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Several hundred protesters were reaching the end of a march in Dallas against the killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. The Thursday evening march had been peaceful -- so peaceful that police had been posing for photos with protesters. Then the shooting started: A sniper (or possibly more) shot 12 Dallas police officers, killing five. Seven officers and two civilian were wounded. Of the dead, four were Dallas Police officers, and one was a member of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police, which was also providing protection for the march and rally. When it was over, police had killed a suspect, after an hours-long standoff with multiple exchanges of gunfire in a parking garage. Despite claims by the suspect who was shooting at police in the parking garage, initial and secondary sweeps found no explosives in the area. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, it was the deadliest single day for law enforcement officers since September 11, 2001, when 72 officers died.


President Obama, in Poland for a NATO summit, called the Dallas shootings "a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement," shortly after speaking on the phone with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe, during peaceful protests. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot. Five were killed. Other officers, and at least one civilian, were wounded. Some are in serious condition, and we are praying for their recovery.

At a Friday morning news conference, Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said, "We're hurting...We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens."

He said police had cornered the suspect in the El Centro parking garage for several hours and attempted to negotiate with him while periodically exchanging fire with him; after it became clear he was not going to surrender, police sent in a robot with an explosive device that detonated and killed the suspect. Earlier reports that the shooter had taken his own life were incorrect, Brown said.

According to Brown, the suspect made several statements to a hostage negotiator about his motives. He said the suspect "expressed anger for Black Lives Matter" and was angry at police who had killed black people, that he was upset at white people and wanted to kill whites, especially white police officers. He also said police would "eventually find the IEDs," none of which were actually found. Brown said the suspect stated he had acted alone and was not affiliated with any group. The suspect's claim that he acted alone appears to contradict reports that there were two or more snipers firing from elevated positions and triangulating their fire on officers.

Earlier reports said three other suspects were in custody but not cooperating. Chief Brown would not go into any detail on how many other suspects may have been involved beyond the suspect who was killed, as the case is still being investigated. In response to questions, Brown simply said that while he was certain the dead suspect had done some of the shooting, the police were still tracking down leads, and would not confirm how many other suspects might be in custody in case there are others still at large. "We're not counting, or expanding on who or how many -- we're going to keep these suspects guessing," he said. Brown also said several of the injured officers had already been released, but that some remained hospitalized.

Brown emphasized the courage of Dallas and DART officers who ran toward gunfire to help escort protesters out of the area. He added, "We don't feel much support most days. Let's not make today most days. Please, we need your support to be able to protect you from men like these who carried out this tragic, tragic event." Speaking to police relations with the community, Mayor Rawlings added that Dallas police had been trained in de-escalation "far before cities across America did it," and that the city is "one of the premier community policing cities in the country." That would certainly seem to have been the case during Thursday's protest march, as police and protesters interacted cooperatively; before the shooting began, the Dallas PD Twitter stream provided regular updates on the protest, including photos showing police directing traffic to ensure the marchers' safety.

There was initial confusion about how many suspects were in custody; the Dallas Morning News reports police initially questioned two people who drove away from the scene after being seen throwing a camouflaged bag into the back of a Mercedes, but later released them. Another man whose picture was tweeted as a "person of interest" because he was open-carrying a semiautomatic rifle turned himself in and was released after he was determined to be just a person who really loves walking around with a rifle, which is legal in Texas. (He has received "thousands of death threats" overnight.)

We still don't know anything about the attackers, but that hasn't kept the internet from going crazy with speculation. Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, now a rightwing radio screamer, knew almost immediately who we were at war with: the President of the United States and peaceful protesters.

Walsh soon deleted the tweet, and replaced it with another bunch of lies that at least didn't call for warfare, instead leaving that conclusion to readers:

He wrapped it all up with a denial that he had been talking about violence at all, merely inciting hate without a specific call for doing anything about it, so that was nice:

That final tweet was a reference to President Obama's remarks on the shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, delivered hours before the mayhem in Dallas, in which the president said the killings were

symptomatic of the broader 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.

You see where he said all cops were racist? Sure, it was right there. Obama also said,

To admit we've got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.

Somehow, that strikes us as less inflammatory than it did Walsh. The Drudge Report also offered its thoughts on the obvious conclusion to be drawn, just a couple hours into the tragedy:

We say the hell with them, and will leave you with this video posted to Twitter by TCU student Justin Sanchez:

Let's be careful out there.

[Dallas Morning News /NYT / The White House]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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