I woke this morning to the news that there were five dead and seven wounded after a shooting in Dallas. I wasn’t shocked; I was hardly even surprised. It seems like every day in America, there is some shooting, some mass murder. As Malcolm X said in the 1960’s, “violence is as American as cherry pie,” and that certainly has not changed in the intervening period of time. When I learned that the victims in this case were police officers, I was still utterly unsurprised. It was, sadly, only a matter of time.
I woke this morning with the intention of writing about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. My point, in that piece, was to contrast their slayings by police with the recent extrajudicial police killings in the Phillipines. If people can be killed on the street without trial, I was going to argue, why bother with legal proceedings at all? We can simply elect a strongman dictator and allow the police to act as judge, jury, and executioner. My goal was to show the inherent immorality of such a system, how such a system is inherently prone to abuse, and how it would only lead to civil unrest and increased violence.