Why did Dallas snipers kill five police officers?

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Sometimes news stories come so quickly one after the other that, as a news consumer, you’re in danger of suffering the emotional equivalent of the bends.

A current example. Yesterday I watched that extraordinary live Periscope broadcast by a black woman, first in her car and then in the back of a police vehicle. In her car she explained how a policeman had just shot her husband four times as he reached to show his driving licence. We see the man slumped in the front seat, bleeding to death. In the police vehicle she’s handcuffed but still manages to keep on broadcasting, repeating the story of what happened, telling where she’s going, calling on friends to get in touch and protect her.

The vividness of the you-are-there broadcast gave it an immediacy and horror that still photographs rarely do. How she managed to keep talking in a coherent way until the end, when she falls apart, is hard to know. In the wake of a string of police shootings of African-Americans, sympathy for the Black Lives Matter campaign has been growing. Protests included a number of white people.

Then just as you have made an emotional identification with the black people of the US, word comes of snipers shooting dead five police officers in Dallas and wounding others. The assumption is that the killers were African-Americans. So the victim suddenly becomes the aggressor. The tears of the families of the dead police officers will be as salt and bitter as the broadcasting woman or any other loved one of the 100+  unarmed African-Americans killed by police in the US this year.

Why would African-Americans – assuming, as I say, that the shooters were African-Americans  – why would they deliberately kill police officers who may well have been model guardians of the law? Motivation is always complex in such actions, but it seems reasonable to believe that this was the African-American community saying “If that’s how you treat our people, we’ll treat yours the same”. As they saw it, protests and placards announcing “Black Lives Matter” hadn’t made any difference. And so, as a last resort, they turned to violence.

We’ve been here before. In the 1960s, the Black Panthers in the US were a militant group that took on the police in gun battles andefence of black neighbourhoods. Needless to say, they were defeated. They were hunted down and shot dead by the police until the movement petered out.

Will the Dallas killings turn public sympathy away from the African-American community? I doubt it. It’s more likely to harden police resolve when dealing with African-Americans. Just as the broadcasting woman was speaking against a background of lethal police brutality against her community, so US police are more likely to act with the thought of their dead colleagues at the back of their mind. And their actions may well feed into an escalating pattern of lethal violence.

There are people who turn to violence before exploring all other possible options: we saw that in the Chilcot report damning Tony Blair. But most of those who pick up the gun do so in the conviction that nothing else gets public attention and government action.

The appalling thing is that in some cases they’re probably right

44 Responses to Why did Dallas snipers kill five police officers?

  1. Scott July 8, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    It’s the old story of violence breeding violence in a constantly downward spiral. Hate breeding hate till they no longer even know why exactly they hate each other, they just do.

    For many in the states the American Dream is dead and there country that once called itsel the “city upon a hill” has now become the most unequal society in the western world.

  2. paddykool July 8, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    Well Jude ….isn’t that how the “Troubles” kicked off here too?…Bringing It All Back Home, as the bard might say.Remember how quickly this kind of tit- for- tat behaviour spiralled out of control very quickly until it was almost taken for granted .The easy acess to guns in America makes it a bit of a powder-keg anyway. Nobody wants to talk when they can get that ancient gut-thrill of killing their perceived enemy. People are daft if they think that this kind of thing couldn’t break out in any city in the UK too, given the emotions unleashed at this present moment in time .The Labour MP who was killed pre-referendum is all but forgotten in the tidal waves of new news since then, but something like this has the potential to set off a new “Troubles” anywhere.

  3. billy July 8, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    why would they deliberately kill police officers…maybe they have been listening to some of the hate speechs by the likes of malcome x and his ilk combined with the hatred of police disrupting their (business) in the hoods.wonder what mr trump will have to say.

    • Joe Canning July 8, 2016 at 10:23 am #

      Now try reversing your question Billy.

    • Michael July 8, 2016 at 11:03 am #

      Or….and I know this might sound caraaazzy….they were sick of police officers shooting unarmed black people and then walking away from it with little to no repercussions.

      • Lecorri July 8, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

        Bless yore pea-picking lil heart. This is what we say in Texas when we read something utterly idiotic like your posting. I challenge you to google the following: Chicago black on black murders for last three weekends. Only. White on black murders for same time. White police on black same time period. Gun control laws in Chicago. Black police on black killings. Get back with me. Ok sugar???

