There are Two Sides to a Story

Lillian Kay, Staff Writer

Adviser’s Note: The First Amendment gives our students freedoms to write about sensitive topics, but sometimes students have a reason to remain anonymous. The writer has recently decided to come forward with their identity. Please note that this is being published in the opinion section, and, as always, we do welcome comments and responses.

Recently the Black Lives Matter movement has resurfaced. And you may be asking yourself. What side is in the wrong and which side is justified? Are the police and government being racist or are BLM protesters being too extreme and blowing everything out of proportion?

BLM stands for “Black Lives Matter.” The Black Lives Matter movement is about making sure that people are aware that black lives are important and that they do matter. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.

A portion of the BLM supporters or protesters are using the acronym ACAB which means “all cops are bastards.” Some activists have proposed revising the acronym to the marginally less offensive [to] “All Cops Are Bad.”

The movement resurfaced because of the death of George Floyd on May 25th this year. George Floyd died at the hands of four racist police officers.

Many in the BLM movement also want the police to be defunded. Defunding the police does not mean that the police forces are to be abolished. It just means that some of the tax-payers money that is given to the police force could be re-routed to a different cause. This may or may not be a good move for the people.

The cost of four shirts, a badge and accessories like a name tag and patch cost about $400. Two pairs of new pants for an officer cost about $240. A police officer’s coat costs $250. How are police officers supposed to pay for that? And I’ll tell you this: that is not all of the gear that they use. That does not include a bulletproof vest. ONE bullet proof vest costs $299! They may not even be provided with the gear, or money to get the gear. So think about this before you decide to defund the people who protect you.

Are you going to start to lose all of your respect for the entire police force because some of them are corrupt and racist?

I read an article about two Los Angeles police officers that were ambushed in their squad car. The Associated Press described the attack on September 12th as, “a brazen ambush of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, [in] an apparently unprovoked shooting as they sat in a squad car outside a rail station.” These attacks aren’t a direct result of the BLM movement, but rather a result of people who are uneducated and who are making snap-judgements about all police officers.

The recent aggression and hatred towards police officers has had a huge impact on my family, especially as my dad is a police officer. Two acts of hatred towards officers actually happened to my family. One night a man tagged my house and spray painted “BLM” on my dad’s police car and our driveway. A separate night a guy came up to our house; he asked me to get my dad because he had seen my dad’s police car in the garage. When he was talking to my dad he said: “Now I know where you live,” and continued to threaten my dad and the rest of my family. This is a scary time for families who have someone in the police force. Innocent police officers are getting killed and it’s not right.

I strongly encourage you, and ask you to think about both sides, and to not just assume that the one you hear about the most is right or justified. Both sides have a story. Both sides have their problems to deal with. Both sides have people who are in pain.

I recently interviewed an officer and asked her a couple of questions about how the BLM movement has affected her and her work. She said, “It definitely makes people more skeptical of us.” I asked her if she has had any negative experiences with people who support the BLM movement. She said that she has not had any negative interactions with BLM supporters “yet”. She said yet, which I think is because a negative interaction could happen at any point. That uncertainty can cause many families with someone in the police force to make them fear what could happen when their loved one is at work.

I do not think that “all cops are bastards. ”Sure, there are some bad cops, but there are still plenty of good cops – whether you see it in the news or not. A lot of cops have done good things for people. Believe it or not, there was a time not too long ago when cops were appreciated.

I have two examples from a police officer. The officer said, “I made a traffic stop with this lady who didn’t have a valid license plate on her vehicle, and when I contacted her she also didn’t have a valid driver’s license and she didn’t have insurance for the vehicle. Normally in a situation like this I would tow the vehicle, and have it impounded. However she told me she was going to the grocery store to get milk for her son for breakfast, he was autistic. Instead of towing her vehicle I followed her back home, so that she wouldn’t get stopped by anybody else and that she made it home safely. I then went to the grocery store and I bought her milk for her son for breakfast and took it back to her.”

The officer goes on to explain another good deed he did: “When I was in the K9 unit, my dog Phoenix and I were doing an exercise break or a bathroom break in about 2 o’clock in the morning behind the sub-division, and there was a little girl who was having a hard time sleeping. When she saw Phoenix outside running around it helped calm her down so that she was able to go back to sleep. Her mom posted on facebook, that it was so nice to see an officer exercising in the middle of the night. I got her information and the next day I went and took her little girl, a Phoenix K9 card, one of the K9 unit patches, and a police coin.”

These are two examples of good deeds out of the many that officers have done for people. Did we lose ALL of the respect we had for the police force because a small part of the police force were racist?

People have been so focused on the negatives about cops, but there are some positive things to them! They save lives, they do good deeds, and they even put their life on the line just for yours! I’m sure that most police officers would take a bullet for anyone. Don’t throw away your respect for the people who keep you safe, and remember not all cops are bad and/or racist!