Racial Reconciliation: Nebulous, Elusive, and Contentious

Racial tensions have skyrocketed again in recent weeks.  There are two more incidents of the police killing a black man.  Philando Castille in Minnesota was shot during a traffic stop, and the aftermath was recorded by his girlfriend.  I always preach patience for all the facts to come out, but it sure does look like the officer panic shot him for no rational reason.  Castille was armed but apparently had already told the cops that he was carrying and was licensed to do so.  The other man who was shot was Alton Sterling.  Sterling was killed after a struggle with police, and the officers allege that he was reaching for a gun.  Protesters have objected and tried to paint Sterling as a harmless man at first; others then responded by posting Sterling’s rap sheet, which showed a history of criminal acts, some violence, and even sex with a minor.  The other side then furiously fired back that his criminal background was irrelevant.

Then, with all of this going on, a sniper open fired on police during a Black Lives Matter protest last Thursday in Dallas.  Five officers were killed and several more were injured.  The shooter, Micah Johnson, was former military and specifically said he was targeting cops, especially white cops, out of a sense of revenge.  He was not directly associated with the BLM movement, but the fact that a black man gunned down cops (some of them Hispanic) in the most cowardly way did not help race relations at all.  It especially did not help as many people on social media, quite stupidly, labeled him a martyr and said that his actions were justified (though of course, most people, including most in the BLM movement, denounced his actions).  How killing random cops in a completely different city (a city with a black police chief at that) from where these other shootings occurred constitutes justified action is beyond me.

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