A True North Idahoan's Position On BLM
Updated: Sep 4
In response to those who have asked me how I would approach BLM (Black Lives Matter) as Sheriff of Kootenai County
This issue matters
This may be one of the most important and sensitive issues of our time. I'm running for Sheriff of Kootenai County in the 2020 race. I was born and raised in beautiful Kootenai County. I'm also the only candidate who is from Idaho. This area has struggled through some notable issues with racism over the years. It has also struggled with a reputation that is not representative of the vast majority of the community. Sure, there's a lot of red up here; but we're good people. We're also caring people. We now actually have harsher penalties for those who commit hate crimes than most places in the country.
The truth isn't always popular; but it's always bulletproof. The Sheriff should be a reflection of the people. The Sheriff is not to represent or favor factions or ideals. The community is American. We have a constitution and laws to guide us though this.
What Is BLM? It's Not Just One Thing
BLM stands for "Black Lives Matter". This acronym represents three things to me:
1) A statement that the lives of black people (and brown people) matter
2) A movement representing a desired direction for society
3) An actual organization called "Black Lives Matter", complete with leadership and an agenda
1) Black Lives Matter - The Statement
Do lives of black people matter? You bet they do. And lives of black people matter to almost everyone I can think of around here, including the ones I've heard vocally condemning BLM. All people deserve to enjoy life, equally. I do acknowledge that the world isn't perfect and racism exists. I believe it is important for people to try to listen when there are others who are in pain or trouble. As fellow Americans, and fellow humans, we should try our best to do so. Would you reach out and grab someone's hand to save their life? Would they reach out and grab yours for you? I think so. Being at odds is not unusual. Just remember during this time that we are all closer friends than you may think we are.
2) Black Lives Matter - The Movement
What is the movement? People of black and brown skin color feel they are still facing a disproportionately different experience than their caucasian counterparts. They want to implore fellow Americans to engage in (and maintain) a dialogue. They want to have a collaborative effort to evaluate and refine policies, so that a "balanced" American experience can be had by all.
We are Americans. Protesting is legal with a permit. It's easy to get a permit and go protest. It's NOT legal to vandalize, loot or become violent. I understand emotions run high; but the laws must be followed during the process.
We should protect our citizens and protect their right to legally protest. Lawlessness in my county will not be tolerated to any degree, and will be ended swiftly, legally, and professionally.
I understand "bad apples" better than any other candidate in this race... But I must remind our brethren, that police officers are people too. There's an old saying: "Don't shoot the messenger"... and so, protest if you feel the need; but I will not be shamed for saying "blue lives matter too". Those officers will risk their lives to save you from a burning car today, whoever you are.
3) Black Lives Matter - The Organization
I recognize the right for the organization BLM to exist. I have heard many things about this organization. This is one of the pain points I'm seeing. Many citizens who disagree with BLMs agenda, are chastising the organization - and they have a right to do that. If they do, that doesn't mean they're against BLM the movement or BLM the statement that lives of black people matter.
BLM, the organization is not a person, of course. It represents an organized initiative to create change. It represents a specific agenda. It represents ideals. Some may agree with BLM, and some may not.
As Sheriff, it is not my position to judge an organization or research and tell the public what to think about them. We have laws. Unless the federal government chooses to inform me that an organization is a terrorist threat, I must honor the constitutional provisions, which allow it to exist. When or (if) the people of such an organization commit crimes, it is then my time to step in and control the situation.
ANTIFA (is NOT BLM)
ANTIFA has been associated with the BLM protests. It is said to be an unofficial, illusive, vigilante style group with its own agenda, that organizes and uses lawless tactics to create chaos. Such tactics can include starting fires, vandalizing property, and even committing violent acts against citizens. I will heed any instructions from our federal leadership on how to categorize ANTIFA.
There is no shortage of people ready to protect the community around here; but they won't need to. I will expand our volunteer reserve deputy program. We'll have plenty of local (trained) reserve deputies to be on scene. If any individuals, groups, trucks, or busses full of people roll in and attempt to cause damage, they will be met with the same swift, legal, and professional action as any criminal. Lawlessness will not be tolerated.
VIOLENT ANTIFA PARTICIPATORS: You are not BLM to me. You are not black people to me. You are not white people to me. Your violence is a threat to our democracy. I hope the issues that cause your anger are resolved, legally; but hear me when I say - if you bring violence to my county, you'll sleep in jail.
The Truth Isn't Always Popular - But It's Always Bulletproof
We must listen to those who are hurting; but the truth is:
- Black lives matter
- Blue lives matter
- All lives matter
But most of all, my fellow Americans:
Nagel For Sheriff of Kootenai County 2020
This is OUR County, this is OUR Sheriff