After last night’s shootings in Dallas that left five police officers dead and six more wounded, it’s safe to say that racially tinged domestic unrest is fast becoming a national crisis.
The catalysts behind the ambush were a pair of incidents in the past 3 days in which black men were killed by police under questionable circumstances.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, officers shot and killed Alton Sterling during an arrest on July 5th. A video taken during the altercation has prompted debate over whether police were justified in using lethal force.
It should be painfully obvious to any thinking person that it is not inherently racist for a white law enforcement officer to shoot a black man. Equally clear is the fact that in no way did Alton Sterling’s criminal history automatically justify his death. Ex-convicts have rights too. But the details of the case were quickly cast aside by those coming to the incident with a preconceived perspective to peddle.
Two days later, another black man, Philando Castile, was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. His girlfriend was in the vehicle during the altercation, and posted a video of the events that unfolded after the shooting.
Much like with Sterling’s death, some of the facts remain murky. We do not have footage of the actual shooting, and we cannot say for certain whether the officer acted inappropriately, but the video from afterward arguably appears to be suggestive of misconduct.
At this point, it is not clear whether officers acted unlawfully in their use of lethal force against Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. To my eyes, the videos from both cases look bad for law enforcement. In neither case, though, is there meaningful evidence that the shootings were racially motivated, and portraying them as such has needlessly stoked tension that has now escalated into violence against police.
The barbarism that erupted last night in Dallas was fueled in part by a refusal by many to take seriously the possibility that the officers in the aforementioned incidents acted inappropriately. To a far greater extent, though, it is a byproduct of the left’s attempts to paint all of these incidents as racially driven, without appeals to any evidence beyond the race of the victims involved.
There is a legitimate need to address police brutality and unjustified shootings, but that conversation is crowded out by those who reflexively demonize the victims and by news coverage that insinuates racial motives before all the facts are in.
The media and the left are hell-bent on fomenting a race war, and some on the right are paving the way. Both sides cling to their respective narratives, facts be damned, and innocent officers in Dallas paid with their lives.
As we head into a contentious election in November, our nation cannot afford to be further torn apart by this senseless violence or the divisive rhetoric it has spawned. Now is the time for the sane among us to stand and speak the truth in a way that transcends partisanship. America needs it.