Philando Castile was 32 years old. He had a girlfriend. He had parents. He had a gun. He is dead.WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Alton Sterling was 37 years old. He had a wife and children. He sold CDs. He had a gun. He is dead.
These are things that happened this week in the United States of America. They don’t go away just because of outrage or because of partisanship. They occurred. They’re real. Those men are dead. Police officers killed them.
Here is something else that happened this week.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
KDFW shows disturbing footage showing one Dallas shooting suspect firing on unknown individual pic.twitter.com/jlyeaaNiKH
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) July 8, 2016
Five Dallas police officers were assassinated in a shooting at a protest downtown over the two above-mentioned deaths, and others like them. Six more are wounded. The shooters came prepared for combat, wearing protective gear, armed, and deadly. It was an act of terror, as thousands fled the scene and millions watched it unfold live on television.
We don’t really know yet (at 5 a.m. Friday) who the shooters were or what motivated them. TV talking heads hint at anti-cop zealots who support the protest, which is logical, but there is doubt about specifics, too. But that the events are related in the American psyche is in no doubt whatsoever.
These fallen officers had families, too. They had friends; Lives.
At the beginning of this week, these seven dead people were alive and living their lives. This morning, their families are facing the reality of their deaths. There are funerals. Insurance forms. Tears. There is absence. Emptiness.
In America, hopelessness. On the internet, vileness:
These are things that happened this week. They don’t go away just because they raise questions we don’t want asked or issues we aren’t ready to deal with. Police corruption. The treatment of black Americans by law enforcement and government agents. Vengeance. Incendiary political “movements.” Out of control protests. Rioting. Bad leadership. Bad people.
One bad person, a suspect in last night’s assassinations, is dead, shot by police in the commission of his crimes. Spare no tears there, for that is justice.
All of these issues matter still today, even as we mourn brave men and women in blue. You can’t hide or be selective. If you’re engaged in the news about Dallas, then be engaged in the news about Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights. Because people are dying, and it’s everyone’s business. So we should face up.
Now, sure, “progressives” will blame guns and do other unproductive and useless things, but it’s not always about what they do. You can’t control that anyway. Make it about what you do, what we as conservatives do. Don’t turn a blind eye to the fact that there are bad actors in every bad situation, and often on both sides. There is a real disconnect between minority communities and law enforcement, to put it mildly. Accept that reality.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
That is a heart-breaking video. How can you watch that and not put yourself in that family’s position? That son’s cries for his father are an anguish you can feel.
And my friends, don’t you dare, don’t you dare talk to me about “resisting arrest.” There is no death penalty for resisting arrest. There should not be. Is that the totalitarian position you want to take? That selling CDs or having a taillight out while possessing a gun makes you eligible for street-side death penalty? Or that open-carry makes you a named, publicly targeted “suspect” in an ongoing terror attack? Can you imagine if that man carrying that rifle had been white? The outrage? The Second Amendment invocations?
There’s a name for the kind of country where simply owning a firearm, or simply belonging to a particular demographic group, makes you a suspect: police state. Think about that pair of words, conservative small-government liberty-minded free citizen. Think carefully.
Think also about the officers who died or were wounded last night. Almost certainly good cops, good men or women. Doing their duty and protecting the peace at a demonstration that was peaceful up to that point. A protest where the police and the demonstrators were getting along and even posing for photographs together. Think of how that could be the relationship between law enforcement and civilians, and of all the times it isn’t like that.
Remember all the police, in every city and town in America, who stand watch, who risk their lives. Who ran to the collapsing buildings as others ran away.
Everyone say a prayer for my stepbrother, Patrick, and his family. He was one of the young Dallas police officers killed this evening.
— Dylan Martinez (@KDylanMartinez) July 8, 2016
Pain. Loss. Terror.
Liberals will have to learn about the responsibility a community has in creating a good, safe, productive relationship with the law, but that’s not what this post is about. That’s for other posts, and other days. Know that I know this, but save it for later.
I also know that these are merely my own meager opinions, small and inconsequential. They are written in the emotional aftermath of a week of pain and terror and death. A month of that. A year of that. Fifteen years of that, this September. We have faced these issues before, and it makes you weary. It was a long night that has become an early morning. I am old and I am tired and social media is a cesspool sometimes. I’m reacting, like everyone is.
But I think, I feel, the videos above should be convicting to all Americans. And though you may have anger or dispute or enmity for the “other side” of the argument, it’s not about everyone else this time. Watch all of the videos above again. Look at the tragedy in each one. Tragedy. In each one. Heartbreak. Now look honestly at yourself and face the tough questions that we all now face. Look inward.
But of course, you should know it’s not so easy to look honestly inside. It’s hard. Consider this a warning. There’s graphic content.
Caleb Howe: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Folks, if you pray, please pray for the Dallas Police Department, and their friends and family, as they wait this morning to learn the fate of the remaining wounded. Or offer your thoughts and good will. And please offer words of kindness to all the people of Dallas on your social media pages. Thank you.