Unlike most bloggers I don’t write and publish immediately. This is especially true when I deal with shootings and terrorist events. I have learned that the initial reports and reality often have much more of a gap than I am comfortable with. I’m not criticizing the media. They try and do the best they can. It’s just as things quickly unfold some accounts are later found to be less than totally accurate. I moved another article to a future publishing date in order to accommodate today’s comments. My topic today is the shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas.
This week Alton Sterling was shot to death by police in Baton Rouge. Philando Castile was shot to death by police in Falcon Heights. At least five police were shot to death by a sniper(s) in Dallas, Texas. At least seven lives were needlessly lost and countless other negatively impacted. If you are looking for detailed reporting of these events please look elsewhere. Mine will be a social comment.
At this point, Sterling and Castile’s deaths appear to be suspect to say the least. I will not attempt to try the officers involved until we know all the evidence but the preliminary reports don’t look favorable for them. The details of what went down in Dallas are still coming to light at this writing but this much is crystal clear: there is absolutely no justification for anyone taking the lives of the Dallas law enforcement personnel involved!
We have a gun problem in America. It seems the only people in the world having a problem recognizing that fact are Americans. By simply looking at the statistics we can see that we have a problem in the way black males are treated by too many police officers; unfortunately too many of those encounters end with dead black men.
On Thursday evening in cities across America people took to the streets to demonstrate against the problem of black men being shot to death during interactions with law enforcement. Some of those shootings are justified. Obviously many of them are not; otherwise we would be dealing with one heck of a statistical anomaly. I am not going to speak to the specifics in these two cases; at least not here and now.
During the demonstration in Dallas a shooter(s) decided to act as sniper(s) and cowardly gun down several members of Dallas law enforcement killing at least five. At this writing there are several details that disturb me which I need to know more about. At this writing it also appears the sniper(s) were not associated with the legitimate protesters or any of their “sponsoring organizations”.
While I often disagree with the strategy of many protesters and protest movements I understand the value of protest. Dr. King was among those who taught us that protests bring attention to a problem. The problems are more likely solved via the political process which reinforces the importance of voting and is the underlying reason that Republicans put so much effort into suppressing the vote.
The protests must be non-violent! While I’m not a big proponent of it, many feel that civil disobedience including arrest is necessary to bring sufficient attention to a problem. What all agree on is that violence is counterproductive!
Killing anyone, especially cops, will only bring negative attention to a cause. In order for a social movement to be successful it needs the support of the people. Many individuals start out unaware and/or ambivalent to an existing problem. Violence, especially the killing of law enforcement personnel, will turn them off and away from your cause. If the sniper(s) thought they were helping the cause or winning people over to their side they were badly misdirected and sadly mistaken!
Here is one of my bottom line feelings: if a guy or gal with a gun, badge and stick isn’t safe then I’m certainly not! The first two killings need to be investigated. In the case of Dallas my mind, and that of almost every other American, is already made up; there is no justification for killing police officers by cowardly sniping them!
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