April 16, 2024

When Will Blue Lives Matter?

Three law enforcement officers in two states were killed in shootouts with suspects involved in crimes.

Three police officers were killed over the weekend, adding to what seems like an increasing and infuriating trend of violent criminals taking the lives of public servants. In two different states, in two different shooting incidents with perpetrators engaged in crime, law enforcement officers doing their jobs sadly took losses even as they got the suspects.

In Memphis, arguably the nation’s most dangerous city right now, police officers responding to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle suddenly found themselves in a firefight with two teenage suspects in the vehicle. During the shootout, three officers were wounded, with one, Officer Joseph McKinney, dying from his injuries. The 26-year-old officer leaves behind a wife and a daughter.

Both of the suspects were injured, and one, an 18-year-old, died from his injuries. Just a month earlier, the deceased perpetrator had been arrested for stealing a vehicle and was found with “an illegally modified semi-automatic weapon with a Glock switch attached” that effectively turned the firearm into a fully automatic weapon.

Yet rather than force the perpetrator to post bail, he was released without bond. “We have a problem, a revolving door at our jail,” observed Memphis Police Association President Sergeant Matt Cunningham. “The suspect in this shooting was released from jail on his own recognizance — he got right back out on the street and armed himself, and got into a shooting with an officer who died, and he lost his life as well — and that’s tragic too.” Cunningham then pointedly observed: “If he had been kept in jail, he would be alive himself. So that’s the situation here in Shelby County. We have to do something about the revolving door at our jail.”

Meanwhile, in upstate New York, a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy were shot and killed in another firefight. The officers were seeking a suspect who had sped away from an attempted traffic stop. After tracing the suspect’s plate to a residence, they were fired upon by the suspect. Two officers were killed, while other officers on the scene returned fire and killed the suspect, who had previously been arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest in 2014.

Stories like this reinforce the reality that those who don the badge and serve their community are indeed making a sacrificial decision to put their life on the line for the good of the community. They deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.

Furthermore, they deserve the benefit of our doubt. That was something they used to be afforded, but not in today’s woke culture. Rather than deference, there is distrust — a distrust that has been cultivated by a largely false narrative that has been widely promulgated in the wake of the high-profile deaths of black criminals who have had run-ins with police.

Where is the national outrage over three law enforcement officers being murdered in one weekend? Where are the nationwide calls of “Blue Lives Matter”? Where are the protest marches demanding that lawless laws such as no-bail release be ended? Where are the chants against the anti-blue prejudice that runs rampant among leftist cultural elites and politicians?

Meanwhile, violent criminal thugs are lionized as cultural icons of faux racial injustice, and the result is predictable: higher crime rates. And who gets blamed? All too often, it’s our LEOs. They are labeled as the face of “systemic racism,” derided for either focusing too much attention on policing crime-ridden minority neighborhoods or for not focusing enough attention on crime-ridden minority neighborhoods.

Where is the respect? That truly is at the heart of the issue, as those who do not respect the authorities will inevitably end up crossing those authorities. But why has the rest of the country been duped into venerating these criminals over the lawmen?

The answer is likely impacted by various factors, from bad cops to bad laws to race-baiting politicians to Hollywood. Yet despite all that, the truth is that we all rely on law enforcement in more ways than we may realize. They deserve our thanks and, even more significantly, our respect.

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