The Punisher is a fictional Marvel character who fights crime with a vengeance. But unlike most arbiters of justice in the real world, he’s totally cool with murder, torture and other violent and criminal means to get the job done.
A Kentucky police chief announced Friday that he removed the Punisher’s skull logo ― featured alongside the phrase “Blue Lives Matter” ― from his department’s vehicles after putting two-and-two together. All it took was a little help from some angry, enlightened people.
The Catlettsburg Police Department in eastern Kentucky, a small force that serves a population of about 2,500, had emblazoned the logo on the hoods of its vehicles, a move that some locals enjoyed, but everyone else hated, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Don’t worry, though. If a Punisher skull next to “Blue Lives Matter” seems a tad aggressive, it is definitely, most assuredly, not racist or a defiant response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Police Chief Cameron Logan said so himself!
“That design is basically to give back to the police officers,” Logan told the Herald-Leader after the logos were installed. “Our lives matter just as much as anybody’s. ... I’m not racist or anything like that, I’m not trying to stir anything up like that. I consider it to be a ‘warrior logo.’ Just ’cause it has ‘Blue Lives Matter’ on the hood, all lives matter. That decal represents that we will take any means necessary to keep our community safe.”
That quote came back to haunt Logan, as “any means necessary” in the Punisher’s world includes (but is certainly not limited to) throwing a suspect into a house fire and watching them burn. Some taxpayers apparently didn’t like paying for that kind of message.
“We’re getting so many calls, and they’re saying that the Punisher logo [means] we’re out to kill people, and that’s not the meaning behind that,” the chief told io9. “That didn’t cross my mind.”
The Punisher has been making appearances on Blue Lives Matter social media pages and merchandise for some time. The use of the logo often has been criticized because the Punisher’s message isn’t one of law enforcement or protection ― it is objectively filled with revenge and murder, without event a hint of innocent-until-proven-guilty.