no trolls allowed open thread racism terrorism

Open thread to discuss shootings in Dallas that have left 5 police officers dead

Dallas police outside emergency room
Dallas police outside emergency room

An open thread to discuss the shootings in Dallas. What’s been reported so far: 5 officers were killed and 6 others wounded when multiple shooters opened fire on police at a BlackLivesMatter protest in Dallas. Three suspects are in custody; a fourth reportedly killed himself during a standoff with police. The police say he was spouting apocalyptic rhetoric and claimed more police deaths were to come.

More details here.

Whoever the shooters are, whatever  justifications they’ve cooked up, this is a massacre, an act of terrorism. Abusive cops need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But vigilante “justice” isn’t justice. These officers did not deserve this. Not only that, but the shootings will make it harder to fight the police abuses that have left so many innocent black men (and black boys, and black women) dead.

No trolls, no MRAs allowed in this thread. Anyone who justifies the shootings in any way, whether they’re sincere or a troll, will be banned and their comments will be deleted. Please email me to let me know if you see any inappropriate comments.

121 replies on “Open thread to discuss shootings in Dallas that have left 5 police officers dead”


“The difference between the police and Muslims is that the police are a group that has power and privilege and uphold systems of oppression”

When we speak of how Islamophobia is bad we’re not just speaking of how it’s bad to fear/hate the Muslims in the US that are oppressed minorities, but worldwide, where many Muslims are the privileged group with power. And yet, power or not, Islamophobia is still bad, because hating an entire group based on the actions of individuals is bad.

Other than that, I agree with you. Being called “pig” is part of the job. The anger is justified. But, broad hate of the entire group is not. I will always condemn hate.

Good cops keep the peace. They are essential for protecting black lives from crime and anarchy. Hating the whole group is not justified.


“Now, as a white man, neither of those scenarios bother me. And we know there are many men who would scoff at a woman for feeling scared in the second scenario. At best your going to get into a #notallmen debate.”

To be fair, how much of that is privilege, and how much of that s macho posturing? Men aren’t supposed to feel fear/anxiety, correct?

While police brutality is disproportionately focused on MOC, it’s not exclusively so. Numbers wise, white men are being shot by police hand over fist as well. Seems to me that just about everyone is afraid of the police in the US.

America has a violence problem. We’re a bunch of bored, wannabe-cowboys cursing our sheltered lives. We’ve never suffered violence the way Europe and Asia did during WWII. Hell, some of us treat 9/11 as being worse than the firebombings that Europe and Asia endured. Or all the mass rapes, entire families being killed by the “liberators”. These Americans are itching for war.

We all should be very afraid.


“And I am not being racist by saying to a black person that it is absolutely my place to criticize Malcolm X, Ward Churchill, and the ideology of violence, and to prefer methods of nonviolence.”

Holy shit I missed this until LG pointed it out.

Malcolm X = ideology of violence? [Citation(s) badly fucking needed].


I love this! Hope you don’t mind if I steal it.

Of course you may use it. It’s nice when something that makes sense of what’s in my head makes sense to other people too.

On the subject of Malcolm X: It does not seem right to characterize any stance that is not that of passive resistance as promoting violence. There is a long history of self-defense against violence being considered justified. Turning the other cheek may be a laudable response, but not the only laudable response.

“Last but not least, I must say this concerning the great controversy over rifles and shotguns. The only thing I’ve ever said is that in areas where the government has proven itself either unwilling or unable to defend the lives and the property of Negroes, it’s time for Negroes to defend themselves. Article number two of the Constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun. It is constitutionally legal to own a shotgun or a rifle. This doesn’t mean you’re going to get a rifle and form battalions and go out looking for white folks, although you’d be within your rights – I mean, you’d be justified; but that would be illegal and we don’t do anything illegal. If the white man doesn’t want the black man buying rifles and shotguns, then let the government do its job. That’s all.”

-Malcolm X

“It doesn’t mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time, I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.”

-Malcolm X

“If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.”

-Malcolm X

I agree, self-defense is intellegence, not violence. Turning the ther cheek in the face of real violence is self-harm, and violence against the self.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to get a rifle and form battalions and go out looking for white folks, although you’d be within your rights – I mean, you’d be justified; but that would be illegal and we don’t do anything illegal.

This part is confusing.

I think he’s just clarifying that he feels it’s justified because of all of the violence perpetrated against black people but it’s not legal so he doesn’t condone it.

@ mrex

To be fair, how much of that is privilege, and how much of that s macho posturing? Men aren’t supposed to feel fear/anxiety, correct?

I think in the scenarios described it would just be realistic risk assessment.

But to follow on your point about expectations of ‘masculinity’ you might enjoy this anecdote.

At a seminar for SWAT teams, one of the lecturers stated that in a confidential survey of SWAT team members 95% of respondents had reported that on at least one operation they had defecated themselves. “Now what does that tell us?” he asked.

One of the more experienced SWAT team members in the audience raised his hand:

“It tells us that 5% of your respondent were lying”

@mrex & Alan:

Worth noting that run-ins with American cops and British cops aren’t entirely the same, not least of all because most British cops aren’t armed with guns. I’m a white guy with no record of anything at all, living in one of the more liberal states in the country, and being stopped/approached by a cop here still feels highly threatening and intimidating.

@ dslucia

Like you say, our police aren’t routinely armed and also the chances of a UK police officer encountering an armed person on a random encounter are negligible.

I imagine that must lead to a significant difference in tension levels from the start.