        • Michael July 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

          The fact you use terms such as “black on black” and “white on white” let’s me know everything about your mindset.

          In a culture such as Amercias where the gun is king there will always be increased gun crime regardless of colour.

          What this is, is a police problem that has stretched back decades. It’s just now more prominent with the introduction of the everyday person having access to technology. What you have is a poorly trained police force, with racist undertones that is highly militarised. Even when these poorly trained “officers of the law” are caught on camera people like yourself STILL make excuses for them.

          Congratulations sir, you are part of the problem.

          • Lecorri July 9, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

            I will let my friends know I am part of their problem and we will get back with you when the hysterics subside!!

          • Lecorri July 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

            Guess you won’t be doing your homework about fathers in the black homes or lack there of, lack of education, drug usage or selling of same. All more reasons for breakdown of the black family. It takes hard work and huge focus by what usually turns out to be the mum or grandparents to turn things around. MLK would be horrified as would JFK.

          • Lecorri July 9, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

            And yet in places like Chicago, California where you have the strongest gun laws no difference. There must be more education of young blacks without it they are doomed. These are a few of the choices blacks need to make.

          • Michael July 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

            Thanks Lecorri, you’re a star.

        • billy July 8, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

          looks like your right,a racist attack.

  4. Antaine de Brún July 8, 2016 at 9:57 am #

    In 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that state-sanctioned racial discrimination and segregation at public facilities was unconstitutional. The ruling was ignored and discrimination remained a fact of life in the land of the free. An Executive Order signed by J F Kennedy in 1961 endorsed the need for affirmative action by employers to ensure that employees were to be treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, colour or national origin.

    In 1962, segregationists engaged in a protest about the enrolment of a US military veteran, at the University of Mississippi. During the protest, two civilians were killed, including a French journalist and over 300 people were injured. 3,000 troops were required to ensure that the student had the opportunity to commence his course of study at the university.

    Events in Dallas, past and present continue to raise questions about the ease of access to guns in the USA. In the aftermath of the most recent incidents, one man pictured holding a long rifle in a photo circulated by the Dallas Police Department was released after turning himself in and is not believed to be a suspect in the shootings. It would appear that it is the norm for some individuals to carry guns and rifles. There are those who believe it is better to shoot first and ask questions later, thinking and action that show no regard for the American Constitution and contempt for the law.

  5. fiosrach July 8, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    I think that anybody who joins a force for ‘law enforcement’ be it the army, the prison service, the judiciary or the prison service all have a fascistic,hierarchical view of society. Not only do they attempt to prevent the ‘law’ being broken but they have an inherently superior attitude to those who break the ‘law’. They mostly have a right – wing attitude to punishment. This leads to a class difference where even the most dim witted policeman is better than any civilian. It’s handy too when the possible lawbreakers can be categorized eg taigs or unemployed or poor. They rely on superior numbers or the threat of same along with extreme violence or the threat of same to get their own way. I know that the judiciary is supposed to be independent of the police but they are the armed wing of the police and their word will be taken. We then move on to a police state wher the sole role of the police is the security of the state. But we’ve been there.

  6. fiosrach July 8, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    ….. armed wing of the judiciary ….

  7. truthrevisionist July 8, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    The American ‘Police State’ Killed more Americans during the 8 years of the Iraqi War, than troops that were lost in combat.

    American Police shoot first – then ask for your papers after you are dead.

    Neither Black nor White America is the problem.

    The Police State is the problem.

    Americans must maintain their right to bear arms.

    • Jude Collins July 8, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      So you figure there aren’t enough guns in the US, tr?

      • truthrevisionist July 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

        Not what I said Jude. And you know that.

        ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed’ – 2nd Amendment.

        This is a constitutional right.

        All citizens should have the right to protection.

        Protection against armed individuals – or an ‘armed state militia’ that degrades constitutional rights.

        ‘The strongest reason for people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government’ – Thomas Jefferson.

        The defence of ‘Killer Cops’, sham investigations, repressive State legislation, arbitrary State violence, illegal imperial wars, growing inequality and mass poverty, are all symptoms of the degenerate sickness that now afflicts the US.

