ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Politics and Social Issues»
  • Social Issues

Deaths in Dallas Reveal Racial Division

Updated on July 12, 2016
Bobby Shanahan profile image

Robert is a freelance writer/researcher in the Seattle, WA area. He covers current political, economic, and geopolitical news.

July 8, 2016. Dallas, TX, lit up in blue following the horrifying events of Thursday night.
July 8, 2016. Dallas, TX, lit up in blue following the horrifying events of Thursday night. | Source

Do blue lives matter?

Yet another lone gunman has rocked the nation.

North Texas Army veteran Micah X. Johnson was laughing and singing during a standoff with police following a sniper-ambush attack carried out at the end of a peaceful protest in Dallas last Thursday evening. The vicious attack, by a mentally unstable person who fought in Afghanistan, left five cops dead and seven others injured. Johnson did not like police officers, directly telling them he was upset about the recent shootings involving police and "wanted to kill white people, especially white officers."

After executing one more officer on ground level, an incident that was horrifically shown on television, Johnson was cornered by police inside the El Centro College building. Officers then attached an explosive device to a bomb robot and detonated it near Johnson, killing him, according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. During a search of his home Friday, detectives found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics. Apparently he had plans to do more damage, but luckily was unable to.

Social media accounts of the chaos that ensued following the first shots fired was overwhelming to digest.

Details are now emerging of Johnson’s radicalization and disgust with authorities, especially white law enforcement officers. Johnson had posed online doing a Black Power salute. Last Saturday he posted: “Why do so many whites enjoy killing and participating in the death of innocent beings.”

The shooter, Micah Johnson, posted a Facebook picture of himself posing with his black power fist clenched.
The shooter, Micah Johnson, posted a Facebook picture of himself posing with his black power fist clenched. | Source

Who is really under attack?

The horrific events in Dallas and its shattering aftermath reveal a deeply divided America. Black Americans feel they are being gunned down by white police officers, while police officers feel they are under attack across America. The media fans the flames of division and our politicians throw rhetorical bombs at each other, always blaming, never building. All the while, the story of the FBI not recommending charges against Hillary Clinton following an investigation involving her treatment of classified e-mail on a personal server while Secretary of State, has conveniently fallen off the headlines.

Americans are taking matters into their own hands. A race war that was brewing is now erupting.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, over 100 protesters were arrested and 21 police officers were injured during protests late Saturday and early Sunday in response to the killing of Philando Castile by police on July 6th. At around 10 p.m., police ordered protesters to leave the interstate they had blocked for hours for the 16th time, but the demonstrators refused. Police in riot gear responded with smoke bombs, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd and eventually began making arrests.

Protesters threw “rocks, bottles, fireworks and bricks” at officers, police spokesman Steve Linders said, adding that the injuries were not considered serious. On Sunday evening, St. Paul Police also revealed that one of the officers injured had a large concrete block dropped on his head. That officer is now suffering from a spinal fracture.

The police are under assault across the country. This is undisputable. Police say officers have been targeted in Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri in the aftermath of two high-profile killings of black men by law enforcement in Minnesota and Louisiana. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the attacker told authorities that he was frustrated by the recent killings by police of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Police have not disclosed a motive in Friday's ambush attacks in Georgia and Missouri, but a suburban St. Louis police chief said someone shot an officer three times as he walked back to his car during a traffic stop.

The number of police killed in the past year is alarming. The amount of officers shot and killed in the U.S. is 44% higher now than the same time last year following the ambush in Dallas, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Police are being ambushed in every corner of the country. "That's certainly a concern for us. It's troubling and it's something that we watch," said Nick Breul, a former Washington, D.C. police officer, about the shootings. "It's really an assassination. You're taking advantage of an officer and you're ensuring that you're able to kill them through them either being vulnerable or through a complete surprise attack."

Deputy Chief Malik Aziz of the Dallas Police Department, agreed, saying on Friday that police officers across America feel like they are “under siege.”

