Thinking All Lives Matter and saying it out loud doesn’t mean those who express this are sincere. Most probably are but for some it’s merely a way of deflecting the criticism towards white police officers who appear to shoot young black men without provocation far more often than they do young white men.
It’s true that more black men are killed by other black men but it’s also true that the number of those who are killed by white cops is twice the rate of the percentage of blacks in America. It’s not that blacks are naturally more violent. It likely results more from the fact that a higher percentage of blacks live in poverty which is conducive to violent behavior.
When white people rush to defend all white cops with the meme #AllLivesMatter they are allowing those few bad cops to feel support from the community at large. There lives among us many who hold ingrained biases. When they are put in positions of power and authority the propensity to distribute justice fairly can and is often lost.
Putting white cops with underlying prejudices towards blacks in high crime areas that tend to be predominantly black is a time bomb waiting to explode. Do conditions warrant better recruitment measures and training that will reduce the likelihood of this bomb being ignited? In his commentary in the Harvard Law Review Forum Seth Stoughton notes that police officers in this country “are trained to cultivate a ‘warrior mindset,’ the virtues of which are extolled in books, articles, interviews and seminars intended for a law enforcement audience.”
Mental health too is a serious issue in this country and it is those individuals who are likely to commit heinous crimes against society when their conditions worsen. Persistent poverty breeds depression and persistent depression evolves into more serious, long-term mental health issues. Add to this the easy access to firearms for individuals in this country and the result is more gun crimes committed than in countries with stricter gun control laws.
Those who are offended by this fact like to cite localities like Chicago and Washington D.C. where strict gun controls have not reduced gun deaths. But small islands like this in a vast sea with easy access to guns hardly serve to distinguish our country from countries like Australia and most of Western Europe where the gun control measures are more universal.
The anti-government fervor among too many short-sighted individuals has reduced the revenue needed to fight poverty and mental health issues. Until serious efforts are implemented to create good paying jobs everywhere, especially low-income areas and deal intensely with mental health issues, murder and assaults with guns will continue unabated.
Finding bumper sticker arguments to defend personal agendas serves no functional purpose. It is ludicrous to suggest that All Lives Matter when a capitalistic society refuses to acknowledge that not all incomes are commensurate to prevent social and personal conditions that lead to violence.
But talk is cheap and in the end what matters more to some is that they not pay anything towards improving the lot of less fortunate members of society. Like the naive free-market belief in an invisible hand that will correct market conditions, those who are quick to claim All Lives Matter know damn well that ingrained racial biases and greed actually negate the idealism of both notions.