Just as a quick comparison, there have apparently been at least 610 people killed as a result of contact with the police in the US this year. I imagine the number for that in the UK is significantly lower; at a quick Google, the number I can find for people who have died following contact with the police is about 17. I’m not sure how accurate those numbers are, of course.

Question for Americans:
I notice, when reading about your police forces, that they seem to be extremely small and localised. In Britain (and in Europe in general) police forces are often very large and bureaucratic organisations which oversee large areas and have tens of thousands of officers; a large city would have a single police force for all of its suburbs. The thought of a suburb like Ferguson having its own police force (and therefore needing to fund it locally) just seems weird.

Am I getting the wrong impression from only seeing a few weird cases, or is this the case nationally?


But, broad hate of the entire group is not.

Really? You don’t think that it’s justified to hate people for belonging to the KKK? The American Nazi Party? Membership in some groups absolutely justifies strong negative feelings, and it is perfectly reasonable to consider the police such a group, especially since there is a major overlap between the police and the KKK.

Good cops keep the peace. They are essential for protecting black lives from crime and anarchy.

Assertion provided without evidence. Many societies have not had any body significantly resembling modern police forces while continuing to function. (Also, I take exception to the notion that anarchy is something people need protection from, but that’s another matter). Indeed, the primary purpose of the modern police force is specifically to enforce class, race, and gender hierarchies, rather than for any purpose which a progressive should support.

To be fair, how much of that is privilege, and how much of that s macho posturing?

A lot of it. When I was presenting male, I had little reason to feel apprehension about police officers approaching me (although I did anyway, for a variety of reasons), and less to worry about strange men doing so. Of course, at that time, strange men would never reverse their course when I passed them on dark streets to follow me. So, that sort of thing, kinda worrisome.

Also, police violence isn’t limited to killing people; as a trans woman, I have a distressingly high probability of being sexually assaulted during an interaction with the police. How high cannot be calculated, due to issues of reporting and record keeping, but it appears from what I can learn to be higher than that of any random man doing the same.

@EJ (TOO):

I can’t necessarily speak for other states, but here in Vermont most cities/towns have their own forces. Ferguson, Missouri is a full city, with apparently 54 sworn officers and 18 civilian support, to a population of just over 20,000. For comparison, Burlington, Vermont has an apparent 100 officers and 36 support to a population of just over 40,000.

New York City would probably be the place to look for an accurate answer, and as far as I’m aware the NYPD is the sole police force that covers the entire city.

Yes, that is the standard. All kinds of infrastructure is organized and funded that way: roads, schools, fire departments, mass transit (to the extent that that exists in the U.S.). Where I live, there are about a dozen separate city councils, that all have their own separate property taxes and duplicate every function of city government. There was a case recently where an overpass was delayed for two years because the municipalities on either side couldn’t agree on who would pay for how much of it. The whole thing basically boils down to structural racism: it’s designed to ensure that well-off white people’s taxes never go to provide any services for [insert racial slur here].

Not only are the police local, they’re extremely local. You have the city police, who cannot do anything even one block outside the city limits, the county sheriff’s office which covers everything within the county, so if you’re not incorporated into a city (like me), you have to use the county sheriff, there’s the state highway patrol, who, depending on the state, may or may not be able to write citations and/or make arrests once off the highway, and there’s probably more to it that I’m not aware of. I’m not actually sure who controls/funds the SWAT teams. I think city?

Addendum to the abov: I don’t mean to suggest that the police don’t also regularly sexually assault cis women, especially women of colour, because that’s a huge problem. It gets more likely the more marginalization boxes you tick off, though. Trans women of colour, for instance, are at vastly higher risk than me.


I’m not actually sure who controls/funds the SWAT teams. I think city?

Usually each department has its own; some of the smaller departments have agreements with a larger neighboring department to use theirs.

To add on to what’s already been said, a lot of municipal areas in the US consist of multiple separate incorporated cities and towns which are now adjacent because the larger town expanded up (and sometimes around) the smaller town’s borders. Other times it happens because (typically wealthy white people) are afraid of having their community annexed by the larger town so they act to incorporate it themselves. All of these communities are separate legal entities and have their own police departments.

Additional police/law enforcement departments can be found in colleges and universities, transit authorities, government building/grounds, Highway Patrol, SBI/State Police… and that’s not even touching the Federal Agencies.

mrex says:

hating an entire group based on the actions of individuals is bad.

The police aren’t merely a “group.” They aren’t some broad category of people who happen to share certain beliefs. They’re an organization (a collection of organizations, really) made to wield power—mandated to do so. And, as an organization, they’re doing a shit job of wielding that power. People hating the organization for its failures and its refusal to get better is nothing at all like hating Muslims.

hating all Muslims because of Isis =\= hating all cops because …. of cops. All cops work in the same system, not all Muslims do. Look, some ISIS member are probably good guys but it doesnt make a difference to those fleeing or fighting them. ANY cop that kills a black person will be protected by the same system, so while hate might be the wrong way to go, black people have to fear EVERY SINGLE cop, because of that system. Thats not the same thing as saying that because a really specific cult within a HUGE religion are terrorists, youre gonna hate anyone you think is of that religion, including Muslim-raised Atheists, Syrian Christians, Hindu Indians, and Sikhs (all of whom suffer from Islamophobia). Being brown-skinned and looking Arab isnt a choice, it isnt a job or a system or a uniform. Religious affiliation is not much of a choice for a lot of people – ie if youre 17 or live in an oppressive state or something, you might not be allowed to not wear hijab, yet you will get harassed by white people for it. So no, fucking no, prejudice against armed, militant employees of an oppressive, murderous state =\= Islamophobia.

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