July 10, 2016. St. Paul, Minnesota protests turn violent. 21 cops injured. Over 100 protesters arrested.
July 10, 2016. St. Paul, Minnesota protests turn violent. 21 cops injured. Over 100 protesters arrested. | Source

Divided we fall

Mike Lupica wondered, in the New York Daily News, why we always have to choose sides? Our country sits on a fragile point in its early history and Dallas could very well prove to be a tipping point. Lupica writes, “These are the new 60s in this country, only meaner and far more dangerous. And even less innocent than that time was, even with a different kind of war to hate. We keep killing our own now, and then when there are protests about that, we kill the people trying to keep the protesters safe.” The vicious cycle of violence and hatred in America has been hard to ignore these last few months. The precariousness of this situation has crept up on us unnoticed, yet at the same time somehow seems not all that shocking.

“This is a country on a fault line right now, or a trip wire, with no end to the anger in sight, when we are in the early rounds of what is already the ugliest campaign in the history of Presidential politics, with these candidates yelling at each other and calling each other names across their own great divide.” The Trump v. Clinton cage match is just one example of the deep division in this country. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) v. police battle is much more dangerous, and one that needs to be debated in a more evenhanded manner.

One can both be disgusted by police brutality and respect our men and women in uniform. One can also be appalled by crimes committed by police on innocent citizens and also not think that police across America are targeting young black men. Lupica views America as a place “where no one is ever allowed to see both sides of any issue. If you are outraged about the death of Philando Castile, then you must hate all cops … You are allowed to hate the way Philando Castile died and then turn around, the very next day, and hate and mourn what happened in Dallas.” This is what those in the media and politics do not understand. They treat every shooting of an “unarmed” black man as the same simple story: racism bubbling over via police brutality. However, Americans do not always want to choose sides. They simply want to be protected. And to have that protection, we need police who know their services will be respected, not ridiculed.

Who would want to become a cop right now?

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings rightly reminded us that "these police officers are all that stand between us and everyday tragedy." Let’s hope they continue to protect and serve us in a fair and equal manner for men and women of all races and ethnicities in all neighborhoods. We cannot continue on the path we are currently barreling down.

Michael Bautista captured part of downtown Dallas shooting during Facebook Live

The truth needs to be told

Conservative radio king Rush Limbaugh correctly points out that white police are not gunning down black men like it's their job. According to the former acting director of the National Institute of Justice, black officers in the New York Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to use their guns at shooting scenes than white officers.

Ferguson does not happen everyday, though leaders of BLM would have you believe that. Cops actually killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. 50% of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26% were black. One would think these numbers prove the inherent racism in our system, since blacks only make up 13% of the nation’s population.

However, Heather MacDonald, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, and author of: The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, clears up that misconception. MacDonald wrote in The Wall Street Journal that 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show that blacks were charged with 62% of robberies, 57% of murders, and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest counties in the country, despite only making up 15% of the population in these same counties.

MacDonald recently went on Limbaugh’s show to further clarify a common misconception sweeping the country. “President Obama lied to the nation last night,” MacDonald began, “and he embraced the Black Lives Matter myth that there is a racist war by white officers against black civilians in this country. And we see the results. In fact, there's no government agency more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police. Proactive policing has saved tens of thousands of minority lives since the mid‑1990s.” Police are there to protect black lives, not end them. There are a few bad apples in police departments across the country that have given a bad name to a respectable profession.

MacDonald confronted the ugly reality that there have been some horrible police shootings recently. “These were appalling incidents of police negligence and likely criminality. But those are not representative of this nation's police forces.” This is the point the BLM crowd never gets. Our police force is not coordinating a nationwide targeting of young African Americans. There are some indefensible actions by cops that have been caught on camera, and this is being used to fan the flames of division, pitting white against black, citizen against officer of the law.

