On Thursday, President Obama reacted to the cell-phone-captured footage of the police killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile by suggesting that such killings were “not isolated incidents.” Instead, he said, “They are symptomatic of challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.”
In effect, Obama said – just as he’s been saying for years – that what he believes are extrajudicial murders of black men by police officers are the result of systemic racism, reflected in disproportionate arrest and imprisonment statistics.
Then, on Thursday night, anti-white racist snipers began firing on white police officers in Dallas. When the smoke had cleared, five officers were dead and another seven were wounded, some grievously.
This raises an obvious question: what sort of responsibility does President Obama bear for the massacre?
This isn’t the first time such questions have been raised about leftist anti-cop rhetoric. After the death of Eric Garner in New York City in 2014, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio echoed Obama’s message: “We are dealing with centuries of racism that brought us to this day.” Obama promptly called De Blasio to thank him. De Blasio bragged that he had met Obama at the White House, and said that he had told his son, who is black, “about the dangers he may face” from police. Days later, two police officers in New York City were murdered in cold blood by a black criminal who pledged to put “wings on pigs” on social media. The NYPD turned their backs on De Blasio when he attended the funeral for one of the officers.
Yet the media today – and President Obama himself – blame lack of gun control for Dallas, or claim that motives are unclear. They certainly distance the Black Lives Matter movement from the shootings, even as the Democratic National Committee released a statement essentially lumping together BLM with the anti-cop terrorist attack: “while most protesters have made their voices heard peacefully, tonight’s shooting of officers in Dallas is unacceptable and a reminder that the time to address these tensions and find common ground is long overdue.”
So, what is the relationship between anti-cop rhetoric and the racist murder of cops?
First off, let’s point out the obvious double standard from the left: when a white racist, Dylann Storm Roof, shot up a Charleston black church, the left immediately blamed a widespread culture of racism, and insisted that states across the country tear down Confederate war memorials and stop sponsoring the Confederate flag at state capitols. When non-black cops shoot black suspects, the left insists – without a shred of evidence – that such killings are endemic among police officers, and that the entire system is racist. When anti-Donald Trump protesters riot against Trump supporters, the left blame Trump’s rhetoric. When a nutcase shoots up an area near a Planned Parenthood, the left blames the pro-life movement. When another nutcase shoots Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the left blames Sarah Palin’s Congressional targets map. But when obvious anti-white racists murder white cops, the left suggests that gun control is the issue; when obvious Islamic terrorists murder gay people in a nightclub in Orlando, the problem is white Christians who don’t support same-sex marriage and Republicans who defend gun rights.
In other words, for the left, rhetoric can only connect with murder when it’s rhetoric they don’t like. If they do like the rhetoric -- or at least if they want to defend the people responsible for the rhetoric -- then the actual motivation for murder will be [omitted].
But now let’s tackle the real question: when is rhetoric responsible for violence? Rhetoric is responsible for violence when it calls for violence. Radical Islam calls for jihad. Protesters chanting “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” calls for violence against cops. Barack Obama didn’t call for violence against cops.
That said, he did do three things that are particularly despicable:
- He denied that murder charges require evidence;
- He denied that charges of racism require evidence;
- He ignored the actual cause of anti-cop violence.
Obama didn’t cause the Orlando shooting attack, but his failure to label it Islamic jihadism surely stopped America from fighting it properly. Obama didn’t cause the Dallas shootings, but his attempts to turn the conversation toward gun control or police brutality are just another way to avoid a real conversation about anti-white racism.
So no, of course Obama isn’t responsible for the Dallas shootings. But he’s surely responsible for cultivating a racially polarized culture, ignoring the real causes of anti-cop violence, and leaving cops out in the cold to fend for themselves.