Tag Archives: Dallas shooting

Another shooting, another gunman taken out

My day proceeded quietly in Collin County. I was unaware of the mayhem that erupted this morning south of us along U.S. 75 in downtown Dallas.

A gunman was killed by federal officers after he opened fire at the Earle Cabell Federal Building. He was 22 years of age. He had dropped out of the Dallas Independent School District in 2012.

This loon was reportedly dressed in “tactical gear” and he opened fire with some sort of assault weapon on the building from outdoors. He engaged federal officers in a fire fight.

They killed him.

One person was injured in the brief shooting. I understand the victim’s injuries are superficial.

What do we make of this? Well, I’ll start simply by saluting the federal officers who responded as the trained professionals they are. They are dedicated to protecting the public and, boy howdy, they did it today!

I’m sure there will be much more to report on the lunatic shooter.

The FBI special agent in charge, Matthew DeSarno, said the shooter had five 40-round magazines on him when he opened fire. I’ll wait for the confusion to give way to some rational discussion.

For now, though, I just want to salute the dedication of the feds who answered the call to duty. Thank you.

Indictment gives us more dots to connect

As if this case didn’t have enough mystery attached to it.

A Dallas County grand jury today indicted a former police officer of murder in the shooting death of a man who was gunned down in his own apartment.

Former Dallas Police Department officer Amber Guyger walked into Botham Jean’s apartment earlier this year and allegedly shot him to death. She said at the time she mistakenly entered his residence, thinking it was her own.

OK. My first reaction was . . . huh? The apartments are on separate floors.

It didn’t take DPD long to fire Guyger after the Sept. 6 shooting. There were protests in Dallas over Jean’s death. Incidentally, Guyger is white; Jean, a native of St. Lucia, was a black man. The racial element of this crime hasn’t risen to the forefront of the community debate. It might eventually.

It gets even weirder.

The Texas Rangers, the crack investigative arm of the Department of Public Safety, charged Guyger with manslaughter. The case then went to the grand jury, which decided today to level the more serious charge of murder against the former officer.

Botham Jean has been described as an upstanding young man, active in his church, a fine individual. I don’t know much about Guyger, about what kind of an officer she was.

What strikes me as strange is that the grand jury, after hearing the evidence and the criminal complaint delivered by the district attorney’s office, would elevate the charge. Manslaughter implies a crime that was committed without intent to take someone’s life; a murder charges alleges that someone intended to take another person’s life.

This case is full of unconnected dots. Some more of them might have emerged with this indictment. I have two related questions: Did Amber Guyger know Botham Jean and was there a reason other than it being a simple mistake that she allegedly entered his apartment and then shot him to death?

The trial will tell us.

This story saddens me terribly.

As if police work isn’t dangerous enough …

Baton-Rouge-police-shooting-3-jpg

Do we need any more examples of the deadly hazards that await police officers every single day they report for work?

Five Dallas officers died the other night while they were patrolling a peaceful demonstration in the city’s downtown. Then a gunman opens fire on them.

Then today, Baton Rouge police respond to a 9-1-1 call. They show up to determine the nature of the call and someone ambushes them.

Three of them died today in yet another horrifying example of senseless violence being brought to police officers.

My response when I heard the horrible news? Good bleeping grief!

Baton Rouge police killed the gunman today. He has been identified and authorities say he lived in Kansas City, Mo. His motivation has not yet been determined. That will come in due course.

But today we mourn yet more police officers who have died in the line of duty.

I’ll be honest about this point: My first fear was that the gunman who opened fire today had targeted white police officers in the manner that the Dallas shooter did in response to earlier incidents involving the deaths of black men at the hands of white officers.

Then came word that one of the victims today has been identified as Montrell Jackson, a black officer — and the father of a small child.

We toss the word “hero” around much too loosely. The men and women who take the oath to serve and protect us do so with honor, with bravery and with dedication to the public they serve.

Yes, I know that not every one of those officers is honorable.

Then again, every profession has its bad actors. You hear about bad doctors, bad lawyers, bad civil engineers, bad reporters and editors.

Do we tar all those professions because some of their practitioners don’t measure up?

Today I am honoring the work that our law enforcement officers perform for their communities — for my community. My heart is broken over the loss they have suffered yet again.

Now it’s Baton Rouge PD under fire … literally!

BBuqwUD

I am going to pray that we haven’t started another list of communities where we attach them immediately to random acts of unspeakable violence.

We have places like Newtown, Charleston, Aurora, Blacksburg, Killeen, Littleton, Springfield, Orlando, you name it, where violence has broken out, claiming the lives of innocent people at the hands of hideous monsters.

Just two weeks ago, another such monster opened fire in Dallas, killing five police officers. Today? It happened again … in Baton Rouge.

Three officers are dead; several others are wounded.

What I haven’t yet been able to read is anything that starts to explain the motive behind this latest attack on law enforcement.

The big question? Is it race-related?

Baton Rouge police, you must recall, were involved in the shooting death of an African-American man. The officers, who are white, have been put on leave. Demonstrations have broken out.

