On the night of October 31, 2008, a neighbor and all around good guy who just happened to be a sergeant in the local police force was sitting in his squad car by the local Starbucks. Somewhere around midnight, a criminal known to multiple local law enforcement entities in these parts walked up behind him, began to fire a pistol at the back of his head, and executed him. This dude shot the sergeant in cold-blood. Why? When the perp was captured five days later on the other side of the state, he said he wanted to start a race war.
At the time, the entire idea sounded ludicrous. At that point in our nation’s history, not to mention the truly diverse suburb of St. Louis where this writer resides, racial division was nowhere close to as contentious as it had been decades earlier – and no cop in this place had died at the hands of any man, black or white, in almost 33 years (and that wasn’t racially motivated even if the shooter was black. It was a domestic call gone bad). The people just weren’t primed for an actual revolution.
Fast forward to 2014, and after a number of years of not so subtle messaging on a national basis, the idea that the USA is one heck of a racist place had started to take hold, even if it was then and remains now largely untrue. Then a huge boy-man named Michael Brown who happened to be black made some bad decisions that lead to his death at the hands of a white police officer who was acting in self defense. Suddenly, the racism and the idea that police all over the country were targeting blacks for any number of things took hold of the national conversation.
Here we are a year later, and this week a black man with mental stability issues killed two white people involved in television as some sort of revenge for perceived racial slights, and a deputy sheriff in Harris County, Texas was gunned down while pumping gas at a gas station. Both incidents were black on white crime. The first shooter was blatant in his motivation of racism. The second is still at large.
Why is this happening and what can be done to make it stop? Certainly not more gun control. That fallacy need not be rehashed in this space. (When Chicago’s murder rate drops, we’ll talk.) In the words of the Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman via USAToday:
“When rhetoric ramps up to the point where cold-blooded assassination has happened, this rhetoric has gotten out of control,” he said. “We heard ‘black lives matter.’ All lives matter. Cops’ lives matter too, so why don’t we drop the qualifier and say lives matter and take that to the bank.”
To the vast majority of people, that makes all the sense in the world. The national rhetoric on this issue has gotten completely out of control. Couple it with a victim mentality that is infectious and unstable people will use the idea of racism to justify cold-blooded killings – and that’s what this week’s shootings were: cold-blooded. According to Sheriff Hickman, there appears to be no provocation for the killing and no connection to other cases. All evidence points to the television murders as being quite well planned and premeditated. That, by definition, is cold-blooded.
At the time of this writing, the killer of Deputy Darren Goforth of Harris County, Texas, is still at large with an intense manhunt underway. Anyone with information is asked to relay it to the Sheriff’s Office there. Because of this individual, another police wife is without a husband tonight, and two children have no father – just as my neighbor’s widow is without him, and childhood friends grew up without their dad. My friends’ dad was the cop whose tour ended when the husband in that domestic call referenced above stood over him with a shotgun, and blew him away all those years ago.
This has to stop.
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