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#BlueLivesMatter is a racist response to tragedy

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno

Officers need to be honored differently

In the last two months, three Colorado police officers have been fatally shot in the line of duty. The tragic deaths of sheriff deputies Zach Parrish, Heath Gumm, and Micah Flick rallied the communities most directly affected—Highlands Ranch, Thornton, and Colorado Springs, respectively—as well as the larger Front Range, and all three surviving families received donations totaling more than $400,000.

Unfortunately, some people choose to remember these officers in a way that insults the communities they served.

Blue Lives Matter began when Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Missouri. Because witnesses claim Brown was shot despite having his hands raised in the air, and because Wilson fired six bullets at an unarmed man, protests erupted across the United States—including the Ferguson riots, a demonstration supporting Brown that lasted for more than two weeks.

Despite the fact that Wilson was never indicted for killing 19-year-old Brown, Blue Lives Matter began trending on social media attached to the claim that “law enforcement personnel are seen as easy targets and are consequently bullied by slander, illegitimate complaints, [and] frivolous lawsuits.”

To this day, the organizers of Blue Lives Matter admit that they exist as a response to Black Lives Matter, itself a movement that began to protest racially motivated acts of police brutality. Such incidents include the fatal choking of Eric Garner, who was unarmed; the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, who was pulled over for a broken taillight; and the death of Freddie Gray, who was given a fatal spinal cord injury after being taken into police custody.

Black Lives Matter was created because some American police officers murder people of color without reason or just cause. It is not, and never was, a claim that some lives are more valuable than others. It is a desperate plea for action to be taken against a deadly—and legalized—strain of racism.

Blue Lives Matter, however, is proud to admit it exists to silence what they call “the false narrative of Black Lives Matter.” One of their primary goals is to create a hierarchy of valuably lived lives, and police officers—even officers who shoot unarmed black children—will always rank on top. 

In regards to officers Parrish, Gumm, and Flick, Coloradans should honor their legacies by forgoing the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter. There has to be a better way to remember their sacrifices than by subjugating an entire class of American citizens. To truly honor them, we must believe in a more hopeful future than that.

Taylor Kirby
Taylor Kirby

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