Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: shooting

Consequences, Part Whatever

Yesterday, another soft target was attacked on American soil. This time, it was a group of Republican congressmen and their aides and family members who were out for an early morning baseball practice session. One man decided for whatever reason to stalk and then open fire on them. Fortunately, two members of the Capitol police were present and their heroic actions prevented the attack from being much worse than it was.

Those are the facts. There is a great deal of speculation about the gunman’s motivation and mental state at the time of the attack. I’ll hold off on passing judgment on him until we learn more. Yes, it does appear that his social media accounts were filled with anti-Trump rhetoric and more and we can probably draw some conclusions from that but I’ll wait. After all, look at how quickly things changed yesterday from what was being initially reported to what came out later in the day.

Besides, that’s not the purpose of today’s post. Today, I’m pointing the finger directly at those who have said that while they don’t agree with what the shooter did, those he targeted brought it on themselves. My only response to that is to say, “What the fuck?”

Many of those who I’ve seen saying Congressman Scalise deserved to be shot because of his support of the President are the same ones who decried the attack on Gabrielle Giffords at the top of their lungs. They claim the Republicans brought this on themselves because they are trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act or because they are homophobic or any number of other accusations.

One person said they understood why the shooter acted as he did because they — the poster — lived in fear of what Trump would do to them because they’re gay. They are still waiting for the camps to be built and people to be rounded up.

Another said this is what happens when you don’t condemn a president who has so clearly committed treason. Now, when asked to provide evidence of said treason, none can be cited. Rumors and innuendo, all based in the fact that their preferred candidate didn’t win.

Others immediately turned what happened into another instance where they can flog their pet political agenda of taking guns away from the average citizen. At one point, the media characterized the handgun carried by the shooter as a semi-automatic that kept firing on its own. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of weaponry would know that isn’t possible. But it sounded good in the media and the idiots ran with it.

What amazes me is that those who claim the shooter had reason to open fire on a soft target don’t see how their own rhetoric, and the rhetoric of so many others on their side of the political aisle, quite possibly helped the shooter form the mindset to do what he did. They don’t see anything wrong in saying that it’s all right to “hit a Nazi” or to spout the antiFA slogans. They don’t understand why they should be the ones standing up and condemning the property damage that has happened in the so-called protests or how they are the ones stifling free speech when they try to force universities and other organizations not to allow certain speakers to appear in public events.

When you are out there calling for the President to be killed, or for those who support him to face “the consequences”, you can’t then step back and accept no blame for what happened. It is time for each of us to look at how we “discuss” the issues and to realize discussion has been the last thing a number of us — on both sides — want.

Does this mean it is time to shut up? Hell no. But it is the time to listen and to note who is willing to discuss and who simply spouts rhetoric and calls for violence. It is time to hold those who do the latter responsible for their actions. It is against the law in many places to stand up in a crowded theater and shout “Fire!”, especially if people are injured as a result. There are certainly civil consequences for such action. Perhaps it is time that the same consequences be applied to hate speech, be it political hate speech or other.

For those of you who are saying Trump should be killed — or even that he should be tried for treason — ask yourselves this. How did you feel when people said that about Obama? Why did you feel that way? Now ask yourself this: what makes your objections to criticisms about Obama any more right than the objections to your criticisms about Trump?

Like the President or not, there is no justification for opening fire on a group of men and women out playing ball. There is no justification for opening fire on a group of people in the middle of an urban setting when those men and women are not combatants and you are not at war. There is absolutely no justification for opening fire on a group of people in a non-war situation when there are children present.

If you find yourself saying “but I understand why he did it,” then I suggest you need to re-examine your own values.

Dallas will survive

I am so proud of my adopted hometown. I say adopted for several reason. First, I wasn’t born a Texan butI got here just as soon as my parents could make the trek from Armpit, OK to Texas. Second, I don’t live in Dallas proper. In fact, I don’t even live in Dallas County. I do live in Tarrant County and have always felt more connection to Dallas than to Fort Worth. However, after the events last Thursday night, there are few in this great metroplex who won’t say, and proudly, that they are from Dallas.

Thursday wasn’t the first tragedy to strike Big D. Far from it. Everyone remembers that horrible day in November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That terrible time was on the minds of many of us Thursday as we realized the attack on the police was not much more than spitting distance from Dealy Plaza. The bandaid that had been over that old wound was ripped off as memory returned. Now, like then, the eyes of the world turned to Dallas and to how we responded to the horrific acts.

I am so proud of my adopted hometown. So very, very proud. It would have been easy for the police to overreact as, over the next few days, more Black Lives Matter protests took place. Instead, they reacted with restraint and, on more than one occassion helped defuse what could have been explosive situations. An image from one such situation that took place yesterday is a perfect example. In that case, BLM supporters were marching through a Dallas neighborhood. Counter-protesters appeared and a shouting match broke out. It could have gone south quickly. Instead, the officer helped facilitate a discussion between the two groups and it ended with both sides AND the officer hugging it out.

That is repeating all over the city. Why? Because the shooter Thursday underestimated the city and its citizens. With very few exceptions, our leadership — be they politicians, businessmen or our clergy — have urged not only calm and understanding but love and healing. They did not fall into the trap that our idiotic lt. governor — a pox on him for being divisive — did. They did not blame the protestors for what happened to the police. They did not blame the police for the creation of the shooter. They put the blame on what happened squarely where it belonged: with the shooter. Then they challenged each of us to step up and prove him wrong.

