Tampa’s ‘Back The Blue’ Street Mural Deserved to be Defaced

Great art can change your life. Good art can make your day. Bad art can trend on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

Volunteers in Tampa, Fla. painted a “Back The Blue” street mural in front of the city’s police headquarters last weekend—apparently without a permit. On Tuesday night, the mural was defaced with tar and red paint; the Tampa police have yet to offer comment. In all honesty though, it looks like an improvement. Because while the mural was directly inspired by various Black Lives Matter street murals in cities across the United States, there’s one key difference: it looks like absolute garbage.

As scores of people pointed out, the blue line running through the words is uneven and the misshapen letters are almost illegible. Even the readable letters are shoddily traced, and the final “e” looks more like a crudely drawn map of Minnesota than a letter in the English alphabet. #BockTheBlub briefly trended on Twitter making fun of what the mural looks like it actually says.

The jokes practically wrote themselves.

Twitter dunks aside, the Tampa mural perfectly represents the Blue Lives Matter mindset. It’s entirely appropriative and reactionary, basing its entire existence off of something it considers an evil threat. It was created to show support for an institution that is backed by massive government funding and regularly abuses its mandated state power over citizens it’s supposedly designed to protect and serve. Blue Lives Matter-minded folks trash Black Lives Matter activists and protestors for attacking American values and desecrating the flag while they themselves actively decry a human rights movement and wave an ugly appropriated version of the American flag.

Blue Lives Matter is hypocritical in terms. There’s no such thing as a blue life, and yet they demand greater respect and rights than those which are habitually denied to overpoliced Black and brown communities across America. This “movement” wouldn’t exist without Black Lives Matter, and neither would this bootlicking mural. We’d all be better off without both.