On the surface, Ken Buck's "Blue Lives Matter" proposal looks good. Like Mr. Buck said, "I can't imagine anyone would be opposed to protecting police officers." I agree. My brother is a cop. I would do anything to protect him and his fellow officers.
But Mr. Buck's bill is not intended to protect police officers. It is a cynical political ploy designed to further divide our country and to garner votes for himself and his Right Wing colleagues.
Conservatives typically oppose laws for hate crimes, which they often refer to as "thought crimes." They maintain that all violent crimes should be prosecuted vigorously, regardless of who the victim might be. Colorado and many other states already require either the death penalty or life without parole for the killing of a police officer. There is no legal or prosecutorial benefit to be gained by classifying the killing of a police officer as a hate crime. There is, however, a strong potential political benefit to be had by exploiting the deaths of these honorable men and women.
Good cops resolve conflicts. Likewise, a true statesman sees the big picture and works to bring people together. With this bill, Buck has intentionally done just the opposite. His deliberate appropriation of the slogan "Black Lives Matter" is a giant middle finger to people who are legitimately concerned about the very real problem of the use of excessive force by rogue officers. The title "Blue Lives Matter" virtually guarantees that this bill will incite division and violence, much of which will be directed at the very officers that Mr. Buck claims to want to protect. It inflames the conflict and divides people. This is type of schoolyard taunting is very popular among the Donald Trump -Ted Cruz wing of the Republican party. It also has the potential to make the country explode.
If Ken Buck is really concerned about protecting police officers, then he should come out against armor piercing "cop killer" bullets. He should make it harder for criminals and potential terrorists to acquire military-grade weapons. He should provide funding for more training in conflict resolution so officers are better equipped to deescalate potentially deadly situations before anyone is killed.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a total of 94 police officers were killed while on duty last year, 52 in traffic-related accidents and 42 from gunfire. These men and women died while protecting us and our values. They deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.
Ken Buck wants us to believe that those who oppose his bill are in favor of people killing police officers. Nothing could be further from the truth. We oppose his bill because we don't want to make the job of policing more difficult and more dangerous than it already is.
Bob Seay is a Democratic candidate for Congress in Colorado. His opponent is Ken Buck. Learn more at BobForColorado.org