This morning, Barack Obama called the ambush in Dallas last night “vicious, calculated and despicable.” He added, “I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas.”
Yesterday, he also spoke “for every single American,” telling us on Facebook we “should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings” of two black men in separate run-ins with police. He went on to generalize:
It’s that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.
It would be naïve to posit a direct connection between Obama’s words during the day and the deadly ambush that followed at night. Clearly, the snipers had done some careful planning.
Nevertheless, the heated rhetoric that he and other Democrats have given utterance to have undoubtedly helped create a breeding ground for the acts of brutality carried out last night. Dallas Police Chief David Brown confirmed during a news conference this morning that the suspect who ultimately died in the standoff with police said he was “upset about recent shootings and wanted to kill whites.”
Nor is the score now settled. A black activist in Dallas named Chanda Higgins was asked by a local reporter for a reaction to the police ambush. He stunned viewers who had tuned into station KDFW by characterizing the incident as a “wake-up call” for holding police accountable. (The transcript of his remarks follows the video.)
It’s tragic when you talk about the loss of life, but it’s kind of got an ironic twist to me here in Dallas, particularly because the city of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department has been really successful about not talking about not exposing their issues like ones we’re seeing bubbling up across the country.
So for this to happen and for officers to be killed during this like is a wake-up call that something different needs to happen and people want to see justice and people want to see reform, people want to see police be held accountable when they feel like it’s murder.
Americans should be “deeply troubled” by the attitude expressed here as well. They should also be troubled by the claim of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, that Philando Castile, one of the two recent black shooting victims “would be alive if he were white.”
This presumption of police guilt — in this case, of being racist — only fuels resentment. It sets the stage for massacres like the one that occurred in Dallas.