Last night, five Dallas, Texas, police officers were shot and killed and another seven wounded apparently by a shooter targeting them over recent police shootings of civilians.
The New York Times reports that David Brown, police chief in Dallas, said about the shooter, “he was upset at Black Lives Matter, said he was upset about recent police shootings…he was especially upset at white police officers.”
The ambush of Â police officers is an act of terror on civil society and has much in common with Timothy McVeigh’s deadly 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City in which 168 people were killed and 680 injured, many severely.
Just like the Dallas shooter, McVeigh and his accomplice were striking back at our government over very specific grievances.
The Murrah building was chosen because of its symbolic value.
McVeigh was enraged about the siege in Waco, Texas and the incident at Ruby Ridge.
He was also involved in the white supremacist and militia movements.
The Use of Deadly Force
McVeigh, despite his hate filled ideology, was right about one aspect of Ruby Ridge: Â the federal government wrongly targeted Randy Weaver and set in play the events that caused the deaths of innocent people.
A senior FBI official called the charges against Weaver which became the basis for deadly government action “bull shit.”
Similarly, the recent Sterling and Castile shootings by police seem to be indefensible but so is last night’s act of terror.
It’s essential to note that follow-on investigations of Ruby Ridge elicited multiple findings of law enforcement out-of-control.
“The US Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Ruby Ridge Task Force Report Â stated that the second shot [fired during the stand-off] did not satisfy constitutional standards for legal use of deadly force.”
It is the use of deadly force by law enforcement that is the current subject of outrage, 24 years after Ruby Ridge.
If deadly force by law enforcement is being deployed recklessly it is up to elected leaders to assert their authority to change the operational environment.
Killing innocent police officers is cowardly in just the same way that McVeigh’s act was.
Policing is a dangerous activity in any event but none more so then when officers are deliberately targeted because of the uniform they wear and come under fire in a surprise attack as a result.
June 8, 2014: Jerad and Amanda Miller murdered Las Vegas police officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck as they ate lunch.
September 26, 2014: Eric Frein killed Â trooper Bryon K. Dickson II and critically injured trooper Alex Douglass at a Pennsylvania State Police Barracks.
December 20, 2014:Â Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu as they sat in their patrol car.
October 23, 2014: Zale H. Thompson attacked four NYPD Â officers with a hatchet as they posed for a photo on a Queens sidewalk.
In these incidents and others officers were targeted and the outcomes were tragic and deadly.
The Millers and Frein were white, ambushing innocent police officers is a fully integrated American activity.