Never Let A Good Tragedy Go to Waste

In reaction to the senseless murder of three Baton Rouge police officers and the wounding of 3 more, President Obama said the following:

And that is why it is so important that everyone–regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you are part of–everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.  We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric.  We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.  We need to temper our words and open our hearts–all of us. [Read it at]

While I certainly agree with his sentiment, I find it beyond ironic that he actually said any of this. This president has done nothing to unite this nation and nothing to lessen tensions when they were at a boiling point. He has done nothing but fan the flames with comments that offer sympathy only to the criminal that was killed and not the officer who has to live with being forced to take a human life.

No we certainly don’t need anymore inflammatory rhetoric or careless accusations for political reasons. He has given us plenty of both.  Consider these excerpts from his speech from only a week before at the memorial service for the 5 Dallas police officers that were murdered (protecting protestors who had no idea if what they were protesting had actually happened):

…I see people who have protested on behalf of criminal justice reform grieving alongside police officers.  I see people who mourn for the five officers we lost, but also weep for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. [Read it at]

So, without knowing anything about what actually happened in either case or anything about Sterling or Castile, their deaths are equivalent to that of the police officers.  Maybe, maybe not, but this was not the place to even mention either name.

But America, we know that bias remains.  We know it, whether you are black, or white, or Hispanic, or Asian, or native American, or of Middle Eastern descent, we have all seen this bigotry in our own lives at some point. We’ve heard it at times in our own homes.  If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts. We know that. And while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s stain.  Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent.  No institution is entirely immune, and that includes our police departments.  We know this.

So, at a memorial service for police officers who were murdered during a Black Lives Matter protest, Obama thought it was appropriate to discuss racial issues in this country. He has unlimited opportunities to say whatever he wants and have it spread all over the world, but he couldn’t stop at just honoring the officers. There are another couple of paragraphs on racism.  You can read those, if you like.

We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.

I’m not even going to comment further on this one. There’s no need.

And here is where I had to fight to keep my lunch down. If you have a weak stomach, please don’t read the rest of this.

We should — when we hear a friend describe him (Alton Sterling) by saying that, whatever he cooked, he cooked enough for everybody, that should sound familiar to us, that maybe he wasn’t so different than us. So that we can, yes, insist that his life matters.

Just as we should hear the students and co-workers describe their affection for Philando Castile as a gentle soul.  Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks, they called him.  And know that his life mattered to a whole lot of people of all races, of all ages, and that we have to do what we can without putting officer’s lives at risk, but do better to prevent another life like his from being lost.

Wow. Can you think of anything less appropriate to say at a memorial service for murdered police officers? Murdered because they were in uniform and white.  Murdered while protecting protestors who were angry over some perceived wrong, when in fact, nothing was known about what had actually happened in either case. He didn’t know anything about Sterling or Castile or what actually happened that caused their deaths.  But that didn’t stop him for basically eulogizing them along with the officers.  I personally find that disgusting.

Yes, we should be focusing on words and actions that unite. But while that happens every day at the local level, it does not happen in the White House, and that’s frustrating to this American!

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