The Blue Lives Matter Bill, which expands the hate crime laws to include police, firefighters, and ems, has been signed into law by Governor Edwards, making Louisiana the first state in the nation to pass such a law. Alexandria Rep. Lance Harris, who authored the legislation, says, "A misdemeanor is an extra fine up to $500, an extra six months in jail, and a felony is an extra $5000 and an extra 5 years in jail.", adding, "Animosity has been ratcheting up in some parts of the country and some areas of our society, so I think it's only prudent that we put this kind of law into place."

So, who would oppose such a bill? Who would feel threatened by a law that toughens penalties for criminals who target police, firefighters, and ems?

How about President of the Louisiana NAACP Ernest Johnson, who apparently doesn't own a television, radio, and has never read a newspaper in his life. Johnson says ''I haven't heard of any police officers being killed as a result of people just hating the individual just because the individual was a police officer and certainly not our firefighters."

This comment qualifies Johnson, in just my humble opinion, as the stupidest individual I have ever had to quote. However, he drills down deeper into stupid, adding, "The broad base would be, if we're going to deal with those two professions, why not doctors, why not news reporters?" Johnson also claims this bill is just a knee jerk reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement and will not stand up in court.

Johnson might do well to ask Senior Trooper Steven Vincent's family how they feel. Vincent was shot down after he pulled over to help a motorist in the ditch who told him "You're lucky. You're going to die soon."  And here in Shreveport, the mere mention of Officer Thomas LaValley's name silences a room. Tightens jaws.

And there is the divide. Laid out for all to see. One segment of our state feels that they are targeted by police because of their race. One segment of our state feels the police are being targeted because of their uniforms. One segment thinks a law to protect police is justified and necessary. One segment plans to sue to have that law thrown out.

I don't even know how to end this article without sounding angrier than perhaps I already do, so I'll just ask that you, that we, all of us, pray for both sides.

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