The tipping point of a long, hot summer
"A new horror. Protestors seek legal justice & social change—not blood for blood. No one wanted this," tweets Wall Street Journal's Jeff Yang of last night's Dallas ambush shooting allegedly carried out by a lone gunman. What was described as a "loving" protest was interrupted when a sniper killed five officers (Officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith and Patrick Zamarripa and DART Officer Brent Thompson) while injuring seven other policemen and two civilians. And horrifying is certainly the word for the details: officers reportedly were shot "ambush style" with "some in the back" and in a strategic manner: "It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause." The suspect, an Army vet who served in Afghanistan, was killed by police this morning by a remote-controlled explosive, making Dallas police the first law enforcement agency to use a robot to kill a suspect. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a bomb robot with a device on its extension," muses Debtwire's John Bringardner.
After some thought, we've decided not to reprint the shooter's name within this post -- but because the public has every right to be informed, you can find more details about him and what appeared to be his motivations here. Instead, per usual, the focus should be on the victims, such as Officer Zamarripa, who spent three tours in Iraq before being killed yesterday. "He survived three tours of duty in Iraq, but not a routine patrol in an American city," realizes The Trace's Ben Hallman. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is cutting his Europe trip short to make a beeline for Texas' third largest city. "When I was in Dallas in February, its downtown was so busy. Today, it's so quiet and sad," notices Alan Blinder with the New York Times.
Where to begin with the takes, with so many possible directions they could be taken? In The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb writes "This week has become a grotesque object lesson in gun culture," astutely observing that "What began as a lethargic return to work following a holiday has devolved into an American crucible." Freelance writer Kate Flaim gathers this takeaway from Cobb's piece: "It's racism and it's guns and we have to fix both." At the Washington Post, Dan Balz similarly writes on killings and racial tensions interwoven with divided and divisive politics. "July was supposed to be a month of political pageantry. It has started with horror and gunfire," summarizes WaPo's Lori Montgomery. "Are we hopelessly divided? Betting a lot of folks woke up and had this thought," predicts Chuck Todd with Meet the Press. "This is not summer of 1967 or 1968. But political climate & racial climate commingling in potentially toxic ways," notes Christine Spolar at the Financial Times.
But perhaps the most reasoned take of all came from RedState, where Leon H. Wolf wrote on the uncomfortable reason it came to this in Dallas yesterday: that "people's willingness to act rationally and within the confines of the law and the political system is generally speaking directly proportional to their belief that the law and political system will ever punish wrongdoing. And right now, that belief is largely broken, especially in many minority communities." NYT's Farhad Manjoo calls it "The most woke thing you'll read today" while Joe Brancatelli praises, "Bravo @LeonHWolf for thoughtful piece free of polemics in place where polemics rule ... More like this on both sides pls."
And maybe fewer like those from the New York Post, where they recklessly hyped the shooting as "Civil War."