…This picture is from an unrelated incident that happened in Dallas a few years ago. I just wanna put that out there before I begin.
About 3 hours ago, at least two unknown suspects opened fire during protests in the Downtown Dallas area. The protests were over the shootings of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement in the last 48 hours in Minnesota and Louisiana. The suspects’ targets were Law Enforcement. As of right now, 5 officers are dead and 12 are wounded. The lastest info from CNN is three suspects are in custody and a fourth is dead. Dallas Police announced this morning the fourth and final suspect was killed by a robot due to the high risk of bodily harm.
Moving on, I felt it important I post this given the tone of my previous blog post. Emotions are obviously very high. Thursday night’s shooting is a horrible tragedy. I agree with those who have called it an act of terrorisn. I’ll speak more to this piece in a bit but as a reminder, not all terrorists are Muslim or from the Middle East.
It is also worth remembering a similar incident happened in New York City after the death of Eric Garner. Two cops were ambushed and executed in broad daylight. I feel it especially important to share this tweet sent out a short time ago:
As is often the case, when there is a protest there is a police detail. I have attended demonstrations and protests over the years myself. I wlll be the first to tell you law enforcement keep their distance UNLESS there is a threat to public safety. As has often been the case at demonstrations in reaction to the recent high-profile deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement, the protesters are not only peaceful but they are respectful to the police detail. In Baltimore, protesters actually formed a human shield to protect law enforcement from those who came looking to retaliate with violence.
…On that note, I am keenly aware that sadly there are people who are happy to see this. Both as a form of vengeance/retaliation and for what it could mean down the road. This is a senseless act of mass murder as well as an act of terrorism. While I do see the irony this comes 3 weeks after the Orlando nightclub shooting, this is just as bad a situation. It will also a huge setback for the Gun Control Lobby, which had been fighting to demilitarize law enforcement after Ferguson, Missouri. In the week after Michael Brown’s death, law enforcement suppressed efforts by the people of Ferguson to peacefully protest–which the media recorded. The Missouri State Police ended up taking over the city due to how hot emotions were.
Texas being an open carry state aside, the Blue Lives Matter movement will use this to make the case to further militarize law enforcement. At the very least, I expect to see calls for it to happen. What needs to happen instead is for the leaders of Black Lives Matter, families of people killed by law enforcement, the law enforcement community and families of slain law enforcement to come together and have a frank, honest dialogue. I think that is a good starting point to make the change we want to see.
I’ll close with this. While officers put on their uniform knowing they might not making it back alive, that does not automatically mean they’re expendible just because of the uniform they wear. They deserve to go home to their families at the end of the day just like everyone else. At the same time, I feel we can no longer expect one of the above four groups to “figure it out”. They need to come together. This is more of a reason to do so if we want to break the cycle and silence critics of all four groups.