We Need Dialogue Not Political Rhetoric

Too much death this week should lead to serious conversations


WASHINGTON – Less than 9 hours after 12 Dallas police persons were shot by a sniper in the worst mass killing of law enforcement personnel since the 9/11 terror attack.  It was an act of domestic terrorism, and it capped one of the worst weeks of violence in recent years.

Along with Dallas we had Both of the week’s cases involved police officers who shot black men, reportedly armed, in encounters that escalated quickly and were documented on video by onlookers.

The Black Lives Matter movement advocates dignity, not murder, the group said on Friday in response to the shooting in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded seven more.

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The Black Lives Matter movement advocates dignity, not murder, the group said on Friday in response to the shooting in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded seven more.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a majority black city with a long history of friction between the public and the police, Tuesday’s killing of 37-year Alton Sterling outside a convenience store led to street protests and an immediate response from the Justice Department, which launched an investigation.

A thousand miles north, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a small, largely white city served by a neighboring police force, there was a similar response to the death Wednesday of 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop.

Let’s start with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who condemned the killing of five Dallas police officers as “an attack on our country” and said Friday that racial tensions in America were deteriorating.

The three shootings drew quick responses from the political world.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement after a meeting with his national security team at the Treasury Department in Washington, U.S.

President Barack Obama said Friday that the nation was “horrified” after what he called “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement” in Dallas.

“There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement,” Obama said, speaking from the NATO summit in Poland that he is attending. “Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”

Obama said he would weigh in again when more is known about the killers’ “twisted motivations.”

The President also made an implicit call for tighter gun restrictions, saying the carnage could have been mitigated if the killer or killers weren’t carrying powerful weapons.

“Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices they make for us,” Obama said of law enforcement officers. “We also know when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these deadlier and more tragic.”

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The Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump made a statement about the violence.

“We must restore law and order,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement. “We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street. The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.”

Obama said he would weigh in again when more is known about the killers’ “twisted motivations.”

What too often goes un reported or at least under-reported is how Black Lives Matters leaders meet with law enforcement to work together. Neither side wants violence they want to be able to work together to make lives in their cities nationwide.

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The act of domestic violence, put the Black Lives Matter movement, an overwhelmingly peaceful response to years of dehumanization of some communities by officers who swore to protect them. And those murders in the midst of a protest march terrify all of us who are now forced to wonder whether we have just witnessed an irrevocable break in the fabric of society, one that leaves us all less safe.

Now the Dallas shootings threaten to push us farther apart.

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We cannot allow that to happen. Instead, we all must acknowledge the truth that police face real danger every day in what is an extraordinarily difficult job. They have earned our respect and our support on all levels.

We also must not allow the malicious acts of madmen to discredit the very real grievances that have animated the Black Lives Matter movement during the past two years. We all must be horrified both by the killings of Sterling and Castile and those of the police officers in Dallas. This is a time when it would be easy to retreat in fear, but it is also an opportunity to build mutual understanding.

Nationally, we need a strong and honest dialog about race relations and how we can move together to help stop the killing.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.