It Has Been a Sad Week in America


Published July 9, 2016

It has been a sad week in America.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, smart phone camera videos brought us—via social media and television news networks—the horrific and inexcusalbe shootings of two African American men killed by police officers in two separate incidences. One occurred in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a southern city, and the other in Fulton Heights, northern suburb of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Smart phones cameras capture “real time” media. Gone are the days Americans have to wait for newspapers, magazines or history books to show the lynching of a black man dangling from a tree. No, Americans get to see the wet blood staining the clothing of African Americans in real time. Americans get to hear loved ones gasp as police guns shoot out bullets. Americans get to witness real people, who are fathers, sons, brothers and husbands, die in our streets.

Then on Thursday evening, Americans were able to witness the inexcusable unfolding of a national tragedy from the streets of downtown Dallas, a city already mired by violence from another generation, as 12 innocent police officers were ambushed. Five of the dozen officers died.

It has been a sad week in America.

The weapon of choice for the mass killing of the police officers in Dallas was Soviet-designed SKS semiautomatic rifle. Witnesses recalled that so many rounds were fired so rapidly that they were convinced there were two or three snipers shooting the officers. Dallas Police Chief David Brown reported on Thursday night two snipers had “triangulated from elevated positions” to shoot the police officers.

Not true. By Friday afternoon, federal and Dallas Police authorities assured the public there was only one shooter and one assault weapon.

Earlier on Thursday, Congress held a hearing to dispute the recommendations of the FBI director concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails. The hearing was proof Congress would rather grandstand on national television than deal with a real national crisis – the vast availability of assault weapons and ammunition. It was announced on Wednesday, time had run out to deal with gun control before Congress goes on break on July 15, but they had time to politicize the findings of the FBI.

It has been a sad week in America.

Loreal Tsingine with her daugther, Tiffany.

Loreal Tsingine with her daugther, Tiffany.

Earlier this year, on Easter Sunday, Loreal Tsingine, a 27-year-old Navajo mother, was shot five times as she allegedly struggled with a police officer who tried to apprehend her in response to an alert of a shoplifting that had taken place at a local convenience store.

She was killed by Winslow Police Officer Austin Shipley, who has been under paid administrative since.

Raul Garcia, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, told Native News Online a few weeks ago that the investigation has been finished and the report was sent to the Navajo County Attorney’s Office, which punted the report to the Maricopa County prosecutor’s office.

In the meantime, Tsingine’s family still waits for the results. The report’s findings were not released this past week.

It has been a sad week in America.

This week’s horrific events have triggered outrage, fear and despair for both law enforcement and those who have chosen to protest the killings by police of dark-skinned citizens in America.

It is obvious that police have a preponderance to kill dark-skinned people in the United States. There are just too many cases that occur for this not to be true. Even though it is true, there is no excuse for dark-skinned people to shoot innocent police officers.

Reasonable thought must prevail during chaotic and sad times.

UPDATED: The weapon was mistakenly named as a AR-15 automatic weapon in an earlier version of this commentary. The FBI is now reporting that the weapon used by the demented sniper in Dallas was a Soviet-designed SKS semiautomatic rifle

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