Still, President Obama welcomed two founders of BLM to the White House last year, commemorating their efforts and praising them for their dedication. Limbaugh went as far as to call them a terrorist group, while former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliana went even farther, calling the group, “inherently racist.” Though these descriptions certainly add to the ever-increasing divide in this country, the group still doesn’t seem to mind the targeting of cops, no matter who they are. The fact that President Obama gives this movement legitimacy and credibility endangers the country, threatening the American pillars of law and order.

Do you think the Black Lives Matter movement is generally doing valiant work or is creating more problems than solving?

See results

Is hope and change still on the way?

And yet, Obama says we are not as divided as you many think. In Poland, the president acknowledged a “tough week,” though said he did not believe the United States was “as divided as some have suggested.” At the Dallas memorial service on Tuesday, the president doubled down on these remarks, saying, “I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem.”

The president continued, from Poland, saying, "You're not seeing riots, you're not seeing police going after people who are protesting peacefully," he said. The protests occurring around the country could very well turn into riots. Some already have. With police constantly looking over their shoulders now, they are even more likely to be trigger happy. With protesters continuing to push the limits, it is only a matter of time before peaceful protests are put down by police somehow. Clashes are already happening in places like St. Paul.

Obama’s bright idea is to use these attacks on police as a way to “push his agenda to federalize state and local police forces,” according to Breitbart News.

“I want to start moving on constructive actions that are actually going to make a difference,” he said during his evening press conference in Poland. Those actions, he said, would be based on the recommendations of the panel that he picked after the 2014 street riots in Ferguson, Missouri. The panel offered “practical concrete solutions that can reduce — if not eliminate — the problems of racial bias,” Obama said.

Obama’s task force on policing urges the federal government to federalize police training and practices. This would be done through federal lawsuits, grants, and threats to cut federal aid. So far, Obama’s underlings have sued more than 30 jurisdictions to adopt federal laws in the initial developments of a national police system. Forcing a top-down, heavily bureaucratic solution to a very important part of American society seems to be Obama’s go-to tactic.

First, national health care. Second, a nationalized police force.

Likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump called for the restoration of law and order. "A brutal attack on our police force is an attack on our country, and an attack on our families,” Trump said.

He added that the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota reveal "how much work we have to do in order to make every American feel that their safety is protected." Trump also said that racial divisions in the country have "gotten worse, not better" and called for "prayers, love, unity and leadership." It is interesting to track how much race relations have worsened under our first African American president. Liberals will of course somehow blame Mr. Trump for that too, they are already blaming him for the deaths in Dallas.

Trump finished his call for unification on Facebook: “Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children. This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies.”

We must learn to come together during times of crisis. Trump has called for unity, while Obama appears to deny today’s reality. These are scary times we are living in and it does not help that members of the current political and media elite have no intention of healing these recently opened wounds. That would not make good ratings or rake in the votes.

Dallas was a tragedy that saw the most members of our law enforcement die in a single event since September 11th, 2001. Let’s make sure this never happens again and live up to our common humanity. Love one another. Be there for one another. Treat others with respect, especially when you disagree with them! Do not let dark thoughts sweep you away to the end of the world. Live in the now, but live to build a better future for the generations to come.

Remember what the great John F. Kennedy once said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sychophantastic profile image

      Sychophantastic 13 months ago

      The people who are going to solve this are those police officers and BLM folks in Wichita who had a BBQ together.

    • Gyanendra Mocktan profile image

      gyanendra mocktan 13 months ago

      What has happened is over. What we are going to have is very important to all of us.

      We need to think and act for the better tomorrow.

      That thought and action must be beyond the boarders of nation, religion, race and politics.

      Never late.

      Thank you

    • Sychophantastic profile image

      Sychophantastic 13 months ago

      I think you tried to write what you think is an objective piece on BLM and you failed. You quoted Heather MacDonald, thereby giving the impression that President Obama is somehow engaging in a racist war. Did you quote what President Obama actually said? Of course not, because he didn't say anything like that. You'd prefer to believe the interpretation of some right-wing lunatic like Rush Limbaugh. I admire your desire for a coming together, but if I were black, I certainly wouldn't accept your invitation because it seems disingenuous.