Battling “Anti-Police Radicals”

And then this happened…

So, certain things are not at issue at all. For example, dude behind the camera yelling about the KKK and dropping the F-bomb every two seconds (his annoying little toddleresque tantrum dominates the footage appended to the end of the news story) is an idiot. He’s not worth the seconds I’d spend dismissing him or the keyboard characters it would take to do so. No need for discussion there. Likewise, anyone who yelled out and interrupted a recognized speaker at the meeting was out of line. No need for discussion there. And of course, anybody who pushed anybody was just plain wrong. Whether Jeff Roorda actually pushed the lady or others started the pushing, either way, they’re wrong. No need for discussion there either.

After dragging my face out of my palms and shaking my head in disbelief over this sophomoric display of petty counter-productivity, here is my one little tiny question. The “I am Darren Wilson” bracelet. Smart move?

Let’s be clear: I’m not asking if Roorda had a right to wear the bracelet. Of course he did. I’m also not questioning the value of the message. Darren Wilson was vilified and twice or thrice vindicated at least in the eyes of the law, so there’s nothing at all wrong with supporting him. My question is a very specific one: was it smart — tactically speaking — to wear that bracelet, at that time, at that place, with that audience (partially composed of “anti-police radicals” according to Roorda), given the purpose of that meeting (to invite public comment on a proposed Citizen Oversight Board), given Jeff Roorda‘s position (head of the police union), and given the simmering powder keg that the meeting was sure to be? Tactics are dictated by goals. So what was the larger goal of that meeting? And did the bracelet advance that goal?

On the one hand, I am disheartened by the often uninformed or misinformed anti-police sentiment that is pervading certain communities, which are not always but often liberal-leaning and majority black/brown. I do believe that misinformation must be rectified, and society must continue showing support for good cops, who put their lives and livelihoods in jeopardy for total strangers every day. (Whether Roorda’s spotty history makes him the most effective poster child for law enforcement under the circumstances is a separate issue for a separate post.) On the other hand, if the ultimate goal is “to mend the relationship between citizens and police” — and hey, I dunno, maybe that’s not the goal — but if it is, then was the bracelet necessary? Helpful? Harmful? A neutral non-issue? Does the noble principle of the bracelet win the day? Or was it a battle waged at the potential cost of the war?