Our American culture is one in which grave injustices exist and where gun violence is seen as a reasonable approach to resolving interpersonal conflicts. The reality of our lack of political will to address the mass shootings that occur on most days has been demonstrated over and over again in the aftermath of the most brutal of these killing sprees. I don’t expect we will gather the political will to change our culture of violence in the near future. The fact is, however, that our gun culture is separate from the injustices that we continue to support in the United States. As I am writing this, the Mayor and the Police Chief of Dallas, Texas have just asked the public to not mix the injustices that exist with the tragedy that took place in the killing of five law enforcement officers last night.
It is critically important that we not use the injustices, which often present themselves through police brutality towards people of color, as an excuse to overlook the fact that the Dallas shootings targeted officers who were protecting a group of protesters responding to the latest round of black men dying at the hands of police. Regardless of their opinions of the protest, these officers were there to protect the rights of the protesters. That is what police officers are called to do and they do it day after day across the country.
As more and more documentary evidence accumulates regarding the injustices imposed upon people of color we need to come to grips with the fact that continuing to accept both wholesale injustice within our population and a culture of gun violence will only lead to disastrous consequences. Neither the annual deaths of tens of thousands of people due to gun violence nor accepting that people of color die regularly at the hands of law enforcement officials make us better as a people or as a nation. We have the data we need to affect the rate of gun deaths in this country but don’t have the political will to act. The weight of the credible evidence regarding the social and monetary cost of the on-going injustices towards people of color in our country suggest we can no longer afford to pretend we can continue to ignore the reality before us. Supporting a culture of senseless violence and senseless injustice seems, just senseless. Given the fact that the gun industry isn’t likely to release its grip on politicians anytime soon, we the people may do well to focus our attention towards liberty and justice for all.