It’s reasonable, I reckon, to believe that today’s shooting was in response to that earlier incident. But we don’t know.

One gunman is dead. Police today have said he is dressed in black, but no one is identifying him, either by name or by his ethnicity.

No matter the motivation, this kind of attack on law enforcement must not stand.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/breakingnews/3-baton-rouge-police-killed-in-shooting-1-suspect-dead/ar-BBuq8lz?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

President Obama has condemned it. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has as well. So has the leader of the Black Lives Matter movement that has led the demonstrations.

Let us all pray for an immediate end to this kind of tragedy.

I don’t know how we’re ever going to repair hearts that keep getting broken by this kind of cruel senselessness.

World appears to have gone mad

turkey

My head is about to do a 360-spin.

The world has gone stark-raving bonkers.

A terrorist plows a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, France, and kills 84 innocent victims before French police killed him on the spot. The world is thrown into utter grief, shock, mourning and heartache over this latest spasm of terrorist violence.

We’d just experienced the tragedy in Dallas, where five police officers died when a gunman opened fire on a Black Lives Matter march through the city’s downtown.

Now, tonight, Turkey is undergoing what now looks like a failed coup attempt seeking to topple the government of President Recep Tayyp Erdogan.

The president had been out of the country, then he returned to Turkey — apparently being greeted by cheering crowds upon his arrival.

As one commentator noted this evening, the coup seems to have failed because the insurgents didn’t capture or kill the president, didn’t take control of the media.

Erdogan now appears to be reasserting his authority in Turkey.

This is a huge deal.

Turkey is a member of NATO. It borders Syria and Iraq, which puts it at ground zero in our war against the Islamic State. We occupy Turkish air space while we launch air strikes against ISIS targets. We also rely on Turkey to lend its own considerable military support in this effort.

Now we have word of this coup attempt.

Erdogan hasn’t been the most reliable ally of ours. The Turks, though, pose a significant military threat to anyone who happens to be on the opposing side in a fight.

I’m still trying to process the consequences of a failed coup attempt in Ankara and whether it means any kind of significant change — or potential improvement — in Turkey’s ability to wage war against our common enemy … the Islamic State.

I’m almost afraid to go to sleep tonight out of fear that I’m going to wake up in the morning to find something else has overtaken the world’s attention.

President makes point about his support of cops

2016-07-12T192851Z_1_LYNXNPEC6B1GH_RTROPTP_3_USA-POLICE_JPG_800x1000_q100

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went to the White House to take part in a town hall meeting with President Barack Obama.

The subject: police relations with communities that might not always believe police officers are their friends.

Patrick stood up and asked Obama to express his support for the police in a way that conveys such support for the men and women who protect us.

I believe the president answered Patrick appropriately by telling him that he — Obama — has been “unequivocal” in his stated support of law enforcement.

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/15/brief-july-15-2016/?mc_cid=398044d66b&mc_eid=c01508274f

Lt. Gov. Patrick did not distinguish himself — or the state — when he derided the Black Lives Matter marchers as “hypocrites” when they fled the gunfire that erupted in Dallas the other evening. They were marching to protest police activities in other communities but then sought protection when the gunman opened fire. Thus, according to Patrick, they behaved hypocritically.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “In response to Patrick’s question at the discussion on Thursday, Obama countered that he had ‘been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric directed at police officers’ and offered to send Patrick examples of him expressing the sentiment ‘in case you missed it.’”

Indeed, I have heard our head of state say repeatedly that he condemns those who have struck out against police officers. I am not sure what Lt. Gov. Patrick actually wants the president to say that he hasn’t said already.

Perhaps it’s that President Obama has talked openly about the incidents in which the police at times have treated African-Americans and other racial minorities differently than they way they react to others.

Obama also said that “data shows there are disparities in how police treated people of different races, and that pointing out those disparities should not be viewed as anti-police.”

We all know the police have difficult and profoundly stressful jobs. Barack Obama knows it as well as does Dan Patrick.

The president said so — yet again! — at the White House town hall.

Open-carry law might need some tinkering

New_Hampshire_Open_Carry_2009

Did the Dallas shooting that killed five police officers and injured several others reveal a flaw in the Texas open-carry law?

Consider what transpired during the Black Lives Matter march that turned violent when the shooter opened fire on the cops.

Several individuals were seen at the march carrying weapons in the open, which they were entitled to do under the state’s open-carry law. One young man was arrested, handcuffed and detained for some time while police investigated whether he took part in the shooting. It turns out he didn’t.

Which brings to mind the question: How do police determine who are the heat-packing bystanders in the heat of an adrenaline-filled moment in which tensions run at fever pitches?

Here’s a thought put forward by others, but which seem to make sense: The Texas Legislature ought to consider tweaking the open-carry law when it convenes in January to give cities the option of banning people from carrying weapons in the open during political demonstrations.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/opinions/editorials/article/EDITORIAL-Open-carry-doesn-t-mix-with-political-8353183.php

As the Beaumont Enterprise noted in an editorial, guns and political demonstrations just don’t mix.

