even though I plainly stated, “I support the police,” in it — then again, I am truly sorry for any offense that may have been caused.
Seeing “I do not support ‘Blue Lives Matter’” can hit the eye wrong, and it is my responsibility to either choose my words more carefully or to provide a crystal clear explanation of them. In both of those regards, I failed. You can chalk it up to rust of not writing since October or just plain old human error, but it is important to take responsibility when you screw up and I screwed up. Words have power, and I should have known better.
A Different Perspective
I have heard from a number of people — including family members — over the past week who do not hold the same beliefs or views that I do, and I’m fine with it. Having differences of opinion can help one side educate the other or at least see from a different perspective. In their objections, many of those people mentioned the media and the bevy of issues they had with the industry as a whole — issues that not-so-conveniently started to be vocalized during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
I have read countless Facebook posts claiming “fake news” and supporting the belief that “the media is the enemy of the people” from many of the same folks who were outraged with my previous post. What I do not recall ever seeing or hearing was any of those same people — again, including family members — give any care or concern to the fact that up until this fall, I was a journalist for nearly a decade.
Even if I failed in my attempt, I still tried to convey that my disapproval regarding the police was solely directed towards bad cops. I do not see that same courtesy extended to members of the media.
I never once recalled seeing anything about, “Hey, my nephew/friend/etc. is a journalist, and he is not fake news or the enemy of the people.” Maybe it’s because I was merely a local reporter, and not working for a national publication, but seeing those posts without any regard for a family member or friend being in that line of work hurt just the same because words have power.
That being said, I will continue to educate myself as best I can about matters I am unsure about. I will continue to speak up and speak out about the things I feel, even if it makes some friends and family members uncomfortable. But I will do so with the intention of being as accurate and as clear as possible.
I will always be open to having civil discussions with anyone, so long as the conversations remain respectful and on message.
If we are talking about the protests, let’s talk about the protests. I don’t want to hear about Chicago, or black-on-black crime.
If we are talking about police behavior, let’s talk about police behavior. I don’t want to get into a YouTube war of unrelated incidents.
If we are talking about Trump, let’s talk about Trump. I don’t want to hear about Hillary Clinton’s emails, or Benghazi, or George Soros, or whatever common deflections often come up.
If we are talking about the media, let’s talk about the media. I can be — and am — just as critical of the media as anyone else, but I do not want to see conspiracy theory posts from questionable outlets.
Let’s discuss the things that are on our minds and in our hearts because it can be beneficial to hear from a different perspective. Let’s communicate in a respectful manner like the evolved human being species we are. Let’s try to understand one another instead of simply yelling just to get our points across. Words have power, so let’s use them for good.