Monday, August 31, 2015

Acknowledging That ALL Lives Matter

(You may find something that you disagree with here.  If you do, it's fine to share your opinion, but please do so in a kind way that promotes conversation instead of shutting it down.)


Darren Goforth, a 47 year old man who had been a police officer for 10 years was killed this weekend. Reports say that it appears to have been an unprovoked attack, simply because Goforth was in a cop's uniform. Josh Feldman writes:

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?”

Photo courtesy of Fox News

I'm glad you asked. I'll tell you why.

Black lives matter.
Women's lives matter.
Men's lives matter.
Cops' lives matter.
Babies' lives matter.
Indigenous people's lives matter.
All lives matter.

Saying any one of these things doesn't preclude the others; it merely speaks to a problem that the speaker sees in front of them.

Cancer is a horrible illness.
ALS is a horrible illness.
Parkinson's is a horrible illness.
MS is a horrible illness.
All illnesses are horrible illnesses.

Saying any one of these things doesn't preclude the others, it merely speaks to a problem the speaker sees in front of them.

If someone says to you, "Black lives matter," don't respond with "All lives matter." You wouldn't react that way to a cancer patient.  Imagine that conversation...


"Cancer is a horrible illness."

"Stop saying that! All illnesses are horrible. Can't we accept that ALS and MS are bad too? My Grandma has Parkinson's and Lewy Body Disease. Why are you going on and on about your cancer all the time? Can't you acknowledge my Grandma?"


No one says that. That would be incredible hurtful to the person walking through everything involved in dealing with cancer.

Cancer is horrible.
Dementia is horrible.
MS is horrible.
All illness is horrible

Black lives matter.
Cops' lives matter.
Babies' lives matter.
All lives matter.

When someone kills a police officer because of the "Black Lives Matter" campaign/rhetoric, that person clearly does not understand that ALL lives matter. It is good and important to remind the world that ALL lives matter. It is also good to tell our stories about why individual groups of people's lives matter. That's how we are able to understand the world around us. Asking us to remove the qualifier negates many conversations that could be had, conversations that would allow us to understand each other better.

So, yes, "Lives Matter." ALL lives matter.

There will always be evil around us. The way we discuss life, with its good and bad, forms the framework for how we act and react. The man who killed the police officer clearly did not understand that all lives matter.  Have that conversation with people if you haven't.  It's a good and important comversation to have.

And when someone tells you that a specific life matters, please listen. There just might be a reason they're feeling that way.

(Inspired by a June 20, 2015 Facebook post by Jamie-Grace Harper. Spurred on by a quotation from Sheriff Ron Hickman.)


  1. I agree with what your saying all lives matters.

  2. I agree all lives matter. However, there are reasons why there is “Black Lives Matter” movement.
    The statistics are proving that there is a big difference the way the law enforcement has dealt with black men as oppose to the other races. We are seeing the results of this inequality of justice with the senseless deaths of civilians and officers by individuals who will take it to the extreme.
    All lives does matter but having read about a lot of black experience with the justice system I can’t fault many of them who do wonder does black lives matter? However, I think the movement has gone more on the radical fringe.

    1. And that's why I say, "Let's listen. There just might be a reason they're feeling that black lives matter,"

      Since all lives matter, we need to start listening to each individual cry.

  3. It seems to me that there are too many oddities involved in the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

    1. As you mention, All Lives Matter. Clearly, the worst of the movement has brought about death to those who are here to protect them, whether or not they feel protected by the individuals in question.

    2. A movement against Planned Parenthood could have the same title--not only because of the high volume of blacks who get abortions, but also because Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, had blacks in mind when she spoke of eradicating the lesser races.

    3. A movement against gang violence could have the same title, as gang violence tends to create black on black crime more than any other.

    Perhaps the current movement, hotly engaged in violent acts against policemen and other authorities, ought to be a little less myopic about which black lives matter.

    Which reminds me... why are they suddenly willing to use the word "black" again? Shouldn't this whole thing be called "African-American Lives Matter"? I'm confused.

    1. I try not to figure out too much about "racism" because it tends to result in me being called racist. (Even saying that will induce barbs from some of my friends.)

      I get that there is racial prejudice that causes some police officers to treat people unfairly.
      I get that there is racial history that causes some people to treat police officers unfairly.

      I don't get why we can't treat people as people. There are too many people who aren't being treated as people. Babies. People with a variety of skin tones. People with different jobs. People with too many chromosomes. It's so frustrating. I feel useless in this discussion, but I feel like it's a conversation that's always worth having. If people can't figure out how to love each other, then I'll keep talking about it.

      We are all created in the image of our Father. We all matter. Each individual group or sect or culture or whatever label people want to use to divide people, we all matter.

      Thanks for your thoughts.