Another tragic act of violence. Another morning that America has awoken to the news that people are dead, others are mourning and many are angry.
I climbed out of bed this morning, took the dog out to do his business and turned on the television to the news that snipers had opened fire on police officers in Dallas, Texas. Five officers have died as I’m writing this. Seven others are recovering from injuries.
We have few answers, but plenty of questions, with the top one obviously being, why?
These officers were in the line of fire because they were assigned to keep the peace at a Black Lives Matter protest. The protest was taking place in response to incidents in Minnesota and Louisiana where officers shot black men, and the incidents were captured on video. Other protests were taking place in other states, but none of them saw the violence that Dallas did.
There are reports being circulated that this has been the deadliest day for law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. This comes a few weeks after America endures a major mass shooting believed to be the deadliest terrorist attack since the aforementioned Sept. 11.
Anger has always existed, but it seems like we’re getting angrier in this country. I remember the days when people who had conflict met in a secluded area, beat the tar out of each other, and moved on. Now, people are trying to quell their anger by mowing down police officers or people in nightclubs. The urge when you’re angry is to lash out, but some people are lashing out with an intent to kill.
We all feel anger at some point, but we usually try to keep it from escalating to rage. When a child throws a tantrum, we want them to be silent, but most of us don’t knock the kid across the room to achieve this goal. When we meet a friend for lunch and have to listen to him blather on and on about minutiae, we don’t end our suffering by trying to drown them in their own soup.
One thing that is certain is that law enforcement can use our support right now. While the incident took place in Dallas, there are plenty of families across the country that are seeing a member of their family go out on patrol and wondering if they’ll ever come home again. It’s a thought that’s always prevalent for these families, but incidents like the one in Dallas seem to magnify the fear.
The attitude toward law enforcement has changed drastically from when I was younger. Police officers were seen as pillars of the community by everyone except the criminals. Today, we see far too often that officers are using lethal force, and now many see the police as enforcers to be feared instead of respected.
That attitude doesn’t justify what happened in Dallas. No matter what has happened at the hands of certain police officers, to retaliate blindly with a blanket assault on all officers is plain wrong. For those who believe in Biblical law, it’s an eye for an eye. This action was the whole head for an eye, and that’s what truly makes this a tragedy.
When you seek justice against someone who wronged you, that’s one thing. When you leave the debris of innocent bodies, people who have never raised a finger to intentionally harm others, that’s another. Of the officers dead and wounded, have any of them actually taken a life in the line of duty? How many of them have even had to pull their gun. Some officers go through their entire career without having to point a gun at criminal suspects, and maybe some of those people are lying dead or injured because of some enraged fools that thought killing all police officers was a solution.
It’s not. It never is.
Like with other tragedies, we’ll mourn. We’ll look over our shoulders. We’ll wonder if any of our men and women in blue are in danger, or if their fears will prompt them to cross a line and hurt innocent people. In the course of our road back to normalcy, we all need to look inside ourselves and resolve not to escalate our anger or hatred to the level that was seen in Dallas. We might not be able to stop all the violence, but it will be a step to help ensure we don’t end up on the wrong side of it.
That is how America will recover.