The Dallas shooting will no doubt buoy ongoing efforts by police departments and representatives around the country to see officers officially recognized as a persecuted minority. In May, Louisiana Gov. Jon Edwards passed a Blue Lives Matter bill, which renders targeting an officer a hate crime. Last year, the 300,000-member National Fraternal Order of Police union ask Congress to include police officers under its hate-crime statute as a protected minority. On Capitol Hill, the House and Senate have both introduced a “Thin Blue Line Act,” which would strengthen penalties for attacks on law enforcement.
Numerous layers of bad thought undergird these initiatives. For one, they only serve to make what is already de facto the case in our criminal-justice system the de jure case, too. Long before Blue Lives Matter entered the rhetoric, numerous state houses had specific, harsher sentencing mandates on their books for cop killers. New York’s minimum sentence for the murder of a police officer has been life in prison for over a decade. To kill a cop is already a criminal-justice mark of Cain.