Friday, July 08, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Nightmare in Dallas

The moment we heard the terrible news Thursday night from Dallas, it was obvious that at least one experienced shooter was responsible for this latest domestic terrorist attack at a Black Lives Matter march that killed five officers and injured seven. President Obama called the murders “vicious and despicable.”

The ambush was so deadly, the police at first assumed three gunmen were responsible for the massacre. But when a robot detonated a bomb near their suspect, Dallas police announced their colleagues were gunned down by an Army veteran named Mica X. Johnson, 25. He appears to be the lone suspect. He was killed by a robot rigged with explosives, apparently a first for a police department in the U.S.

Johnson, an Afghan war veteran, used his military experience to turn on police officers who were keeping the march peaceful as it moved downtown until he used his sniper’s perch and turned his rifle on the officers below near Dealey Plaza, where President Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963.

The march had been orderly until then, as described to one of our colleagues whose son-in-law was at the protest as an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco wearing civilian clothes.

Johnson told police he was taking revenge for the police shootings of civilians in Louisiana and Minnesota and wanted to kill white police officers. He was a member of the New Black Panther Party in Houston and was involved in such Facebook communities as “The Black Matrix,” which seeks to dismantle “white social elites” that have repressed black people. He also belonged to “Filming Cops” and “Police the Police” on Facebook, which, coupled with his Army training, ended with Thursday night’s massacre.

Too many deranged individuals with deadly weapons are on the loose, many of them professionally trained like Johnson and Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, who was a licensed security guard.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the Dallas massacre was the deadliest attack on police since 9/11, when 72 officers perished in the line of duty. The Dallas tragedy was the worst shooting incident in the U.S. and its territories since 1950, when seven police officers were killed in Puerto Rico during a political uprising. Back in 1932, two suspected car thieves shot and killed six officers who came to arrest them in Missouri.

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) said in a statement, “We, as a nation, must come together in support of the brave and selfless men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities.”

Conner Eldridge, the Democrat running against Boozman, said, “We must come together and work to prevent this continued violence that impacts us all.”

Fine sentiments, but Congress must take action against domestic terrorists and identify them before they commit mass murder.

We mourn the loss of all innocent lives, including the civilians killed in Louisiana and Minnesota as well as the heroes who were gunned down in Dallas. Like law-enforcement officials in our area, they risked their lives every day for modest pay and frequent abuse. Too often, they make the ultimate sacrifice and we salute them, even if they can no longer hear our words.