On the night of Thursday 7 July 2015, snipers shot 12 police officers, killing 5, in Dallas, Texas during a protest about shooting violence. While under heavy gun fire, police managed to protect those gathered and disarm the situation without harming any protestors.
The Dallas incident makes me realize two things.
Good Police. The average police officer, in a very tense situation, while being shot at by multiple people with high-power automatic weapons, while holding a loaded weapon that’s ready to fire in self defense, in poor lighting, with chaos all around, with people running in every direction, that officer is NOT accidentally shooting people. Which shows the VERY stark contrast with those who kill unarmed people during a routine encounter and claim it’s justified in self defense. So, that’s one thing it makes me realize. There are some really good police who serve our communities passionately and they need to be appreciated and respected, and there are some others who really shouldn’t be police.
Injustice. The second thing it makes me realize is that probably any group when pushed far enough will become violent if all other peaceful means of protest have failed and the justice system has failed. When they see the killers of their innocent children exonerated. When they see their family members locked up in prisons by the millions, given long sentences for non violent crimes, being forced to work at slave wages. I think what happens is not a mindset of ‘revenge’ but it’s something where people ‘crack’ and they can’t even think straight when they see so much injustice so they just start acting crazy at some point. It makes people go crazy.
It’s super sad to see all this going on. It seems like these tragedies could be avoidable if we’d do three simple things:
(1) Training. Have only police of the highest quality of community training and tactical expertise.
(2) Community Policing. Emphasize Community Policing where these officers personally know and have talked to those in their communities. They should know the guy selling CDs, and should have bought some of his CDs, and know when his next CD is going to drop, – that level of connection to the community.
(3) Justice. When officers slip through the cracks, who really shouldn’t be serving in law enforcement, and they do something seemingly racially motivated and unnecessarily kill someone, those people should be punished, not exonerated. We should not allow a ‘good old boy’ network of favoritism to cover up police crimes.
Without these three things, it seems to me we will very sadly and unfortunately continue to see more of the same.
President Barack Obama
Below are comments from President Barack Obama regarding the Dallas shooting.
Below is a video interview with a suspect and his brother who were later determined to have been wrongly detained and accused.
Below is a video commentary from Trevor Noah about how it’s possible to be supportive of law enforcement while condemning police officers who fail to do their job.