Let’s dispense with the usual empty calls for prayers and condolences. In case you live under a rock: Last night in Dallas, at the conclusion of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, a former Army reservist named Micah Johnson shot eleven police officers. Five of them died. Mr. Johnson was African-American, and reportedly told police he wanted to kill cops because he was angry about recent police murders of African-Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Mr. Johnson targeted the wrong people. The Dallas police had nothing to do with the murders in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis. Black Lives Matter protesters had nothing to do with the police killings in Dallas. In fact, the Dallas police were protecting the peaceful, multi-racial Black Lives Matter protest. After the shooting, officers comforted citizens and vice versa.
I’m not saying Mr. Johnson should have driven to Baton Rouge or Minnesota with his arsenal of weapons. But I am saying that civilians murdering cops, as revenge for cops murdering civilians, will never solve the underlying tensions between police and American citizens, particularly those of color. It seems a particularly American skill to attack the wrong enemy at the wrong time – just ask the Iraqis.
It’s amazing how quickly extremists jumped to conclusions about what happened in Dallas. My “favorite” example was a tweet last night from former U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-Illinois). Of course, Mr. Wilson immediately deleted the tweet when he realized that threatening the P resident of the United States is a felony.
Mr. Walsh wasn’t the only person who removed his mask of civility last night to reveal his true colors. The shooter, Mr. Johnson, did so too. The only difference is that Mr. Johnson used automatic weapons instead of Twitter. Both can be lethal if used indiscriminately. (Just ask Donald Trump, who seems to have mastered the art of race-baiting self-destruction via social media.)
Black folks: not every cop is bad. Cops: not every black person is bad. Everyone: pause, take a deep breath, and think carefully before you use your weapons. Killing others based on mistaken assumptions doubles the tragedy.
Black lives matter. So do police lives. In fact, one of the premises of our Republic is that every life matters. It’s time we prove it by embracing peace and, saying “no” to the creeping darkness.