        A 19.5 Trillion National Debt,- funded by a ‘fiat’ money ponzi scheme,- sustains this illusion.

        The ‘political disease’ of ‘American Democracy’ is in its terminal phase.

        • Jude Collins July 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

          Maybe we should all arm ourselves, then, tr. Right-wing government in London and all that…Sleep easier with an assault rifle or two by the bed.

          • truthrevisionist July 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

            And I didn’t say that either Jude.

            Europe has already been colonised.

            Europeans have been historically, gradually dispossessed of their right to bear arms, so that people can be ‘trampled’ by governments. They learned this from their Bolshevik ancestors, whose first law in 1917 was the banning of all personal weapons.

            That’s why, – when 1.5 Million people march in London against an ‘Illegal War’ and 36 Million join them in Europe, -they are impotent – they are ignored by their Masters and laughed at. – and then criminal governments, go ahead and butcher 2 million innocent people.

            Its why, in the largest vote ever in UK history, 17 million people turned out to say ‘No’ to the EU and they ‘sneer’ at the result.

            Democracy didn’t suit – this time.

            People have been incrementally disempowered, physically and politically.

            But they are mesmerised by the illusion of ‘freedom’.

            When the only ‘freedom’ they have,- is the ‘freedom’ to go shopping.

          • Ryan July 9, 2016 at 1:25 am #

            “Maybe we should all arm ourselves, then, tr”

            The Catholic community could’ve did with some firearms to protect ourselves when Unionist mobs, backed by the RUC and B Men, came knocking in the late 1960’s Jude. I doubt there would’ve been any need for refugee camps along the border if every Catholic household had one. Indeed Unionists now days would think twice before ever going on another wee pogrom since Republicans still have arms today. One of the first acts of the British Army after the 1969 riots was to disarm what little guns the Catholic community had. Of course no such thing happened to Unionists. When the Orange Order was created and they started to systematically target Catholics, many sympathizing Protestants were said to have lent their firearms to local Catholics so they could defend themselves against the Orange Order. The first act from a Government to oppress a people is to disarm them, that’s crystal clear, History shows it.

            I use to be anti-Gun until I listened to both sides arguments. Americans who want to retain a right to bear arms say they want the ability to defend themselves against any state aggression, both domestic and foreign. They say Hitler, Mao and Stalin all took away guns from the public and that is absolutely true and look what happened to the people under their rule. Its also important to realize maybe 99% of all people who bear arms in the USA don’t go on rampages or murder sprees.

          • jessica July 9, 2016 at 9:36 am #

            “One of the first acts of the British Army after the 1969 riots was to disarm what little guns the Catholic community had. Of course no such thing happened to Unionists. ”

            Unionist paramilitaries still haven’t decommissioned or had any pressure to do so.

    • Scott July 8, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

      “Americans must maintain their right to bear arms.”

      Why is this TR

      So when they feel unhappy about a situation they have the capacity to murder people more effectively?

      Remember the target of there grievances is there own choice so it could be the government, black people, whites, gays, Jews, Muslims etc. Basically whoever they feel slighted by.

      • truthrevisionist July 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm #


        Thanks for your comment.

        See my reply to Jude above.

        • Scott July 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

          “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

          That’s the full text in question.

          Tell me this TR how does arming everyone to the teeth constitute a “well regulated militia”? Frankly the gun death rate in the US speaks for itself.

          How do you explain this higher rate TR? Are Americans simply more homicidal than say Europeans who have gun control?

      • paddykool July 8, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

        ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed’ …..

        That’s another of those ideas and laws that were made for another time ,on another planet. …..before the invention of the UZI and the tank. It’s a bit like some of those ancient ideas and “laws” that are constantly referenced from the bible as though 2000 years of accumulated knowledge hadn’t happened since then that just might overturn some of these odd ideas.

  8. Wolfe tone July 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Meanwhile under the radar of the main headlines NATO is sending more British troops to Russia’s border in order to ‘contain’ and ‘deter’ Putin. Normally if you place combat forces on another country’s border it’s viewed as a declaration of war but not when NATO does it. Russia has no right to feel threatened! They should stop their ‘aggression’ and remove and stand down its armed forces that our protecting it’s own border. ‘Never again’…..? Then keep your eye on the ball.

    • Scott July 8, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

      Hardly under the radar WT I’ve heard it mentioned on the news several times today.

