The Obama factor

Speaking in Warsaw, President Obama felt compelled to weigh in on the killing of Alton Sterling (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Philando Castile (Falcon Heights, Minnesota) in encounters with the police. He did so in his usual style before the blood was dry and before the facts were in.

The White House has posted the video of Obama’s remarks here and the text here (on Facebook). For the record, I’m posting the video below.

Obama spoke in his characteristic style on such occasions. He lectured; he condescended; he assumed facts not in evidence; he rode his racial hobby horse. If anyone thought the moment might call for something in the way of reconciliation, he would have been well advised to look elsewhere.

Incidentally, the officer directly involved in the Falcon Heights shooting has now been identified. He is Jeronimo Yanez. How does race play in this case? A reasonable man would probably like to know more facts before offering the kind of judgments Obama and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton have rendered.

Obama also demonstrated his traditionally poor timing. Within hours of his statement in Warsaw five police officers were murdered and seven others shot by snipers in Dallas. We pray for those who are still struggling for their lives this morning.

From Warsaw Obama has now given a formulaic statement on the events in Dallas. “We still don’t know all the facts,” Obama noted. I can’t find this statement on the White House site. The Dallas Morning News reports on it here.

By contrast with his statement last night, Obama didn’t have his heart in this one. He cited his own previous statements. He worked in a gun-control angle. At least we know he had his heart in that part of the statement.

UPDATE: It turns out that one Micah X. Johnson appears to have committed the attack by himself. My reference to more than one perpetrator was mistaken.

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