Red Wing, Minnesota is a pretty quiet place. The Republican Eagle had a story of cows walking down Main Street. Holsteins, to be specific.
But they take disorder seriously in Red Wing, and really appreciate the work of their law enforcement officers in keeping cows in line. So the City Council decided that it was time to make their love matter with a hard-hitting resolution to back up their
cow-herders boys in blue.
The resolution calls for anyone who hurts a police officer to be charged with a hate crime. The hope is cities across the country adapt this stance.
Red Wing wants to take the lead in cities nationwide making it a hate crime to harm police. What gives rise to this passionate action in support of cops?
“Currently 30 officers in 2015 have been killed by gunfire, that’s a little over three a month,” Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman.
From Harris County, Texas to Fox Lake, Ill., officers have died at the hands of those who they swore to protect.
“They are targeting not the person but the position and the authority,” Pohlman said.
Cops have died in Texas and Illinois. You know where no cop has died? Red Wing. Maybe one stepped in a cow pie, but it’s hard to blame a cow for hate for doing what comes naturally.
A call to honor the lives lost came from the National Fraternal Order of Police. The group wants cities, counties and states to acknowledge this crisis and work with them to address the violent surge against officers.
“I think it’s a very trying time for law enforcement,” Pohlman said.
The irony that Red Wing wants to take the lead in getting cities nationwide to “acknowledge the crisis,” despite the fact that police killings are at the second lowest pace in forever, shouldn’t be lost on anyone. After all, in a city where it’s news that there are cows wandering down Main Street, the killing of a cop would be huge. Maybe the biggest thing that ever happened in Red Wing. Who can blame them for making a big deal about it.
Putting Red Wing and its cow issues aside, the idea that cop-hating should enhance the wrongfulness of harming a cop is a chilling notion. Whenever tragedy strikes, someone falls into knee-jerk mode and looks for the obvious bogeyman to blame.
In Harris County, Texas, as cited by Chief Pohlman of Red Wing’s crack police department, where a cop was killed, the reaction to the murder of Deputy Darren Goforth was to blame the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Our assumption is he was a target because he wore a uniform,” Hickman told reporters.
A hate crime? Well, actually, it was just facile bullshit when Sheriff Hickman had no clue what motivated the killer. As it turned out, the shooter was just another crazy. He may have been a crazy who, for whatever reasons crazies have, hated cops. But it was hardly what anyone would characterize as a hate crime, even if the characterization were valid to begin with.
The problem is that in America, people are allowed to hate cops. And to love cops. And to feel any damn way they please in between. We can think well of them or ill of them. We can hold opinions, whether well-founded or not. And a great many opinions are dumber than dirt, and we’re allowed that as well.
The likelihood of Red Wing, Minnesota, leading a national movement to turn harming a cop into a hate crime is significantly less than slim, mostly because no one knows they exist, no less gives a damn what either the city council or Chief Pohlman think about much of anything. Except maybe cows.
But the fact that the notion of adding the word “hate” before what would be a crime of the most significant degree has found its way to a place like Red Wing is a reminder of just how little regard we have for the right to think as we please.
It’s unclear whether Red Wing has any issues that might ever make it onto the Black Lives Matter radar. Hell, it’s unclear whether there are any African Americans in Red Wing at all. Who knows? Who cares? But even the nice folks of Red Wing are entitled to believe that police are out of control, are engaged in conduct that sacrifices the lives of people who pose no harm to cops, yet end up dead anyway.
When Sheriff Hinkman was called out for his knee-jerk cries of cop hatred following the death of Deputy Goforth, he refused to apologize.
The sheriff said the attack “strikes at the heart of law enforcement” and noted the “very dangerous national rhetoric that’s out there today.”
And when it gets to a point where cops are being assassinated, he said, this rhetoric is “out of control.”
“We’ve heard black lives matter,” he said, “all lives matter, well, cops’ lives matter too. So why don’t we drop the qualifier and just say ‘lives matter’ and take that to the bank?”
But if “lives matter,” then it’s no more a “hate crime” when harm befalls a cop then when harm befalls anyone else. And if every act of harm, of death, to anyone is a hate crime, then the rhetoric is reduced to meaninglessness. Even if it should ever happen in
Bumfuck Red Wing.
There is a lesson to be learned from this bit of effluvium coming out of a city where cows wandering down Main Street is big news. The same desire to drive one’s agenda, no matter how insignificant the voice or how ridiculous its application in a place where the Holsteins roam, into the gutter of un-America thought crime knows no bounds.
When a cop gets killed, you can bank on there being punishment aplenty. When an unarmed black man gets killed, you can test how long you can hold your breath waiting for the “investigation” to reach its conclusion. And when a cow gets killed, the nation will turn to Red Wing, Minnesota for its expertise.
Until then, we would do far better worrying about people dying than people hating cops for doing the killing. Because in America, we’re allowed to hate anyone we damn well please. We just can’t harm them for it.
H/T Andrew Brobston