It seems that a few countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens visiting the United States, and the reason, though a tad over-blown, is nonetheless a function of what one sees on cable news programs. A large part of the problem is broadcast news organizations like CNN’s confused interpretations of recent incidents of violence; instead of just reporting the news objectively, it tries to “sell” to all constituencies’ prejudices and hypocrisies at different times, different places, and sometimes all at once—the result being loss of credibility in trying to have it both ways, and giving the impression of domestic chaos to outsiders.
We are thus fed two different views of domestic strife without any clear avenue of resolution: One week, the “menace” to society is a white police officer in Minnesota, who shot dead a black man for reasons seemingly outside the realm of rational understanding. The man’s car was pulled over allegedly for a broken tail light; inside the car with him were his fiancé and her four-year-old daughter. A clear setting for a lethal confrontation, right? Perhaps only in the mind of a psychologically-damaged cop. The victim, according to his fiancé who recorded the aftermath of the shooting, apparently attempted to “allay” any concerns the officer might have by informing him that he had a weapon in the vehicle and a permit to own it, and what he was at that moment reaching for his identification. How many times have we heard how this turns out?
The victim’s first mistake is that you can’t assume that a cop is of sound mind, particularly in regard to minorities. His second mistake was that he told the cop he had a gun, permit or not. Possibly the cop took this to be a threat, rather than “helpful” information. His third mistake was assuming that a cop (albeit in a paranoid state of mind) actually understands that “identification” and “gun” are two different things, and what people say and what they do may actually be the same thing; being “honest” has no place here. His fourth mistake was assuming that the presence of a woman and a young child would deter the cop from fearing that a potentially lethal confrontation was in the offing.
One would think that a person must pass a battery of psychological tests before they are permitted to become police officers. The cop in question here was clearly paranoid and psychotic; his only rationalization for shooting inside a car at pointblank range that also included a woman and child was that he had told the victim to keep his hands clear. His hysterical excusing for his actions indicated an individual who was the very antithesis of calm, cool and rational. Doesn’t he watch the news? Isn’t he instructed to avoid causing incidents like this? Why didn’t he see that it was his responsibility to oversee that a minor incident that he instigated did not escalate into something major? Such people are an extreme danger to the public, especially given that their pathology is practiced behind a shield and equipped with a license to use lethal force under any “justification.”
But does “outrage” –whether real or for show—excuse the shooting of a dozen police in Dallas soon afterward during a “Black Lives Matter” march, in which five officers were killed? Even if the police were clearly in intimidation mode, with one officer per eight marchers on the scene? That they made themselves by their arrogant insistence on a show of force (they certainly were not there to “protect” the marchers, as they often do for white supremacist marchers) a sitting target for a lone sniper? Even when the police initially put out a hyped-up story about a well-planned “assignation” conspiracy, complete with a “triangulation of fire” inference, a reference to the JFK assassination, in which Dallas police at the time were aware of and even colluded with various hate factions against Kennedy?
No, not at all. My first reaction to the news of the Dallas shooting remains the same even after reflection: This is not the kind of thing that will the gain “sympathy” for ones’ cause, any more than anarchist bombings gained sympathy for labor rights over a century ago. We all know that if a police officer is shot, the news media forgets all about the incidents of police shooting unarmed people (the video of the shooting of an unarmed Hispanic man in Gardenia, California in the past year is a graphic example of reprehensible behavior by police beyond any reasonable explanation, an incident that was quickly forgotten), and treat each incident of an officer down as if the president was assassinated. The shooter (who was soon afterward killed by police) did his “cause” harm by the simple fact that most people may be pretend to be “outraged” by police abuse of force, there is nevertheless this desire not to appear “against” the police, since no one wants a lot of cops walking around with chips on their shoulders and all acting like "bad apples."
Ultimately, the shooting of Dallas police was a lose-lose proposition, for blacks (and Hispanics too) under the police gun in particular. No matter how much outrage the media and “BLM” activists express about repeated incidents of shootings by police, some less justified than others, there just seems to be no change in police behavior. Of course most cops are “normal” people who don’t look for trouble of the lethal kind, but those that do always seem to find it, and they don’t seem to believe they have any reason to change. In fact, they only seem to get angrier and more paranoid with every new “outrage.” And no matter how much the media expresses “outrage,” nothing ever changes; the shootings simply continue, and the facts of each case is always consumed in the rhetorical flames. And what is worse is that many people will look at the Dallas shooting and use it as "justification" in their own minds to wave their hand at yet another shooting incident by police.