In Dallas, Texas, five police officers were shot and killed while guarding a protest in response to the killings of two black men. The suspect, a black man named Micah Xavier Johnson, reportedly “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
Two days before the Dallas shooting, two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota were shot and killed, one right after the other. In the first incident, two officers restrained a Louisiana man named Alton Sterling before shooting him, all of which was recorded and posted online. In the second case, the victim, Philando Castile, was shot as he tried to retrieve his driver’s license. This incident was also recorded and uploaded to the internet by Castile’s girlfriend, sparking protests against the police.
While the police issued statements in both case, the details still make it doubtful that they needed to fire their weapons at all. The blame lies first and foremost in the police response: they failed to make an adequate and fair announcement in either incident.
The suspect in the Dallas shooting was a former member of the U.S. Army Reserve who was trained in the use of weapons. He was deployed in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014. The American press reported that the suspect acted alone, and that he seemed to support black radical groups. Rifles and bomb-making materials were found during a search of his home. The suspect likely held a grudge against white police officers after reports of black people being shot and killed, and objected to such discrimination.
The Dallas protest was a peaceful one, according to those who participated, and included chanting for people to overcome race and love each other. There were even mothers with children among the 800 protesters, exchanging smiles with the officers standing guard.
President Obama returned early from a visit with the King of Spain to attend the memorial in Dallas, saying, “I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment. All deserving equal respect. All children of God. That’s the America I know. ”
However, it is surprising that after a shootout, police deployed a robot armed with C-4, which exploded and killed the suspect; such robots are typically used in combat. The death of five policemen is unusual even for America, where gun crime abounds. Even so, it is worrisome that the police response has become so militaristic all at once.
Here is the reality of the situation: gun culture is eating away at America. Simply taking out your driver’s license for an officer can be mistaken as reaching for a pistol.
Even if similar incidents occur, they won’t create any concrete opportunity to get the ball rolling on gun control. During the presidential election, the grand finale, someone needs to bring up the discussion on gun control, and talk about a gun-free society.
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