      600 troops deployed between the Baltic States and Poland.

      If 600 troops cause Russia anxiety that they are about to be invaded then frankly they don’t think much of there military.

      • Wolfe tone July 8, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

        Yes Scott, mentioned on the news as an after thought. Did you ‘hear it on the news’ of NATO’s previous encroachments on Russia btw? The build up by NATO on the Russian border didn’t start today, just so you know.

    • truthrevisionist July 8, 2016 at 2:17 pm #


      NATO is the ‘armed wing’ of the Corporate Imperialist West.

      Who own and manage all the information you receive.

      The ‘militia’ of the Warmongers.

      They want Russia as a ‘vassal state’ – as the EU currently is.

      Putin knows this.

      Putin is no fool.

  9. Perkin Warbeck July 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Although he is one of the finest minters of one liners in the US of A, Esteemed Blogmeister, Kinky Friedman is hardly a household name. More like a homeless hobo known as a nobody.

    Some of his epigrams deserve to dwell next door to those of witty Woody Allen himself: for instance,

    -Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

    He once observed about his goodbuddy and fellow Texan, Willie Nelson, still gigging at 83 and whose signature tune is his self-penned, hi-way rolling ‘On the Road Again’:

    -If Willie Nelson had been Rosa Parks there never would have been a Civil Rights Movement, because he refuses to leave the back of the bus.

    One was reminded of that cracker of a wisecrack this morning on hearing the news from Dallas.

    If one is heading towards the Greyhound Bus Station in Nashville, Tn from a particular direction, one takes the Rosa Parks Boulevard. There is a particular aptness about that fact.

    And not just for the obvious: it was another Rose who put the music into Music City, USA: Fred Rose.

    If any one can be pointed out as the embodiment of the American soul it would be the ponytailed minstrel in a red bandana, that 24 carat genius, the wunnerful Willie Nelson. Although a songwriter of genius himself (‘Crazy’, ‘Pretty Paper’ etcetcetc) it was his deathless version of a Fred Rose song which first launched him into Legend Central.

    -Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.

    When one first visited Nashville, Tn in 1979 one managed to blag one’s way into the dressing room of the singer who first recorded that song for the ages. That was Roy Acuff where one found him tuning up with his band before he took to the stage of Opryland, a vast emporium on the outskirts of Music City, USA.

    For anyone lucky enough to be alive and well, curious, in the Fabulous Fifties the twin names of Acuff-Rose were as familiar as those of Abbot and Costello themselves. Every second vinyl record, both 45 and 78 rpm, seemed to have their brand names imprinted upon them. Being the joint owners of the biggest publishing company in Nashville, Tn.

    The next time one encountered the courtly Roy Acuff was in 2011 or thereabouts. To find he had moved back to the more confined space of the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry in Downtown, Music City. Where he was holding court in the foyer.

    Although a generation has elapsed since our last encounter, he was still immediately recogisable – this time, as a life size statue in durable granite.

    -Take these chains from my heart.

    That was the other one of the Twin Tours de Force of Fred Rose compositions and in a curious way links the name of the singer who first recorded it – a protégé of FR who became his guru – with that of Rosa Parks.

    That was Hank Williams. Hank was a native of Montgomery, Alabama the same city, of course, where Rosa Parks quite rightly refused to budge on the bus.

    Although the Hank Williams’ simple, steel-guitared version of the Chains song is incomparable it wasn’t till Ray Charles recorded his matchless and orchestrated take on that song sans pareil that it was finally catapulted into the common consciousness.

    ‘Ebony and Ivory’ is what the duet of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder was called in 1982; there was no such catchy brandname attached to the coming together of Ray Charles and Willie Nelson in 1984 to record one of the American anthems of the age. But ‘Emblem and Icon’ might have done:

    There were Seven Spanish Angels
    At the altar of the sun
    They were waiting for the lovers
    In the valley of the gun.

    This is all by way, EB, of a commodious vicus of recirculation to the topic du jour. One would like to think things will work themselves out in the Land of Uncle Sam but that might be akin to believing that the pun is mightier than the gun.

    • Jude Collins July 8, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      “the pun is mightier than the gun” – Olé!