It won’t always be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But I am proud of Dallas and its leaders for doing everything possible to make sure such an incident never happens again. This isn’t a case where only blue lives or black lives matter. The reality is that all lives matter and we must find a way to stop the violence on all sides.

I don’t want to politicize what happened or the reasons for it. Unfortunately, others aren’t that circumspect. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was the first when he called the protesters hypocrites for running away from the shooting while the cops were running to it. Sorry, Mr. Patrick, but they did not only what was human but what the cops needed them to do. In fact, the police were telling the civilians to clear out, to get to safety. Who are you, sir, to condemn those civilians for doing what they were told to do?

Then there are those who by morning had taken to the media, MSM and social media, to use what happened as a reason for gun control. They called for something without all the facts being in, without knowing if the gun used by the shooter had been legally obtained or not.

And let’s not forget those who have said the DPD was wrong in sending in the robot to take out the shooter. What were they supposed to do? Wait until the shooter set of any explosives he might have had on him? Rush him with human officers, putting even more of our men and women in blue in danger? As Chief Brown commented the other day, these naysayers weren’t there and they have no idea what was going on during the long hours of negotiation.

Then there was Hillary Clinton. I swear I almost put something through the TV this morning when I saw her saying that as the Democratic nominee and as president she would make sure “white people” listened to the “legitimate cries” of African-Americans. While I have no problem with listening to the concerns of anyone, it should not be a one-way street. For problems to be solved, the dialog has to be ongoing and discuss the concerns and needs of all sides involved.

Will Dallas — and the United States — survive this latest round of turmoils? Yes. We have before and we will again. My concern is what price we will pay to do so. I’m not talking a price in lives. I’m talking the price we will pay in our rights being eroded yet again. It is hard not to worry about that when our president comes out almost as soon as the news of Thursday night’s events hit and starts talking about more federal oversight of local law enforcement agencies. That is especially scary in light of the fact the same federal agency that would probably be in charge of that oversight believes in separate application of the law for politicians — at least politicians of a certain political bent — than it does for the military and citizens-at-large.

My heart will ache for Dallas and for the officers with DPD and DART for a long time. I will worry about my friends who wear the uniform of the first responders, especially in light of the calls for more violence against the police that I have seen come from certain groups. My heart also aches for those in this country who feel they aren’t safe to leave their homes, whether it is because of their race, color or creed. That is not what America should be about.

We are better than that. It is time we remembered it and started living up to our potential once again. That starts by ending the rhetoric — on both sides — and actually talking and listening.

Mourning

Today, the city of Dallas and the surrounding area is in mourning. Last night, near the end of a peaceful demonstration, terror erupted. Shots rang out from above and ten officers and one civilian were injured. As of a few minutes ago, the death count stands at five and it may go higher. One suspected sniper is dead and at least two other suspects are in custody.

Along with the sorrow we feel as the sun comes up and we watch as much of downtown remains closed off comes anger. Anger that this happened in our city. Anger because it reminds us in so many ways of that horrible day in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas and not that far from where last night’s even took place. Anger as the idiots on social media start their conspiracy theories and more.

Let’s face it. We know very little right now about the why all this happened or who was responsible. It will take time for the authorities to sift through the evidence and talk with the three people of interest they have in custody. They will be searching the body of the dead sniper (alleged sniper), his car and place of residence. They will crawl through his online presence. As they learn more, so will we.

The speculation that Hillary Clinton or people with her campaign might have been responsible — or at least very lucky — because this took her off the front page does not help. Nor does speculation that this was someone out to kill as many cops in retribution for those killed by cops in other jurisdictions. We don’t know if this was terrorism or insurrection. All we know is that it was a cowardly act of capital murder.

In other words, quit using what happened to beat your pet political horse. Yes, I’m speaking to certain authors who took to social media last night, all but justifying what happened as a reasonable response to the police shootings of civilians elsewhere. I’m also speaking to those who instantly took to social media to say this wouldn’t happen if we had tighter gun control laws. Then there are those who say it wouldn’t have happened if the Feds took control of all police departments. Oh, then there was the one person who said we needed to disarm the cops.

So here’s my message to each of you. Grow the fuck up. Shut the fuck up. Quit using this tragedy as your bully pulpit. We don’t know enough about the whys and wherefores yet to draw any conclusions other than this: last night was the worst attack on law enforcement since 9/11. A tragedy happened in Dallas, one that has cost five lives and might cost more before it is all over. Even worse, in some ways, last night’s events have caused tensions to rise, not just in Dallas but elsewhere.

My heart and my prayers go out to the injured officers and the injured civilian, to the family and friends of those who lost their lives in the ambush last night. I applaud DPD for the job it did in the aftermath. I’m sure mistakes were made. It would be impossible for there not to have been some. But those officers put their lives on the line to help protect the hundreds of people downtown caught in the crossfire. They risked their lives to protect their fallen brothers and sisters. And they remained on station all night and into the day as the investigation continues.

As I write this, a video of police and medical staff from Baylor/Scott & White Medical Center standing arm in arm in support of the injured is playing. May they all stand strong in the following hours and days as the investigation continues and may we loose no more, police or civilian, to this madness.

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