I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the officers who were slain there. I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other. Nor will today’s killer.
As Dunphy points out, it was no great feat of prognostication to predict Sunday’s cop killings or the ones still to come. They have been fueled by “the steady diet of anti-police agitprop that for two years has been peddled by the Black Lives Matter movement and endorsed in the media, on college campuses, and among the more unscrupulous politicians, including the one in the White House.”
But even if Obama had demonstrated some level prescience, it strikes me as unseemly to be saying “I told you so” in this context.
Recall the criticism Donald Trump received when he tweeted after the Orlando massacre:
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
I don’t see much difference between this and Obama’s statement, except that Obama didn’t pretend not to want “congrats.”
Obama’s statement also echoed what black nationalist Malik Shabazz said on television after the murder of the Dallas policemen. Shabazz called the slayings “predictable,” and he had indeed predicted events “that are gonna seem tragic to white America and may even shock our own consciences,” including the killing of police officers.
It doesn’t speak well for Obama that he’s channeling Donald Trump. It speaks badly that he’s channeling Malik Shabazz.
(By the way, it’s also predictable that as a result of deadly attacks on police officers by young black men, some police officers, in order to protect themselves, will be quicker on the trigger when dealing with young black men in stressful situations.)
Obama is receiving some praise for his comments on Baton Rouge because, unlike in Dallas, he refrained from criticizing the police. However, as Scott has pointed out, his remarks fell short of what we should expect from a U.S. president. Dunphy concludes:
[T]he president spoke as he often does of healing divisions within the country. When he speaks in these terms and under these circumstances, his words ring hollow.
He presents a false compromise between what he portrays as two extremes while he, the Wise One, occupies the sensible middle ground. But for the vast majority of Americans, whatever their race, there can be no compromise with people who laud murderers as heroes. For such people, there can only be repudiation, something the president cannot bring himself to do.
*”Jack Dunphy” is the pseudonym of a police officer in southern California.