    • paddykool July 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

      Kinky’s “Crime club ” collection is peeking from a nearby bookcase as I read this OH Mighty Perk. You just reminded me of his immortal words….in his guise as the Jewish Cowboy of Bob’s Rolling Thunder fame …”.Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in bed”….what a man with a phrase…..

      • Perkin Warbeck July 9, 2016 at 7:15 am #

        One is not surprised, pk, by your excellent choice of bookshelf material.. After all:

        -Straight minds kink alike.

        • paddykool July 9, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

          Couldn’t have put it any better , myself Mighty Perk…

  10. Sarah July 8, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    There are about 17000 different police departments in the US. No standard of training.some such as Dallas were considered top tier. Why choose Dallas police? Weapons are freely available.it is easier to buy a gun than destroy one. Why is that? Where is the sense of that? There is too much anti this anti that going on and not enough talking

  11. Ryan July 9, 2016 at 12:53 am #

    Its important to realize that many people, especially on the Left, are taking advantage of racial tensions in the USA for their own selfish agenda.

    I watched the footage of that Black man bleeding to death and I was stunned. Its important to point out though that the cop who killed her boyfriend wasn’t white, he was Chinese/Asian, as the black woman in the video makes clear.

    Over 100 black people have been killed so far this year by police but what is not said so often is that many black people are shot and killed by black police officers. Its not always White cops, as we seen in this case where it was an Asian cop who shot and killed that black man.

    While there is undoubtedly cases where Black people have been unjustly shot and killed by cops, how many cases was there where it WAS justified? Don’t judge American cops by the standards of Western Europe, the USA is a different society, its a melting pot of different races, cultures, values, etc. Anyone in the USA could have a gun, its very common and Americans (of all races) aren’t shy of pulling them out and pointing them when they feel threatened. Gangs in the USA (and North America in general) is a serious problem, they are heavily armed with all sorts of weapons, the American police obviously have to be cautious of that. To suggest that every single case of a black American (or any race) being shot by the cops must be due to racism is simply inaccurate.

    What’s also not mentioned is the fact that over 95% of murders committing against the Black community are committed by Black males. Do black lives only matter when people of other races kill them?….

    The Black community in the USA obviously have very little confidence in the Police, maybe similar to how Catholics had very little confidence in the RUC, the similarities may be debatable. But the US Government needs to reform the police, they need to recruit more Black police officers and deploy them to work along with cops of other races in or near black neighbourhoods. This will be greatly opposed by Cops but I think cops should carry tasers or some other non-lethal weapon instead of guns, so that the killings will stop.

    I’m all for equality for everyone, equal treatment for everyone regardless of race but I just don’t like facts being twisted.

    • Michael July 9, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      While race undoubtedly plays its part the bigger problem is the poor training the police in America have whilst also being highly militarised.

      Why does it take 4 burly officers to stop a skinny black kid from running across the street to catch his school bus where they baton him and then slam him into the ground. Is there no other way this young lad could have been restrained? Why was he stopped in the first place?

      Why does a police officer have to taser a quadriplegic several times to restrain him?
      Was he “fearing for his life”?

      Why does 5 police officers beat an already handcuffed drunk, slim girl?

      I could go on.

      America is a police state where an officer will pull his weapon on you when pulling you over for a broken light.

      The problem is they are allowed to get away with it time and time again.

  12. Lecorri July 9, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    I find this post FAR more acceptable than the standard euro-whine I see here too much!! Have blacks had a bit of a rough go?? Yeah they have. Do they bear Some responsibility. Yeah again. Plenty iof responsibility to go around. I truely continue to challenge your readers to run the numbers before jumping on the bandwagon sadly that doesn’t seem to be something they are willing to do. I guess it doesn’t flow with their particular euro-whine.

    • Jude Collins July 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      A dissenting voice is always welcome, Lc – failte romhat…

    • gendjinn July 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

      “Have blacks had a bit of a rough go?? Yeah they have.”

      I’ve had people like you in the states tell me that African Americans had it better under slavery and we should return to it to solve “their” problems.

      • Lecorri July 9, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

        Not from me or would you ever. What the hell fringe elements do you deal with? We have a black president for heavens sake!!!

    • Michael July 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

      “A bit of a rough go”……..that’s an understatement for the centuries.

  13. PJ July 9, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    Let’s not forget why the second amendment to the US constitution exists: