Tag: Anti-Police Violence

Five Dead in Dallas

Pure awfulness:

Five police officers were killed and seven others were injured in the ambush, which began during a protest over police violence Thursday night, officials have said. It was the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. Two civilians also were injured in the shootings, the Dallas mayor’s office said.

The deadly gunfire erupted in Dallas as videos showing two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota spurred protests and debate over police use of force across the country.

Brown told reporters it’s too soon to speculate on the suspect’s motives, and it’s unclear whether more suspects are on the loose.

At least one shooter was killed when a robot detonated a bomb he had on him. Three more are in custody. There’s aspect of this that are still unclear, but it was clearly a targeted attack. There’s a video out there of one of the killer stalking and shooting a cop to death.

Up until the shooting, the protest in Dallas was peaceful. So peaceful, in fact, that officers were not wearing riot gear and were shaking hands and posing for pictures with protesters to show their support for better community relations:

This is actually not a surprise. Dallas has been on the leading edge of police reform for some time. Since 2009, they have been emphasizing community involvement and de-escalation of dangerous situations. The results are astonishing. Huge drops in complaints of excessive force and police brutality. Huge drops in violent crime. Dallas was and is a city where things are going right. This would be pointless awfulness anywhere. But is especially painful to see this happen to a police force that has embraced the idea of reform and become one of the best in the country as a direct result.

We don’t know anything about the killers yet. There has been some ham-handed effort to connect this to Black Lives Matter, but that’s mostly a peaceful movement. The shooters themselves say they are not connected to a group, but this sounds way too coordinated and planned for a spontaneous event. What I’m reminded of more than anything is the Charleston church shooting. That guy wanted to start a race war. I suspect these guys did as well.

Yesterday, I wrote about police violence and the need for reform. I stand by what I said. Simple Justice:

There is nothing inconsistent about mourning the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, while simultaneously mourning the murders of five Dallas cops and wounding of another six, who might have died but for where the bullets happened to strike.

Today is a day for grownups to talk the children off the ledge. These four shooters in Dallas do not reflect the Black Lives Matters movement, and any screaming that it proves anything is absurd. At the same time, there is no justification for the murder of these Dallas cops. The deaths of black men at the hands of police does not mean killing random cops is a legitimate response. Ever.

A concept that has been raised is that we now live in a fact-free democracy, where feelings have replaced facts and reason to guide our actions. This is what comes of your “passion,” death. The toxic mix of passion, anger, self-righteousness and ignorance will solve nothing. As the New York Times asked, when will the killings stop? They will stop when we stop indulging our base instinct to do as we feel instead of as we think. If we can’t get past our indulgence of mindless, simplistic emotional indulgence, the number of dead bodies will continue to grow.

I said yesterday that there was no War on Cops. That is still true. Back in the 70’s, this sort of things happened on a semi-regular basis. And parts of our society cheered it. That is thankfully no longer the case.

But … this is a reminder that the huge decline in anti-police violence and murders of police was not inevitable and is not guaranteed to last. Society is always a few steps away from chaos and bloodshed. If we are to keep policing safer than it has been since the 19th century, that means condemning violence of any kind, punishing those who commit violence and supporting the right of the police to do their job without being killed.

Five men are dead. Seven more are wounded. Lives are shattered. Blood is on the floor. Killing is wrong whether it happens at the hands of a cop or the hands of someone who hates cops. Let’s not let these shooters win and tear things apart. Let’s respond the way we did to the Charleston shooter: by working even harder to stop violence against anyone.