A Cape Coral teen who makes teddy bears to help grieving children of fallen police officers is facing backlash after a social media post supporting law enforcement.
Teenager Megan O’Grady founded Blue Line Bears in 2016 as a way to support the families of fallen police officers.
“After the attack on Dallas in 2016 where the five officers were ambushed and killed, that’s when I really decided to start Blue Line Bears because I wanted to do something to help the families,” O’Grady said.
“Over 200 families and over 730 bears,” she explained.
In that time, she has helped more than 200 families by using the uniforms of their fallen family members to create these bears. “When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, I take one of their uniform shirts and I make them into teddy bears for the kids,” she said.
O’Grady is the daughter of an officer so she feels a special connection to these families. For the past four years, most of her interactions have been supportive – until a few weeks ago when she posted on social media in support of police.
“We got a bunch of really good comments and then they started being really, really negative,” O’Grady said. “They were like ‘I hope that your dad got shot in the face,’ ‘I hope that he’s the next officer you have to make a bear for,’ ‘I hope your whole family gets killed’ — it was really bad.”
It made her break down and it was scary for her. “It all kind of came at once the wave of emotions and I just broke down in tears,” O’Grady said. “It’s scary being the child of a law enforcement officer in the environment in the United States right now because more now than ever my dad could leave the house and never come back.”
The O’Gradys plan to get rid of the Blue Line Bears logo wraps on their cars because they simply aren’t safe to drive. “It feels like everything that I stand for is under attack right now and so it’s heartbreaking seeing it happen,” O’Grady said.
Through her post, she just wanted to support law enforcement and let people know that the aversion to police also hurts their families. “Law enforcement isn’t the problem; just because there’s a couple bad apples out there doesn’t mean that everyone is bad and we shouldn’t generalize all officers as bad people because they really aren’t,” she said.
“The message that I was trying to get across is this whole thing, this whole police attitude that everyone has right now, well a lot of people have right now, it doesn’t just hurt the police themselves, it hurts everyone who is associated with them and it hurts their families,” O’Grady said.
She simply wanted to share what it’s like to be the daughter of an officer. “I wanted people to know what it’s like being on the other side of things when you’ve done nothing wrong and you’re being punished for something that someone else did across the United States.”