The police in the US are given a license to kill anyone who does not obey an order they give and those orders can easily become contradictions. So, in effect they arrogate to themselves the right to kill.
The training they get and the policies they follow are based on treating anyone they encounter as possibly a fraction of a second away from killing them in a Western movie style shootout. Only, those they kill may have no idea that the police see them as such a threat and indeed often they are not.
A big part of the problem lies with the way the police are protected from the consequences of their actions. They are just doing their jobs and they are trained to shoot those who disobey the “hands up” type commands and so, doing anything with your hands when they cannot be seen, even for a fraction of a second is taken as a life or death risk for a police officer.
This may be true, in some cases but to treat everyone the same way is absurd. If you are dealing with a known murderer, that’s one thing. If you are dealing with some homeless guy at a bus stop that is something else.
The black lives matter movement reflects the reality that US police kill more black people than white people proportional to their population sizes. Race is a factor but that does not mean racism is a factor. The police kill a lot more men than women (90%+are men), does that mean they are being sexist? Should we be saying Male Lives Matter as the slogan? Of course not. There are many factors that lead people into police encounters. Men are biologically more likely to be disagreeable and the extremely disagreeable type of person that refuses to communicate and willfully just disobey an order from the police, are much more likely to be men.
The Black Lives Matter slogan is problematic in so far as it moves the focus off of police extrajudicial executions and makes this about race instead.
The police should be there to keep the peace, but far too often, in the US at least, they don’t bring safety to those who call them but instead only increased danger.
This perception and reality is a demonstration of the failure of police to do their job right.
We need a better slogan than Black Lives Matter to focus on the issue properly.
Don’t Shoot First
Is one that captures the key idea of what needs to change. It goes to the heart of US culture of ‘Shoot first, ask questions later’.
It is also not directed only at police but is a general moral principle of non-aggression for everyone.
The tactical advantage of being the first to shoot is outweighed by the reputation gained of being a dangerous person/organisation that needs to be stopped.
So this is my suggested slogan which will be much more unifying:
DON’T SHOOT FIRST