Despite Dallas shooter Micah Johnson telling police that he “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” and that he was “upset about Black Lives Matter” and the alleged systemic racism of law enforcement, President Barack Obama said Saturday that it was “very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter.”
Obama’s blatantly disingenuous and politically motivated claim came during a press conference in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday, just two days after the attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven others injured.
“First of all, I think it’s very hard to untangle the motivers of this shooter,” Obama said of the Black Power-supporting shooter, Johnson. “I’ll leave that to psychologists and people who study these kinds of incidents…I think the danger is that we somehow suggest the act of a troubled individuals speaks to some larger political statement across the country.”
“By definition if you shoot people who pose no threat to you, you have a troubled mind,” he added, attempting to dismiss the relevance of motive altogether in mass killings. “What triggers that, what feeds it, what sets it off, I’ll leave that to psychologists and people who study these kinds of incidents,” he said.
Obama quickly redirected the conversation away from the self-declared racial motivations of the shooter to his administration’s gun control and social justice policing agenda, both of which he made clear by his statements following the attack that he believed could benefit by the tragedy. He led into his push for more gun control by suggesting that if you do not support it, you do not “care about the safety of our police officers.”
“If you care about the safety of our police officers, you can’t set aside the gun issue and pretend that’s irrelevant,” he said. “It is a contributing factor, not the sole factor but a contributing factor, to the broader tensions that arise between the police and the communities they serve.”
The president expressed exasperation at the idea that many Americans felt strongly about their Second Amendment rights. “The problem is, even mention of it somehow evokes this polarization,” he said.
The president then went on to downplay that polarization. America, said the most divisive and partisan president in modern history, “is not as divided as some have suggested.” What unites us, he said, is that we are all — including the protesters, he claimed — “outraged” by the attacks on law enforcement.
“Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by the inexcusable attacks on police, whether it’s in Dallas or anyplace else,” he said. “That includes protesters. It includes family members who have grave concerns about police conduct and they’ve said that this is unacceptable. There’s no division there.”
Unfortunately, a quick look online at videos and posts of Black Lives Matters sympathizers following the Dallas attack shows a much different picture of the anti-cop movement than the president apparently imagines. The question is not if there is a “division,” it’s how wide that divide truly is.
In the end, Obama said that all he was “hoping” to do by repeatedly making reckless, inflammatory, and misleading comments about the “systemic racism” plaguing America’s criminal justice system is to help “Americans to understand the difficult legacy of race” and that discrimination “didn’t suddenly vanish” after the Civil Rights movement.
Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, racial tension in America is worse than it’s been in decades, and innocent people are dying because of it. To state the obvious, what Obama “hopes” his legacy on race will be is far from its deadly reality.