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Where are we going from here?

July 11, 2016

 

It’s excruciatingly difficult to write objectively about today’s racial warfare if you lived through the last battle.

Not all of those who did are named Sharpton, Jackson, Jr., Clinton or Pelosi.

It would behoove today’s history-challenged youth to listen to all of the people that can see exactly where this is going, because they have already been there.

Notice the phrase “racial warfare.”  Make no mistake, that’s what it devolved into before, and it’s exactly where this is heading today.

If we don’t get a handle on this in the next several weeks maybe months at most, the country is going to burn again. We are running out of time.

It would probably be fair to say that in the wake of the attack on the Dallas police, there are very few people left, if indeed there are any, that are completely neutral in the ensuing discussions. A quick overview of social media indicates a hardening of positions on both sides.

The difference today is that where the country used to have to wait at least until the six o’clock news to follow along, today they only have to wait for the next six seconds. That’s both blessing and curse.

History repeated

Certainly there are people on social media praising the killer for his actions and calling for them to be repeated ten-fold. They’re holding up the modern equivalent of the 1965 “Burn Baby Burn” signs. Their threats are streamed, tweeted and re-tweeted like a video primer for anarchy. Given the law of averages, some people will probably act on those threats.

There are others who choose to try to make the discussion about inanimate objects. People who blame assault-style weapons, or excessive use of body armor or military style tactical  assets by law enforcement for the carnage have sorely missed the point.

There are those apologists, public and private, who try to excuse the incident on the grounds that people of color (because truthfully not all of them are black) are so mistreated by their white oppressors that they are entitled to resort to violence to gain “equality”. It’s unclear how calling for and then cheering the murder of police officers is supposed to stop the “shoot first, ask questions later” responses.

There are those that would turn the other cheek and pray fervently that all this will just go away.

And yes, there are those on both sides who would gladly make this an all-out war between the races, winner-take-all.

None of this is new. The same hate group philosophies (on both sides) are in play, and the same venal politicians and opportunists are gleefully rubbing their hands in drooling anticipation of all the money to be made from the turmoil.

The New Black Panthers are not new at all. These are the children and grandchildren of the anarchists and militants of the same name that blew the positive aspects of the civil rights movement out of the water 50 years ago.

The rhetoric is exactly the same. The results will be the same too, if we don’t disavow it.

Yesterday doesn’t have to be today

Fortunately, none of those groups ever were most of us. Most of us are the people piling flowers on Dallas police cars. The difference today is that the rest of us now have a voice as well.

No longer are we captive to biased media that cover the news based on how much money is to be made from it.

We have to find our voices too, but that also means we have a responsibility to find our brains first.

At a time like this, people tend to sit back and hope that the government can sort it all out and turn the heat down before the pot boils over.

That’s what we did last time. How’s that been working out so far this time?

This most recent crescendo has been building steadily for at least five years.

So what do we get from our government?  Lectures on white guilt and gun control.

Changing the battlefield

Instead, perhaps a better approach would be to redefine what you might call the rules of engagement.

We have all been taught that the right to free speech doesn’t allow someone to yell fire in a crowded building just for the sake of seeing what happens next, or to threaten to kill a president.

It may be time to strengthen the distinction between free speech and inappropriate speech.

There are laws on the books, prohibiting inciting people to riot or to commit other acts of violence. There are Federal definitions of hate crimes.

It might be time to write, strengthen and particularly to enforce those laws at all levels.

There is a vast difference between pointing out an injustice and calling for the wholesale murder of law enforcement officers.

It might also be time to stop perpetuating violence by rewarding those who commit violence.

On July 9, Senate Democrats blocked legislation aimed at removing protections that reward illegal behavior by illegal immigrants. Popularly known as Kate’s Law and the End Sanctuary Cities Act, the excuse for their defeat was that they are  discriminatory against illegal immigrants, even if those same illegal immigrants repeatedly break laws and then re-enter after being deported for criminal behavior.

Throwing more money at Baltimore or Baton Rouge or St. Paul or L.A. didn’t fix everything in the ’60s, and it isn’t fixing anything now.

It’s fashionable today to blame a lack of government programs like community outreach for the tensions.

Dallas is widely recognized to have one of the finest law enforcement community outreach programs in the nation. If that was the answer, there would be no dead officers today.

It might be time to stop having one standard of behavior for people of color and another for whites.

Within less than 24 hours you heard all the standard apologists stating that the Dallas shooter was “probably” suffering from PTSD, and thus his actions were not racist, even though he clearly said he wanted to kill white people and white cops in particular.

With apologies to the President, there is nothing ambiguous about this murderer’s motive.

And of course you heard the Democratic candidate for President vowing to lecture whites on their sins. Note to the candidate…get a new playbook.  This one is getting people killed.

We may never know whether the killer suffered from PTSD after spending some time in Afghanistan in a non-combat role. Perhaps he did. Maybe he had a rotten childhood. Maybe a police officer was involved in some long ago childhood trauma. That doesn’t make what he did any the less horrific and it certainly doesn’t make it right.

It’s time to stop scapegoating violence by blaming inanimate objects for that violence. People are violent. Things are just things.

While gun control advocates are correct in saying that many Americans support an assault rifle ban, the inventory of the Dallas shooter’s home shows that he was more than prepared to use other ordnance, including explosives. There are reports that the rifle he used was so old it didn’t even use a magazine and had a 10-round capacity that had to be hand loaded.

One terrorist training message is that the killers among us should use everything from a pick-up to kitchen knives. We can’t ban all pick-ups and kitchen knives. We can eliminate the people that use them.

The weapon of choice in the 1960’s was the Molotov cocktail, not a gun, but the motive is unchanged.

And finally, we have to stop being afraid to call a spade a spade. Already there is a report that the Dallas murderer’s neighbors had noticed him in his backyard repeatedly running through combat scenarios, essentially practicing war, but said nothing. We have to find a way to put more of these people on the radar and then the authorities have do something about them.

That we don’t is partly due to political correctness, and partly due to lack of understanding of what constitutes abnormal or suspicious behavior.

No one wants to be responsible for someone being hassled unjustly, but it’s very frustrating when in every single one of these shootings to date, you hear that people sensed or even knew  something was wrong but didn’t say or do anything.

And finally, we as individuals have to do what can be done in the present to put a lid on this long enough to catch up.

Find something constructive you can do as an individual or a community to take control again.

For instance, there are law enforcement training videos out there that teach how to spot and report specific  behaviors or repetitive patterns that send up red flags. It seems as though those could be adapted or condensed for civilian use.

Go to your local mayor, your town council or even your chief of police or sheriff’s office and ask them to put out something that’s a bit more specific than “if you see something say something.”

If they don’t want to do it, go higher, even if it’s the governor’s mansion.

Will you get it wrong sometimes, maybe even embarrass yourself?  Maybe.

What’s better? Being embarrassed or being dead?

 

 

 

From → op-ed

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