I’ve been able to take part in simulated shooting demonstrations with the Amarillo Police Department. I can tell you from personal experience — and this involves use of weapons that did not carry live ammo — that the adrenaline that courses through one’s body in a shoot-don’t-shoot situation can cloud one’s judgment.

I cannot imagine the chaos that ensued in Dallas that evening when gunfire erupted. Police responded immediately to protect crowd members. Then some of them spotted spectators carrying weapons. What does a cop do — in an instant?

So, let’s fine-tune this law. If Texans are going to insist on the right to carry guns in the open, then there ought to be some reasonable restrictions on where they can pack them.

It seems quite reasonable to me to let cities decide whether to allow them at political rallies.

 

Small-government conservatives?

08-dallas-shooting.w529.h352

I’ve already commented on a bill authored by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn that would federalize the crime of killing a police officer.

I’m against it. States that have the death penalty — such as Texas (Boy, howdy! Do we ever!) — already make cop-killing a capital punishment offense.

Cornyn’s bill is a reaction to the deaths of the five police officers in Dallas this past week.

A friend of mine reminds me, though, that he opposes Cornyn’s legislation, too, for another reason. It flies in the face of conservatives’ usual mantra that calls for “limited federal government.”

He wonders why GOP lawmakers react with this expansion of federal authority.

I think I know. They do it because it’s politically popular. Quite naturally, Democrats do the same thing when the issue suits their philosophical bent.

In this case, Americans are outraged over the officers’ death. So, in swoops Sen. Cornyn — a true-blue GOP conservative — to propose a bill that deals directly with that outrage. He wants to add another federal law to the books.

But what has happened, though, to the conservative view that less federal authority is better for everyone?

Killing a cop need not become a federal issue

cornyn

John Cornyn is angry about the deaths of those five Dallas police officers.

So am I. So are millions of other Americans.

Is that reason enough to create a new federal law, as Sen. Cornyn, is proposing? No. The states have it covered.

Cornyn, the Republican senior U.S. senator from Texas, wants to make killing police officers a federal crime. He’s gotten some co-sponsors for his bill, including his fellow Texan, Republican Ted Cruz.

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/13/Cornyn-Bill-Makes-Killing-Police-Federal-Crime/

My hunch is that Cornyn’s bill is meant to toughen penalties in states that do not now impose the death penalty for any capital crime.

I understand Cornyn’s interest in this issue. He’s a former Bexar County trial judge and a former Texas attorney general.

Texas, though, already makes killing cops an automatic death penalty prosecution, as do most states in the country.

According to the Texas Tribune: “Law enforcement officers selflessly put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, and in return they deserve our unparalleled support for the irreplaceable role they serve,” Cornyn said in a statement. “The Back the Blue Act sends a clear message that our criminal justice system simply will not tolerate those who viciously and deliberately target our law enforcement. As our country continues to grieve following last week’s tragedy in Dallas, we must come together in support of those who risk everything to keep us safe.”

My goodness, we can support our officers in many tangible ways. Texas already has enacted strict punishment for those convicted of killing officers.

Cities can support their police departments by ensuring they have adequate resources, staffing, up-to-date equipment and training. Legislatures can buttress local governments with sufficient grant funds that they can funnel to communities to assist in providing the best law enforcement that money can buy.

Millions of Americans are justifiably outraged over the attack that occurred in Dallas. Do we need another federal law that proves how mad we are? No.

This is what you call ‘outreach’

RPTThuEve228TT_JPG_800x1000_q100

I hereby crown Barack Obama as the King of Political Outreach.

The president is convening a town hall meeting at the White House to discuss racism in the nation.

Who do you think he’s invited to take part? None other than Texas Lt. Gov. Dan “They Are Hypocrites!” Patrick.

This is awesome, man!

Patrick popped off right after the shooting erupted in Dallas that killed five police officers. He appeared on “Fox and Friends” to criticize the Black Lives Matter protesters for fleeing the gunfire and seeking help from the very police whose conduct they were protesting.

Thus, came the “hypocrites!” charge.

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/13/patrick-attend-town-hall-obama/

It’s good that Lt. Gov. Patrick will attend this event. It will be televised on ESPN and ABC. The White House is seeking to assemble a diverse group of participants to get as many different points of view as possible.

This, I submit, is the real beauty of town hall meetings, which shouldn’t be used as political echo chambers where everyone applauds the views of everyone else.

As the Texas Tribune reports, quoting White House press secretary Josh Earnest: “I think the president is hopeful that those kinds of interactions will both illuminate a variety of perspectives for the American people to see,” Earnest said, according to a transcript of his daily briefing with reporters. “I also think he’s hopeful that it will illustrate what can happen when people open up their hearts to a different perspective.”

The catalyst for all this, of course, is the shooting of the two young men in Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul, as well as the Dallas march and the shooting that erupted there. Two young black men died after being shot by white police officers and the shooter — another young black man — opened fire in Dallas in an act of revenge against white police officers.

It’s good that the White House is playing host to this town hall.

It’s even better that the president of the United States has invited an outspoken critic — Dan Patrick — to take part.

You want outreach? This is it.