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.