Add your own thoughts by filling out the form below or sending a letter to email@example.com.
What’s your reaction to recent events in Dallas, Louisiana and Minnesota? Share them in the form within this post, or by sending a letter of no more than 200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a selection of responses received thus far:
As a registered handgun owner with a Washington state concealed carry permit, it’s frightening to hear about the possible consequences of revealing this fact to law enforcement. There must be some protocol that would have prevented the killing of a Minnesota black man in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old child. The possibility of those two also being hit is no less frightening.
I seldom carry my weapon, preferring to keep it safely locked at home. When I do transport it in the car, I’m very aware that I might have to disclose it to an officer should I be stopped or involved in an accident. Does the fact that I’m white lessen my chances of a violent confrontation? Probably.
I really want to know how law enforcement is supposed to handle this scenario. I’d also like to hear the NRA (I’m a member) come out in support of this unfortunate, law-abiding individual. That organization is quick to use examples of gun owners firing in self-defense in its rhetoric campaign. Here’s an opportunity to educate and, hopefully, not make this young man’s death just another police shooting.
- Dallas sniper was loner; Army sent him home from Afghanistan
- Dallas suspect taunted police during 2 hours of negotiation
- Friend or foe? Open-carry law poses challenge to police
- Obama: America is horrified by Dallas attack
- A look at recent deaths involving police, black men
- Deadliest days in law-enforcement history
- Police mystified by ‘R.B.’ scrawled in blood by Dallas attacker
- Dallas attack feeds animosity of Black Lives Matter critics
Amateur video appears to show Dallas gunman
—Walter Fogle, Bothell
Honestly, what do you expect an officer to do when you flood a society with guns? Rather than educate, we hand out guns and essentially say, “Go forage as you see fit.” Then we expect our officers to protect us from the foragers at the cost of their own lives. This is nuts.
It’s not the police who lack accountability, it’s the public and our lack of action. We are ultimately the ones responsible for this trend in violence. We need to say no to politicians who fail to promote gun control. We need to say no to the fear mongers of the NRA. We do this by raising our voices. We do this by casting our votes. We do this by holding ourselves accountable for the betterment of our society around us.
—Kim Smith, Lopez Island
In the wake of all the recent bloodshed, I can’t stomach one more generic statement against violence.
Homogenizing violence obscures power struggles, erases the power dynamics between oppressor and oppressed. It’s like making bold declarations against “crashing” when two vehicles collide, rather than studying the forces that brought them together, identifying the actors and what went wrong in order to find answers and fix the problem.
“Crashing is not the answer!” is what I’m hearing when people say violence is not the answer. It’s a kind of false universalism, a romantic cliche. It’s trite and dangerous and disingenuous.
That means making bold statements and taking a stand. And in this case, it means reckoning with the nexus of racism, white supremacy, gun violence and police brutality in our country that made this week one of the toughest in memory.
—Michelle Ryder, Lake Tapps
U.S. society is violent and always has been; over time it is only a matter of degree. From the glorification of violence in perpetual war to ‘reality’ shows to video games, this is a true reflection of the mass mental illness that afflicts many.
When the good law enforcement officers and management start outing and sending up for prosecution the bad ones instead of excusing them and allowing them to get away with (literally) murder, then this will be a positive first step.
—Dana Briggs, Kirkland
Hold gunmakers and media sources that incite race and class divisions accountable. Hold politicians who lie and incite violence accountable. Hold police officers who kill citizens accountable.
I want to know what the police and local politicians’ plans are for keeping the public safe. I believe that the majority of police officers are brave and selfless people who put themselves in danger to help others. But I think we need to all keep in mind that the first priority of the police force is to protect citizens. Not protect the personal safety of officers at the expense of civilian lives. I’m not an expert; I don’t know what the solution is. But I need local government to start stepping up and figuring out how to solve this before society becomes even more divided and more people are murdered by officers who should be trying to protect them.
—Robyn Meshulam, Seattle
In 1963, in the shadow of JFK’s assassination, my rabbi, Robert I. Kahn, wrote a sermon titled, ‘Weep, Americans, Weep.’ As I prepare for Shabbat this week, all I can hear in my head are those words. How many more lives must we witness extinguished before our society awakens to the terrible world we have created? How many more innocent people must be slaughtered on the altar of ‘sinat hinam’ — baseless hatred — before we stop.
Weep, Americans, weep.
—Rabbi David A. Lipper, Bellevue
I will start this out and say that I am deeply saddened and horrified by the shootings in Dallas that targeted police officers. With that being said, I am not surprised at all by what happened there. After instances like Baton Rouge and Minnesota, this kind of thing is just not shocking to me one bit. Violence in reaction to violence does no one or our society any good whatsoever.
—Jeff Swanson, Everett
Let’s cut the whole soul-searching, hand-wringing, ‘How could this happen?’ crap! It happened because both Democratic and Republican policies over the last 50 years have criminalized non-violent, victimless behaviors by literally declaring war on them. They called it a ‘War on Drugs,’ but it was really a war on blacks and poor people.
Extremist positions will always exist, as will individuals who hold these views. They are not the source of the problem. Journalists need to ask why extremist views arise. The assault on personal liberties brought to you by the Democratic and Republican parties is a prime source of the problem. When you legitimize the use of force by government to address non-violent, victimless activities, you delegitimize said government.
Wise up, America! A legitimate government does not declare war and militarize against its own people. Libertarian leadership would discard the war on drugs along with the wars on other personal liberties. It’s time for meaningful change, not more attacks on liberty, more rhetoric and more divisiveness.
—David Rogers, Bellevue
Call the shootings violent and despicable but not surprising. And it’s not just the Black Lives Matter protest and the most recent shootings of unarmed blacks. The world is a mess. There’s global warming, a forgotten war, people living on the streets making our cities resembling New Delhi, poison water, hopelessness among millions, floundering education, guns for everyone, and the list goes on. We need to rid ourselves of a highly idealistic party that has a stomping, get-out-of-my-way, collateral-damage-be-damned elephant for its emblem.
—Sam Stueland, Seattle