In light of the Dallas incident in which five police officers were assassinated by a black gunman claiming he did it because he was angry about police shootings of black men around the country, I see two main problems that are not necessarily tied directly together:
We just have a too easy access to guns and rapid fire ones at that. This is not Johnny go get your musket that takes a lot of time to load and get one shot off, only to start the process all over again. These are weapons that spray out hundreds of rounds per minute with one squeeze of the trigger. And what happens all too often now is that some sick individual takes out his aggressions on society.
While his brothers and sisters were peacefully demonstrating as part of the Black Lives Matter movement against seemingly unwarranted police shootings of mostly young black men, the assassin screws that all up by wantonly killing white police officers (as if two wrongs make a right). And in the process he also shot at least one civilian. And he wounded several other officers.
But like I say, the problem is two-fold. On the one hand we have this rash of incidents being reported and all over the internet news and social media sites in which police shoot first and ask questions later. Someone is stopped for an inoperable tail light and winds up being shot to death, with no evidence (we know of) that he did anything to the officer.
And going back over police shootings — how is it that the police shoot people even as they have subdued them? I mean that sounds like clear-cut murder to me.
I always think there has to be something more to the story. But so far nothing comes to light.
But let me get back to the other problem. There is just too much modern rapid-fire armament out there.
Yeah, I know. We have the Second Amendment which so many interpret as an unqualified right of a citizen to own any kind of armament he or she wants. As I always feel I have to mention on this subject, the Second Amendment is somewhat ambiguous in that it seems tied to the early-day notion of the citizen militia. I don’t want to go into all that now.
But, anyway the courts have allowed some control on guns. But guns are big business, so it is hard to get common sense gun control legislation through. The gun lobby is powerful.
The die-hard gun advocates seem to see the solution as being everyone arm themselves and may the best shot win.
I think that is absurd. That is not civilization.
In a violent society, though, there is a case to be made for people to have the right to protect themselves. But if we allow everyone to be armed to the teeth with their own arsenal of high-powered weaponry they are going to end up killing each other over minor disputes and also all that armament falls into the hands of bad actors and demented or mentally unstable people.
I’m not at all sure but that the Dallas shooter just used the Black Lives Matter protests as his excuse. He was dangerous without the current controversy over shootings of black people no doubt.
We need to get real about common sense gun control.
We also need to figure out how these officers who shoot people get on the police forces. I mean, like I say, I always wonder if there is not something more in these incidents than just someone being innocent and then being shot. And there could be accidents in the heat of the moment. But there have been too many incidents in rapid succession. Something is dreadfully wrong.
Listening to commentary today a couple of times I heard the notion that some white police officers are scared of black people. But one police official said in an interview that being a policeman is a tough job, adding: “If you are scared, go home to mommy”.
Well of course any police officer on some level has to be scared. And that may well be healthy — keeps one alert. But we can’t have people drop all reason and just start shooting and end up killing innocent people.
So anyway the issues of gun violence in society and white cops vs. black people intersected Thursday night in Dallas, but they are two separate problems, both of which need attention now.
Polls indicate that the public at large supports stronger gun control but all politics is local, not done by national polling.
It’s easy for someone like me to say how police should conduct themselves. I don’t have to deal with all the riftraff which includes white and black and all shades of people who operate by a different set of norms than most anyone who would bother to read this blog. But I have had my taste of that world — I have observed it somewhat up close.
In the end the officer has to make life and death decisions in a split second. But those decisions are influenced by what the officer brings with him or her (attitudes).
Apparently there needs to be more clear-cut guidelines as to the use of deadly force. And it seems maybe there needs to be a better screening process for new policemen and a weeding out process of the bad apples.
In a way, most everyone knows what needs to be done, but somehow nothing happens.
Why is that?