We've seen this before--people taking out their hatred by mass killings. This time it was a black man who was angry with whites, particularly police. But daily it's someone angry with this group or other, or just angry at the world. This country isn't a land where everyone has to fear going outdoors because of the high level of violence (countries like Somalia, parts of Mexico, Honduras among others). But this is a glimpse of what it could be like.
The thread of civilization that prevents the general outbreak of such violence has become thinner, and there are more such violent incidents reported even as the overall murder declines. Can you imagine if half a dozen people in every medium-to-large city decided to do what this man did, and murder as many police as possible? What if two days later another person was doing the same thing in the same city?
Actually, now that I write this, I feel confident that our police forces could handle such a situation--that the number of violent people would run out long before our police were swamped. For that I'm very grateful.
After this long prologue, here are the stories:
- The story of the Dallas police, told mostly from the viewpoint of the police chief, who is black.
- The sniper in Dallas originally planned to have bombs too, but the bombs weren't ready and the rally was too tempting.
- There is a pool of angry people in Dallas to possibly carry on the work of the sniper. This is very worrying.
- Political reactions include both conciliation and demagoguery.
So will this tragedy spur other angry people to act out, or will it make them rethink? I can't predict. However, I remember the Oklahoma City bombing, and how it was so horrific that it quieted the violence for a while. We can hope for that, but it would be so much better if five police officers didn't need to die for us to learn.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown
Update 7/11/16. A report of the radical black organizations that the shooter tried to join. None are as radical in tactics as the Black Panthers of 40 years ago, but Lakesia Washington of the Black Riders supports the shooter and the shooting.Update