Skip to content

Why I’m not shocked by the Dallas shootings

I am unable to let this moment go without having something to say about the most recent events in America; the murder of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the Black Lives Matter event that resulted in a shooter killing five police officers and injuring another eleven. I am unable to discuss parenting, education or petty politics until I discuss this first, because like the refugee crisis this is about life and death. It’s more important and we need to stop shrugging our shoulders about it.

The first I heard from some people on Facebook about all of this was after the Dallas Black Lives Matter event. These people jumped to call out that ‘all lives matter’ and demanded to know why after having shown support to the black community people like me were not also calling for support for these victims too. These people shared support for police officers in general but never showed any for the black community. Some even called BLM a hate group. I’ve struggled not to isolate myself from them further by unfriending but I do try to remind myself that the echo chamber is not healthy.

The truth is I’ve had nothing to say about support for cops or the friends and family of the fallen officers in Dallas. Yes I of course I am genuinely regretful for their loss. But I cannot find myself outraged the same way I am when an innocent person is murdered by an authority like a police officer. You can’t be outraged by something you are expecting, something you have been predicting. I’m eternally shocked there aren’t more riots.

“More people were killed by American police in (July 2015) than were killed in 2014 in Germany, England, China, Canada, France, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and Iceland — combined.” How is that even remotely acceptable?

When a group is oppressed as black people are every day and then also randomly murdered on top of it you cannot be surprised to see some kind of uprising. Its a testament to the effectiveness of the rule of law that it was only one lone shooter. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see some kind of organised group effort. Let me be clear, I would not condone it but I would not be surprised.

Police officers have all chosen to pursue the profession and are all subject to the culture of policing; a culture of authoritarians who have power over others and know they will be protected creates this toxic situation. Indeed the bad apples who aren’t removed spoil the whole barrel. Second to excessive force, “sexual assault rates are significantly higher for police when compared to the general population.”

Some try to explain that a police officers job is very dangerous and they have to be able to defend themselves if someone isn’t being 100% compliant. I reject the idea that American cops should be allowed to kill people just because they’re too scared to keep their cool. That’s their job and no one is forcing them into it. Being a police officer doesn’t even make it into the top ten most dangerous jobs in America, its more dangerous to be a taxi driver or garbage collector. Also, so many of the stories we hear are not simply those of shifty people who aren’t complying. 12 year old Tamir Rice had a toy gun when they shot him in the gut and left him to bleed out while they put his distraught sister in a car and let her watch him die. The mistake could almost be understood if they showed any care for these lives after the fact. Sandra Bland was locked up in jail where they killed her. That wasn’t about being nervous and concerned for their lives it was bullying and sociopathic murder. Eric Garner was choked to death on camera. The coroner even ruled his cause of death murder. We know they had him under control and they could have cuffed him and tried to get him the asthma meds he needed. There was zero care for his life. The two most recent, one was under control, literally under the cop but still shot at point blank range. Philando Castile never even had a chance, he tried to “comply” and do the right thing but was still murdered with his partner and small child in the back seat.

If you are trying to make excuses for the murderers in any of these cases you need to examine your prejudices because, very simply, you are racist.

It’s not good enough to say cops are just too scared to hold citizens lives to high regard. There are too many stories of them taking it much further than a split second unfortunate decision. They are the professionals, they should be held to a higher standard and they need to start being punished when there is video of them murdering citizens. Until then I’m afraid I expect Dallas could well happen again.