Friday, July 8, 2016


My first reaction to the premeditated shooting attack on the Dallas police was, "well, here it is." I am anything but surprised. Millions of Americans think the police are waging a war on them. American police kill far too many people, 566 already this year. A lot of those were armed thugs who shot back, but a lot of them weren't. I think the hair-trigger shooting habits of American cops are one of our worst problems, a slow-rolling disaster where our social distrust and massive private arsenal come together to create mayhem.

But on the other hand the angry rhetoric coming out of some protesters makes me nervous. When you go around saying that the police are waging a war on black America, sooner or later somebody is going to decide to fight back. In Dallas, somebody did, killing five officers and wounding six. Of course that will only make the basic problem worse. Usually, cops open fire because they are scared, worried that every sullen citizen they encounter is packing a gun and itching to use it. Now they will have even more reason to be scared, and many will be even quicker to fire.

I do not believe this problem can be solved, not in my lifetime anyway. America is and always has been a violent place, and now we have more guns than people. But maybe we can manage it better than we have been; maybe videotaping all police encounters will help, and maybe the slow fading of racial differences will help, and maybe just talking through this publicly again and again will force improvements. In the meantime, hundreds more will die.


G. Verloren said...

Just read a dumbfounding report that Dallas police used a bomb squad robot to kill a cornered suspect by using a remotely detonated explosive. That's a pretty extraordinary act to take, particularly when CS gas and other nonlethal measures could have been easily and readily used to incapacitate the suspect with minimal safety risk instead.

I'm unsure what the courts will make of it. I very much hope it doesn't set a legal precedent, but I'm afraid it's probably already set a cultural one, given some of the public discourse I've seen about it so far. It never ceases to amaze and sadden me how many people are so very ready to champion such extreme responses and effectively throw due process out the window in situations involving people they have reasons to dislike.

pithom said...

"and maybe the slow fading of racial differences will help"

-This is not going to happen. Look at Brazil, where racial mixing is pretty much as high as can be. Still a very racially unequal place.

It's more accurate to say police are waging a war on White Americans, and that Black America is waging a war on Whites. Of course, that's still not accurate, but it's more accurate than saying police are waging a war on Black America.

G. Verloren said...


Despite whatever racial problems Brazil still has, there's no denying that things are far, far better than they used to be. The racial troubles of modern Brazil are nothing compared to the way things were in old Colonial Brazil.

That's what "slow fading" means.

Similarly, African Americans are today still facing lots of racial issues, but certainly they have it a lot better than they did in the past. Lynchings no longer happen. Schools, businesses, buses, and all the rest are no longer racially segregated. They can now marry whomever they please. They're no longer denied the right to vote. And of course, they're no longer literally enslaved.

None of these changes came about swiftly, but they did come about. And while there's still lots of racial injustice that needs done away with, both here and elsewhere, those issues will continue to be dealt with as they always have been - gradually over time, resulting in a "slow fading".

As for your notions of warfare, and whom is waging it, the simple fact is that African Americans have always been mistreated by overwhelmingly Caucasian police in this country, yet despite that there has been astoundingly little violent retaliation in comparison. There have been historical breaking points, where racially motivated police brutality has incited riots, but these are the exception rather than the rule, as well as the product of direct provocation. This most recent tragedy is just the latest in a long line of such incidents.

Violence begets violence. This senseless killing didn't come from nowhere - it was thedirect result of other senseless killing.

And the only people who are trying to frame this situation a war are those who want to see more bloodshed, and are trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I'm convinced that countless Americans, of every race and creed, will band together to stop that from happening, because they value life and human dignity more than people like you value hatred and senseless violence.

pithom said...

"yet despite that there has been astoundingly little violent retaliation in comparison"

-What percentage of those who shoot at police are Black? It's certainly much higher than the percentage of those who are shot by police who happen to be Black.

Institutional changes are one thing; they do not necessarily lead to any change in outcomes. Look at this flat line:

"And while there's still lots of racial injustice that needs done away with"

-Like Affirmative Action.

"This senseless killing didn't come from nowhere - it was thedirect result of other senseless killing."

-Actually, it was the result of senseless agitation and an extreme left-wing anti-police culture.

"more than people like you value hatred and senseless violence"

-What's this snub against me? You think I like Black crime or police brutality? You are mistaken. Don't be such a hack. Look in the mirror. How can you live with yourself with such dishonesty?