The Criminalizing and Weaponizing of Clothing

During the investigation of the controversial shooting of Trayvon Martin, the left fought hard against “criminalizing” clothing. Specifically, leftist leaders and activists bristled that anyone would demonize the hoodie or hooded sweatshirt. Not that people did but the left said they did.

The funny thing is, as a cop, I know the reason people mentioned the hoodie so frequently wasn’t because the kid was black. It was because it was a part of the overall description. When residents see a suspicious person in their neighborhood, clothing is a necessary descriptor. If someone has a hood over his head, depending on the circumstances, it can make a person more suspicious. Instead of criminalizing, the leftist media decided to weaponize the hoodie against a fake attack on the apparell.

Many on the left elevated the hoodie to the status of cultural icon. NBA players donned hoodies at midcourt before games, people wore hoodies across the nation, and even a U.S. congressional representative wore one on the House floor.

In fact, one of the rare leftist-leaning officers I know, during a public event, conspicuously wore a rain jacket with hood up while eating Skittles. Was she sanctioned for this blatant political statement done while on duty? Of course, not—in liberal cities, leftist political protests are condoned even on duty. Conservative or libertarian commentary, however, are investigated—even if done off duty.

This bias is not surprising as NBC infamously demonstrated when it released an edited 911 recording of a resident reporting Trayvon’s description the day of the shooting. The recording stressed the caller said, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” We later learned NBC cut the 911 operator asking the caller if the suspicious person “was black, white or Hispanic.” This despicable act shows just how far the left will go to create events that push a prescribed narrative.

The mainstream media’s initial response to the recent Jussie Smollett hoax is just more evidence of the confirmation bias infecting leftist political and media social commentary.

After defending the hoodie for so long, now the left has been attacking so-called “MAGA” hats. Think about it: “Make America Great Again” is a political slogan. Yes, it is a viewpoint based on what a person feels is “great,” but it’s intended as a positive message. While the phrase implies America has not been great recently, that, again, is simply politics. So, members of a political party want something different than members of another party. Where’s the headline, there?

However, powerful voices in the media, entertainment, and politics have criminalized the wearing of clothing or displaying signs that show support for the current American president. By comparing the red MAGA hat as the “modern-day KKK hood,” as some have done, these leftist luminaries are putting innocent people in real physical danger. This is not extrapolation; this is literal. There are myriad examples from across the nation of leftist radicals assaulting people who are wearing MAGA hats or displaying other support for President Trump.

Leftist leaders, such as that luminary, neo-Democrat Senator Maxine Waters, talk about MAGA hats as being “dog whistles” and “triggers.” Hey, Lefties? Do you really think leftist logos and mottos displayed on clothing and placards don’t “trigger” conservatives and libertarians? I still see “I’m with Her” and “Feel the Bern” stickers on every other Prius or Leaf I’m stuck behind. I once saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with a Soviet sickle and hammer emblazoned on it. But I don’t give myself the permission the left obviously gives itself to react violently to it. They do because they’re good people and you’re bad people.

When walking with my wife on a popular local bike path, we pass a house with a large Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag flying. For a cop that flag may as well read: “What do we want? Dead Cops. When do we want them? Now!”

But I would never even consider damaging or removing that flag. Or confronting the residents. Why? Because I believe in something those in the neo-left do not. I believe in the U.S. Constitution and to even the vilest people’s right to peaceful free expression.

It’s important to remember neo-leftists are not assaulting MAGA hat-wearing people because they hate the color red, baseball caps, or hats in general. There’s another dimension to it. When violent leftist radicals physically attack political opponents for wearing clothing with political logos and slogans, vandalize their vehicles, or steal their yard signs, they are not attacking people’s actions; they are attacking people’s thoughts.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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