What happened in Dallas is not the first time LEOs were targeted and certainly not the last. But it is one of the most impressive incidents in the way it was apparently planned and then executed so effectively. IMHO, Dallas will be later seen as a tipping point for many changes, in society and law enforcement as well, that will only become apparent later on. These changes will not be positive. In many ways, the escalation towards a breakdown of the system is already picking up speed. Two points I want to highlight about this:
1) Ignorant opinions and worldwide broadcasting at everybody’s fingertips.
Before even the facts are in, Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the internet explode with everybody having an opinion on what happened in Dallas, regardless of it being based on facts or relevant experience/knowledge. This goes viral and both misinformation and disinformation spreads like wildfire. The problem is that people act upon this mis(dis)information. When they do so in sufficient numbers, you get protests that get out of control and riots. A society cannot function when there is constant and increasing civil unrest and riots. There will be a reaction from the authorities. If that us deemed lacking by the majority of people who aren’t activists and don’t riot, but are on the receiving end of the property and personal damage of such actions, things will get interesting. IOW, there will be a response, sooner or later.
The second part of this point is that people no longer recognize how strong the influence of mass-media is. E.g.: The Nazi’s (and eventually the Allies) understood that well, as perhaps one of the first in history. It’s worth studying their propaganda machine and comparing it to what you see nowadays from activists.
Most of all, go read reactions to Dallas on social media. There is an impressive number of “Fuck the pigs” and “they got it coming” and “now whites know how it feels.” No matter how you slice it, that’s hate speech and it is not innocent or without consequence.
E.g.: from a discussion I had with Marc MacYoung
Worth watching, in the light of that Antifa video. This is where it leads to.The key segments are visiting the church, the prisoners and then the dinner party at the end. The talk of reconciliation goes smoothly until the woman starts voicing her opinion. Notice how the men cautiously respond then.The other point is the statement that the people aren’t ready for democracy. That a dictator is better for the current situation…BTW, I was in the Army then and vividly remembered when our commando troopers were slaughtered and mutilated. General Dallaire knew full well what was going on. He let it happen. He refused to send help. This still isn’t forgotten over here.
Now look up Radio Mille Collines…
This was about 25 years ago, before the internet and social media: media used effectively to spread mis- and disinformation to whip an entire population into a frenzy.
100 days later, at least 500.00 people were slaughtered…
That’s the power of media manipulation.
Now consider that radio is a very old and (by today’s standards) ineffective medium. The internet and in particular social media are so much more effective, there is no comparison…
Does this mean we need to abolish free speech? No.
It means speech is not necessarily innocent or without consequence. If you think writing “kill the police!” is justified, understand that you’re contributing to an escalation that leads to only one thing: bloodshed and lots of it.
Which leads me to the next point…
2) Broken societies suck for everybody.
In 1993, during the Russian Constitutional Crisis, I was in Moscow for a competition. By that time, the Soviet system had already been broken for a while and the consequences were felt by the population. Some experiences from that trip:
- We stayed at what was once a fancy hotel. When I went to the bathroom and flipped on the light, dozens of cockroaches ran for cover.
- Breakfast at the hotel was a green egg, bread that had bite marks from small animals in it and portions were very small. I saw cats walking in and out of the kitchen more than once.
- The hotel staff had made it very clear that we shouldn’t go out at night, because we would not return alive.
- On our daily bus ride to the stadium, each time I saw a crowd of several hundred people gathered at an open space. When I asked our translator what was going on, this was his explanation:
It’s a trading fair. You show up with whatever you can find and spare (a plastic bag, half a shoe, a piece of metal, etc.) and try to trade up until you have something you need, can use or can actually sell.
This is one example of what you can experience in a broken society: food scarcity, only basic medical services, limited or no public services and much more.
There was no civil war in Russia at that time. But there were many, many problems that turned daily life into a struggle for survival the likes recent generations in Western democracies have no clue about. The Rwandan massacre is at the other end of that scale: attempting to slaughter an entire ethnic group.
My point is that the dynamics at work to create such events are now so much easier to manipulate than ever before in human history.
Yet very few activists seem to consider the potentially negative consequences of their actions.
In those that do, I’ve seen an alarming rise of “The means justify the end” rhetoric. What they fail to understand, having never seen the consequences of a breakdown in society, is how it affects not just the “enemy”, but everybody else too. That includes innocent people and their own family and friends.
Because there will be a reaction.
In the US, it will be most likely two-part:
– The government will respond. It cannot let instability go on for too long or it loses legitimacy and power. Read this for an example of what happened not too long after I left Moscow, when the government, civilians and the military clashed… For a fictional example, I highly recommend The Siege. When the terrorist attacks here in Brussels happened, in part, this became a realty for us. Like Bruce Willis says in the movie: the military is not a scalpel, it’s an axe.
– Non-activist citizens will respond. Do a count of all the riots that happened in the last five years in the US. Then try to do an estimate of the property damage that resulted from that, bystanders getting injured, medical bills following, etc. One riot influences the lives of hundreds of people who have nothing to do with it. Multiply that number by the amount of riots…
In a difficult economy, imagine the consequences for all those people who were already having difficulty making ends meet. They are pissed off and increasingly ready to take action to defend themselves, their property and way of life. Though they often don’t publicly state their intentions, they are actively preparing to meet violence with violence by getting weapons, organizing, stocking up on supplies, etc. This is no longer limited to the prepper community, it has spread widely into the civilian population.
That is just one example. There are many, many more.
Actions have consequences. Whether you like it or not.
This article isn’t about police brutality, racism, slavery or anything else. Those are not the issues to bring up in this particular discussion. In essence, I’m writing about cause and effect. You can trace it back to slavery or European history if you want, that’s still not the point.
The point is:
What do we do now?
There is a clear path to a breakdown of society. Some people, with or without realizing it, are choosing to take it.
I would suggest choosing another path and acting accordingly.
Or you might one day find yourself very much in need of self-defense skills that go way beyond anything you have considered ever before.
The Dallas shooting is a tragedy. However I do not think it will be some tipping point or anything major. It seems like certain groups are angry about (possible) racial profiling and (unnecessary) force used by the police force. This incident might spur the debat on these issues and possibly others, such as: the right to carry full/semi automatic rifles.
-People have been sharing their (uninformed) opinions and (unsubstantiated) theories all the time over social media. This is nothing new in my opinion.
-Spree shootings on different targets also happen a lot in the U.S. (elementary schools, working places, churches, nightclubs, shopping malls etc).
Just that someone targetted cops this time does not make it some unique event.
-People have committed spree killings for a variety of reasons (racism, anger, religious fanatism, frustration, hatred etc). Just because someone committed a killing claiming it is to avenge a certain group does not make it some unique event.
It can be considered sad that so much shootings occur in the US and that a lot of people seem to mistrust their own government and the system they live in. However I think the Dallas shooting will go into history as just another incident.
Some thoughts in response:
– Social media are by media standards brand new. Their influence and impact is still being studied, extensively.
– The issue is exactly that: the shooter targeted LEOs, white LEOs in particular. That is to the best of my knowledge a unique event, at this scope at least.
– See above.
Time will tell. I sure hope I’m wrong.
One of the more troubling issues (to me anyway) that has emerged is that in the after math they were able to determine the shooters social media presence and his interactions there. I assume he was seeking glorification or just notice. It just makes me wonder if the LEOs of the future will be that much more connected and be able to understand a rapidly spiraling situation better.
As always, love the in depth thought and analysis.
Time will tell. There are lots of changes in law enforcement because of all this. As always, LEOs try to adapt to the situations they find themselves facing.