by Yvette Carnell
For the better part of this week, the mainstream media has been piling praise on President Obama for taking steps to demilitarize local police. Totally ignored by everyone except the Capitol Hill press, however, is a bill Obama signed on Tuesday that would, according to The Hill, “create a national alert system to help authorities find people who kill, injure or make imminent threats against police.”
The bill was overwhelmingly supported by both parties and is named after the two New York police officers who were gunned down in December. The new system would alert police to “active and credible” threats against police officers.
“It’s important for us not only to honor their memory, it’s also important for us to make sure that we do everything we can to help ensure the safety of our police officers when they’re in the line of duty,” Obama said during the signing ceremony.
As advocates against police brutality demand the threshold be lowered for prosecuting police officers, Obama and lawmakers are doing the opposite; making it easier to catch those who threaten police officers, even though data shows that police work is not getting more dangerous, as The Washington Post‘s Radley Balko pointed out last year:
Policing has been getting safer for 20 years. In terms of raw number of deaths, 2013 was the safest year for cops since World War II. If we look at the rate of deaths, 2013 was the safest year for police in well over a century. At the current pace, we can expect to see a 17 percent increase in on the job law enforcement fatalities this year over last year. That would put the total number of police officers who die on the job this year at 117, making 2014 the second safest year for cops in terms of raw fatalities since 1959. It would also put 2014 as the safest year for fatality rates in over a century. You’re more likely to be murdered simply by living in about half of the largest cities in America than you are while working as a police officer.
It is, however, getting more dangerous to criticize the police.
In 2012, Thomas G. Smith was arrested by the Arena Police Department in Wisconsin for calling police officers racist on Facebook. Smith had accused the police of being racist after the department thanked the community for helping to apprehend two black kids.
After making the comment, Smith received a call from police asking if he had indeed made the critical post. Once he admitted making the comment, police came to Smith’s home and arrested him.
Prosecutors alleged that Smith’s speech could incite violence and was not protected by the Constitution. Although an appeals court eventually cleared Smith, he filed a lawsuit claiming police continued to harass him even after the ruling.
And recently, Ebony Dickens of Georgia was arrested for sharing a Facebook post about killing white police officers.
So while police continue to gun down unarmed suspects, the Obama administration and lawmakers continue to obsessively focus on ways to protect police.