On the afternoon of Nov. 28, officer Garrett Swasey responded to reports of an active shooter at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. Alleged gunman Robert Lewis Dear had reportedly taken hostages, and Swasey was called to help figure out how to defuse the situation.
Dear didn’t plan on going quietly, however, and in an exchange of gunfire with police, Swasey was killed in the line of duty — one of three people who died during the incident.
Swasey’s death was tragic, cruel and senseless. Swasey was doing his job, trying to protect the lives of those in the clinic. It’s the kind of heroism that should be commended by everyone, and particularly supporters of the law enforcement community who have rallied around the slogan “Blue Lives Matter.”
The phrase, co-opted from the Black Lives Matter movement, claims to reflect the sacrifices police officers make on a daily basis. But in the wake of Swasey’s death, the Blue Lives Matter crowd had little to say.
While the Blue Lives Matter Facebook page offered a memorial post for Swasey, the muted response elsewhere calls into question the true motives of a group of people who seemingly only speak up to drown out the voices of those calling for racial equality in policing. Even commenters who mentioned Swasey, saying something about him being blue and mattering, refrained from attacking his white killer the way black people who kill police officers are usually attacked.