Martin Luther King must be rolling in his grave.
After employing peaceful but determined tactics, he and other activists brought about the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act and systemically changed the way blacks and whites interacted in America. When blacks were being indiscriminately murdered and denied the right to vote, get educations or move into neighborhoods of their choosing, Dr. King and his followers banded together in positive determination to change things. And they succeeded.
Flash forward 50 years, and what do we have? The rabble-rousing group known as Black Lives Matter, borne from the disturbing rash of unarmed black men dying at the hands of police officers. I'm betting that a majority of BLM members have never studied what brought about passage of the Civil Rights Act. That's too bad. They could learn a lot.
Look, all clear thinking citizens were shocked at the growing body of evidence that proved some law enforcement officers (a tiny percentage of the nation's 900,000 sworn officers), were shooting first and asking questions later. A majority of Americans stood behind the idea that the offending officers should be criminally charged. The Black Lives Matter movement had us on their side. But then they began their baffling and downright offensive campaign.
They have graduated from disrupting the appearances of sympathetic presidential candidates (why they ever thought that would help their cause is mystifying) to marching at the Minnesota State Fair, chanting within earshot of their protective police detail, "Pigs in a blanket. Fry 'em like bacon." For those who don't know the term, "fry 'em" is street talk for shoot them or kill them.
Please note, the Minnesota march took place just hours after a uniformed sheriff's deputy in Harris County, Texas, was executed — shot 15 times as he pumped gas into his cruiser. Three days later a Fox Lake, Illinois, officer was fatally shot and left to die in the street.
What would Martin Luther King Jr. say about the offensive tactics of Black Lives Matter? Perhaps more to the point, why haven't today's most visible black leaders spoken up to condemn the group's death taunts?
It's too soon for statistics to declare a trend, but on its face it seems the Black Lives Matter group — which began to coalesce after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August — may have spawned the very violence it proclaims it is against. They have embraced revenge not reformation. They still refuse to acknowledge that Brown was shot while attacking a police officer.
The result? As I write this, 21 law enforcement officers — both black and white — have been shot so far this year. In 18 of those cases the officer was ambushed. The incidents happened in Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri — no area of the country seems immune.
There is argument about whether it is now "open season" on cops as Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark put it — or whether police have become less diligent, fearing blowback, and criminals have stepped up to take advantage of the lull. But something ugly is happening.
The Black Lives Matter group doesn't want to hear that all lives matter. To embrace that idea is seen by them as diluting their core message. And worse, they seem to condone a destructive eye-for-an-eye strategy. The number of dead cops needs to equal the number of dead black men who die in police confrontations. Sick.
Here's the big difference: Those officers are part of a force that keeps us safe from crime and the bad guys who perpetrate it. They are our protectors, the first line of defense we call for help. And where does the most crime occur? In inner city, minority-populated areas, the very places the BLM protestors demand be made safer. Take away the cops (by fryin' 'em like bacon) and crime comes in. Simple concept.
Just ask a single mother or an elderly grandmother living in the projects whom they turn to when gunfire begins.
Here's a simple message to the Black Lives Matter movement. If you really want to make a difference, get a clue. Study the history of civil rights successes in this country and realize that shaking a fist never accomplishes as much as shaking a hand and working toward a common goal.
To find out more about Diane Dimond visit her website at www.dianedimond.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.