Hailed as a new #BlackLivesMatter anthem, 16 shots by Vic Mensa has a deadly message for those misguided by the movement. Calling for a war on police, Mensa angrily raps about how they should run from him since he will now be shooting back.
In my last article, the Implications of Black Lives Matter, I discussed how there has now been wide spread retaliation against police which has led to a drastic increase in police deaths. Furthermore, the intense media scrutiny and provocation from liberal activists has reduced the efficiency of the police who now must second-guess how they perform on the job or risk being the next demonized example across the media.
While the first effect of the movement was an end to proactive policing, the unbridled anti-police messages of these idolized rappers may inspire even more attacks against the police.
While we would be wrong to deny that there have been instances of police brutality, waging war against the police is not going to solve anything. As a civilian, however, my opinions on the matter can only go so far, and that is why I reached out to Officer Harrington for the perspective of the police on how to fix these issues.
According to Officer Harrington, over the past several years, all officers have taken professional development to improve how they interact with civilians: “How we interact is something we all can improve on. I always begin my confrontations with civilians in a respectful manner. If they are unresponsive because they are either high or intoxicated then we have to change our behavior, but usually we are treated the way we treat civilians.”
While training may seem like a simple fix, Harrington notes that the media continues to profit from sensationalized stories about police. Until they take more responsibility to report objectively, the public distrust for officers will not get better.
“There was just another shooting, and when the media reported it, they made sure to say that it was yet another incident between a white police officer on a black civilian. By first identifying their races, the public automatically assumes the police to be at fault when we were responding to a suspect shooting at a convenience store.”
While the media continues to feed into this narrative of police brutality, Officer Harrington feels the president has a responsibility to support police, but instead “…he encourages their protesting, without reminding people that they still should help and respect the police.”
Yet even when officers have been attacked and persecuted, he still defends the rights of protestors: “This is America. The first amendment protects your right to protest, but police have a duty to protect you. As somebody who puts a badge on, I put myself in the shoes of everyone who protests and I can see why they are upset, but they must do the same for us.”
Respect for the police, however, has greatly diminished. “People are now spitting at police, throwing rocks and calling them murderers,” he said. “They don’t understand that these people hang up their uniform at night and go back to their families. That stuff sticks with you as a person.”
At a time when no one seems willing to defend the police, Officer Harrington wants to remind people that police as a whole are not the bad guys.
“In my law enforcement career, I’ve worked with all different races, ethnicities and religions. None of that matters in the force—we are all brothers and sisters. We just want to make sure everyone gets home safe and sound at the end of the night, while helping the community as best as we can. 99.9 percent of police officers across the country have the same exact attitude as we do in my hometown and civilians need to remember that.”