I try to keep politics and many “hot button topics” out of the blog. But today is one of those days when I can’t. What appears below will find some folks agreeing with me and others not. That fine as long as there is a dialog. I have never made a secret of the fact that I support the police (the good ones–who happen to be the majority, just not the ones we hear about) and am a believer in the Second Amendment. Any way, six years ago today, a man who I will not name right now opened fire on protesters and cops in downtown Dallas. Here are my thoughts from that time and from later. I haven’t edited anything and am recreating the posts in their entirety.
(Originally published July 8, 2016)
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.
(originally published July 11, 2016)
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.
(originally published July 7, 2021)
I’m stepping back today from my general rule of trying to stay away from politics to take a look back. Five years ago tonight, a man–and I won’t name him because he doesn’t deserve the notice–opened fire from a sniper’s perch in Downtown Dallas. A protest march was taking place. It was peaceful. It was approved by the powers-that-be. Law enforcement officers from the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and other local agencies were on hand. These men and women, brothers and sisters in blue, did what they’d been trained to do. They didn’t flee. They waded into the firestorm raining down from above, doing everything possible to secure the scene, protect the civilians and locate the shooter. Five officers were executed, and there is no other word for it, by the shooter as they did their jobs. It was the worst assault on law enforcement since 9/11.
It has become vogue over the last few years to attack the police. It might not be a physical attack but many in this country have done all they can to verbally tear down law enforcement. The media has been complicit in the attacks on those brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day they report for duty. The entertainment industry makes them into the bad guys, while glorifying those who violate the laws of our land.
That isn’t to say there aren’t bad cops. There are. But they are the minority. The good cops labor on, often in situations that would turn your hair white or leave you a quivering pile of goo in the corner. They do their jobs because they have a calling to serve and protect. They do it so we can sleep safe in our homes. But that is in danger thanks to the calls to defund the police.
Don’t be fooled by the reframing of those calls. Don’t fall for it when you have the White House press secretary trying to convince you it is the Republican Party wanting to defund law enforcement. Look at who says what. Look at what they say in context.
And remember that almost each and every one of those politicians and Hollywood stars calling for police departments to be defunded or abolished completely walk around with their armed security teams. Of course they see no reason for police departments to exist. They have their own security forces to protect them from the lowly citizens of this country.
Yes, every dirty cop, every cop who abuses his or her position for favors, every one who abuses a suspect should be prosecuted. They are worse than most of the perps they go after. But just as you shouldn’t say everyone who lives in a certain part of town is poor or a crook or drug addict or whatever, you shouldn’t say every cop is bad.
Today, I remember the five officers who lost their lives. I honor their memory. I hurt for their families and loved ones.
These were five officers who lost their lives protecting the right of others to protest. Others were wounded. All for doing their duty.
Say their names. Remember their sacrifice. Don’t fall for the politics trying to destroy so many good cops today.
Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens
Sgt. Michael Smith
Officer Patrick Zamarripa
Officer Michael Krol
DART police officer Brent Thompson
If you are so inclined, WFAA (Channel 8, ABC) will dedicate its 10 pm (Central) newscast to the events of five years ago. Take a few minutes to see what happened and how these officers and others put their lives on the line to protect the protesters and others downtown that terrible night. Then tell me again why we should do away with police departments around the country.
As I reread the above posts, I couldn’t help thinking about what happened in Uvalde at the Robb Elementary. What would the outcome have been had those officers had the same leadership, both on-scene and at the highest level of the local police department as well as the school district PD, that DPD and DART had? How many of the injured and dead might have been said? This isn’t meant as a criticism of the individual officers who were held back by the decisions of Arrendondo and others higher up the chain of command. It is a criticism of them, especially Arrendondo, of their training and of the circumstances that allowed that tragic chain of events unfold.
But Uvalde will survive just as Dallas did. Its scars will be deep and the wounds–emotional and physical–painful. I only pray that small community continues to come together and help one another, growing stronger and closer together as it does.