The number is 61.

With one more month to go in 2016, the horrifying truth is that 61 families of the nation’s law enforcement officers from Alaska to Texas, Massachusetts to Mississippi, New Mexico to New York will celebrate the end of the year holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s with an empty place at the table.

The officers – a 30-year veteran on his final shift the day before retirement, a new mother just back from maternity leave, a newlywed, an officer who had taken her oath just the day before – were shot to death while serving in the line of duty.

They were black. White. Hispanic. Asian. Male. Female. Gay. Straight.

What they had in common was that they woke up every day, put on the blue and the badge and left the house not knowing whether they would walk back in the door that night when their shift was through.

And this year, 61 didn’t.

Many more were shot and injured, some critically.

Their crime was the blue uniform in a time when the false narrative born of perjured testimony by motivated activists paints all of them, and so each of them, with a broad-brushed target.

The philosophy of the moral relativist is that if black lives matter, then blue lives can’t.

Florida is not going to wait until one of their own law enforcement officers goes down in the line of fire, as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in both houses have introduced a bill that makes a criminal offense against a first responder a hate crime.

Judges and correctional officers are also included within the newly protected class.

Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Porter and Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala are proposing a state “Blue Lives Matter” law, the second such law in the nation.

Louisiana enacted the first, in May, amending the state’s hate crime statute adding, “actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel” to traditionally protected status of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, nationality and age.

Sen. Baxley says the name of the bill is significant.

“I think we need to step forward and not just let our first responders know that we’re not just for them, we’re with them… I just don’t think you should be a target of attacks, simply because of who you are in serving the public.”

Although it would seem hard to disagree with offering such a simple degree of protection to those who risk their lives to protect the public, Allison Padilla-Goodman, a regional director at the Anti-Defamation League says the organization is “not happy” that it is being signed into law.

“Working in a profession is not a personal characteristic, and it is not immutable,” she said, although it does support enhanced penalties for crimes targeting law enforcement officers simply by virtue of their profession.

Padilla-Goodman said her organization but she said the law, “weakens the impact of the Hate Crimes Act by adding more categories of people who are already better protected under other laws.”

The author of the Louisiana law put it succinctly referencing the murder of a county sheriff’s deputy in Texas, “It looked like it was strictly done because someone didn't like police officers, like a hate crime.”

That definition of hate may well be enough to make life tough on cop-killers in the state of Florida if “Blue Lives Matter” becomes law.

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Source: WFSU

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