It’s Friday morning; the end of a short work week. This past Monday was our Independence Day and we celebrated as usual: BBQs, fireworks, swimming, boating, camping and more. During the week our nation watched as the mainstream and social media outlets focused on two events, both involving police officers shooting black men. It was as if the media, bored with the patriotic events of the Independence Day weekend just felt like they had to stir the pot and not stop until they had created a piled-high-crap-sundae that the television watching public had to swallow. Then the cherry on top was added as violent criminals in Dallas, from elevated sniper positions, fired on Dallas police officers, killing five and wounding seven others (latest numbers reported as I type this). Reports from the scene differ, some saying that two suspects were in custody, others saying that two suspects are in custody but two more suspects are at large.
As one might expect after such a horrific event, the mainstream and social media outlets are leveraging it to full effect. The “news” reporters on national television channels are using carefully worded phrases that sound like they are appalled by the attack in Dallas, but they sound almost joyful as they report on numbers. Social media outlets – leveraging the fact that they don’t have to do anything but let the public spout off – have to be loving it as more aggressive rhetoric flies across the Internet. Some people on Facebook and Twitter are openly celebrating the murder of four officers and the attempted murder of seven others. Others are condemning the fact that there were so FEW officers shot! On the other side of the coin we have people offering up prayers and support for Dallas and all those affected. I can’t find a tweet or post that endorses random violence against black people, black criminals, the folks of Black Lives Matter, etc. It’s the difference between ignorant, emotionally driven rantings and a measured almost professional, relatively calm response to a heinous incident.
As you might expect, a large majority of my friends in the social media realm are either law enforcement professionals, their families, or people who actively and vocally support law enforcement. That said, not all of THEIR friends are as positive and supportive of law enforcement. It’s interesting that, in this case, there’s a pro v. anti-gun argument also going on, since some of the Black Lives Matter protesters were carrying rifles. Many of us believe that the current administration has been leveraging such heinous events to support a gun-control agenda. Some are wondering whether or not that will happen here since the current administration also seems to constantly support the black community against law enforcement agencies anywhere and everywhere in the nation. At least one Facebook post I saw this morning directly blames President Obama for these events and MANY are asking why he hasn’t come out directly to condemn such an attack on the police.
I have to admit… I have tears in my eyes as I type all this. As a police professional with over 30 years of experience, it pains me to my core to see my brothers and sisters in blue targeted by such hateful actions. Five dead… seven wounded… four perpetrators now being reported; one dead, three others in custody. Four men… a “fire team” to those who have been in the military; half of an infantry squad. This incident was carefully though quickly planned. This was intentional. This was targeted. This was an act of war.
Don’t call it domestic terrorism. It wasn’t. Terrorism targets EVERYONE in a given area. Only one or two innocent bystanders was shot and I’m convinced that was accidental. TWELVE officers were shot; five fatally. That’s not coincidence. That’s not accidental. That’s precise. That’s intended. That’s a statement. What statement? The statement from four individuals – who presume to speak on behalf of all African-Americans – that they hate the police; that they are willing to do violence against the police; that they have zero respect for law enforcement in our nation, and in extension, zero respect for the laws of our nation.
I commend the Mayor and Chief of Police in Dallas. As exhausted as they must be, they get in front of the television cameras and give thoughtful, calm, respectful, LEADERSHIP statements that fully recognize the public’s curiosity while protecting the security of the open criminal investigation. Their statements recognize and appreciate the right of American citizens to protest peacefully and they point out that officers of the Dallas PD and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) agency were doing their job protecting those who had gathered in protest. Neither of them has spoken about the protesters who were carrying rifles. As aggressive as that might sound to many, Texas’ laws have a high respect for the 2nd Amendment and they appreciate that our RIGHTS are not selectively granted but are held by all Americans and have to be recognized and supported no matter how trying the circumstances are.
The days ahead will be more than difficult for those in Dallas. As a nation we need to support them; ALL of them. We need to support the officers who are struggling to survive. We need to support the surviving families of the fallen officers. We need to support the agencies – local, county, state and federal – who will undoubtedly examine the incident in microscopic detail and track down any other “bad actors.” We need to support the protesters who gathered peacefully to voice their opinion about law enforcement in America. We don’t have to like it. We have to be better than our human nature – which is to hate and mistrust that which hates and mistrusts us. We have to recognize that it’s our duty to stand in front of and defend those who are peacefully protesting – even if WE are what they are protesting. It’s the job. It’s what we volunteered for. It’s where we worked so hard to be. To honor our duty and our own commitment we have to do some distasteful things; it’s all part of the job.
To the rest of America – everyone who isn’t a police officer, deputy sheriff, family member or supportive thereof: We are here for you. We are not perfect. We are human… but we took an oath and it’s an oath we take VERY seriously. We DO protect and serve even when we don’t want to. DON’T believe the mainstream media and don’t let people feed your hate or the tendency toward it. We, the American people, are being driven apart by a political agenda and an industry’s drive to increase advertising revenue by airing sensationalized “news.”
Please keep in mind where we all were in our hearts and minds just this past weekend. We celebrated our Independence as a whole nation. We need to focus on that feeling and outlook as we move forward and remain dedicated to NOT letting our nation be torn apart by those who would do so for their own personal gain of finance and power.
Stand strong America. To my brothers and sisters in blue, STAY ALERT, STAY ALIVE.