Dallas shooting: Tragic event’s impact on police brutality discussion

Reporter's Notebook

A member of an FBI evidence response team marks the roadway at the scene where one or more gunmen opened fire on Dallas police officers last night in Dallas, Friday, July 8, 2016. A peaceful protest in Dallas over the recent videotaped shootings of black men by police turned violent Thursday night as an unknown number of people shot at officers, killing five and injuring seven, as well as two civilians. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

I awoke to the news of five slain police officers in Dallas during a night of tense protesting with equal parts sadness, sickness and frustration.

Not only to the fact of five officers losing their lives, five people, losing their lives but with the ugly recognition that this event, as heartbreaking as it was, would, in the eyes of some people in both American media and public, undo any conversation or real concerns that protesters have and will continue to have.

Knowing unfortunately that many of the eyes from different broadcast news were looking for the unrest and agitators at those protests, some that went peaceful and others that were a little more tense but were not violent by all other reports.

Knowing that the conversation around the dead and murdered bodies of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were complete and distant memories to a rapidly moving media mechanism. And with the sickening and very real recognition that forces in the America media and public would inextricably link the shootings of five cops to the protesters, decrying their violence when the information was not fully available.

Knowing that blame will go around to Black Lives Matter and President Obama’s speech on the heels of the videos of Sterling and Castile. It’s not hard to imagine older, so called, ‘race hustler’ will be thrown into the fire and hung by righteous pundits who spent most of their time complaining about email. Some thoughtful and rational politician might even call for war.

Knowing that the real criticism and speech that is needed to combat police brutality and intense police and authority mistrust which could have prevent tragedies like the one that took place in Dallas.

But, that opportunity is unfortunately gone for all the wrong reasons. Now, the people who are looking for reasons not to listen have found it.

Now, that people looking for ways to keep people silent can now do it. For people looking for a status quo to remain and a way to ignore voices of people constantly and rightfully worried about their safety, lives, minds and bodies in the face of the system and mechanism that is supposed to protect them, well, it’s now found.

At the time of this writing, authorities say that the gunmen acted alone. But it’s that awful feeling that the focus will be trying to link those protestors with that violence. A feeling that follows around like an unfriendly familiar shadow, having to justify my thoughts, existence, concerns when there are people that look for reasons not to listen.

Instead of asking questions about how to prevent events like this, asking how to stop people like that getting these guns to commit acts on protesters and police; asking how can cops make sure that they can protect (and themselves) in these situations; asking how hostilities could be better mended in communities to make sure that people who are angered can be heard without resorting to violence; asking why people might turn to violence so swiftly and easily; asking what we gain from consistent streaming images of people of color being killed or abused on broadcast television while at the same time watching the incidents leading to little justice; asking why seeing the dead bodies of black men, the immediate question becomes, ‘What’s their criminal record?’.

Instead…the shooting happens and all other questions, those questions that might impose on a bias, those biases about those protesters shouting their concerns, those men dying in those videos, those cops who see the problem and might feel too trapped to say anything because that thin blue line is becoming an albatross, are answered.

The only ounce of light to be found from this awakening is that even in the face of the ugliness and biases and the recognition of the dangerous discourse, is that we have that same ability to awaken ourselves to the problems that leave millions in the dark. That make so many people darker than blue. Or we can awaken to more problems and easier conclusions.