Five police officers were killed and six wounded in Dallas. The killer: black army veteran bent on exacting revenge for the recent deaths of two African Americans at the hands of the police.
As we all know by now, just a day apart, there was the execution-style killing of Alton B. Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; then in what appears to be a very similar incident, Philando Castile was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two African American men who – by all appearances – were victims of police brutality, perished.
Their deaths were followed by peaceful protests across the country from Minnesota, Philadelphia and Manhattan to Chicago and Atlanta.
The protest in Dallas was just one among many. Dallas police was on the scene watching over the protest when the officers were ambushed. Five police officers were killed; six wounded. According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings one civilian was wounded in the gunfire, too. The gunman who allegedly acted alone and told authorities that he’s hidden bombs in Downtown Dallas was killed by a robot-delivered explosives. (The hidden bombs – as of now – were not found.)
Law enforcement officers risk their lives while controlling traffic, intervening for victims of domestic violence, saving lives in danger, fighting crime and in general, protecting the public. The vast majority of police officers are not merely employees of the Police Department, but heroes. Even though they risk their lives daily, even though many lose their lives in the line of duty, their bravery is rarely publicly recognized.
Each of the slain police officers had a face, name, life, future, hopes and dreams, not to mention a family. So did the killed African Americans.
The outcome? Both, white and black families are in mourning, now. Nobody won. Lives have been lost. Women and children – who had no part in any of the incidents – are hurting. Black and white women and children – widowed and orphaned this week – find themselves suddenly alone and will struggle to come to terms with their losses for years to come.
The events of recent days call for an open dialog, law changes, retraining of law enforcement officers and yes, a transparent investigation and severe consequences for the police officers involved in the two mind-boggling killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. But indiscriminate killing of members of law enforcement won’t bring about the needed changes; violence begets violence. Just like the loss of lives – black and white – is wrong so are killers of any color. We need peace and sound judgment, now.
To the Dallas Police Department: the whole country mourns your loss.
To the African American community: you are not alone in your grief; white people in the United States are as outraged as you are and grieve with you.
To families of the victims of last week’s events: anyone who lost a loved one, shares your pain.
Killing – whether out of an exaggerated sense of power and fear or out of revenge – doesn’t solve problems; it creates more pain. EVERY life is sacred. All citizens of The United States are ENTITLED to feel safe in their country and on the job.
Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor / E. Elrich