Wingnut Week In Review: Selective Outrage

Terrance Heath

Three shootings made national news this week. Most Americans were outraged by all three. However, conservatives were outraged by one, and silent about the other two.

For the third time this week, Americans awoke Friday to news of yet another shooting. Still reeling from the police-involved shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, Americans learned this morning that five police officers were killed and seven injured when multiple snipers opened fire during peaceful demonstrations in downtown Dallas, Texas, over police-involved shootings.

President Obama condemned the Dallas attack as a “vicious, calculated, and despicable attack on law enforcement.” Having just made a statement addressing the deaths of Sterling and Castile, and police-involved shootings of African Americans, the president unequivocally denounced violence against police. “We are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and police department in Dallas,” Obama said. “But let’s be clear there is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement.”

The president was not alone in his outrage.

Black Lives Matter supporters condemned the Dallas attack, and expressed sympathy and support for the victims and survivors.

Rally organizers also condemned that attacks. Dominique Alexander, founder of the Next Generation Network that organized the Dallas demonstration said, “We want Dallas to know that violence of any kind we condemn. We continue to stand with the families of these officers and pray with them, as well as we stand with the families of Alton Sterling and Philando in Minnesota.”

Quinyetta Mcmillon, the mother of Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son, spoke out against the Dallas attack. “We wholeheartedly reject the reprehensible acts of violence that were perpetrated against members of the Dallas Police Department,” McMillon said in a statement issued by her attorneys. “Our hearts break for the families of the officers who were lost as they protected protesters and residents alike during a rally.”

On the other hand, conservatives who were noticeably silent after the police-involved shooting deaths of Sterling and Castile had plenty to say after the Dallas attack.

Deadbeat dad and former-congressman-turned-radio-host Joe Walsh tweeted and deleted that President Obama should “watch out” after Dallas.

Walsh wasn’t nearly done.

The rest of right-wing Twitter wasn’t much better.

Oddly enough, Donald Trump issued an uncharacteristically measured statement about Dallas. He even acknowledged the police-involved shooting deaths of Sterling and Castile, after maintaining silence about them for two days. However, Trump still missed the point. In the middle of his statement he declares, “Our nation has become too divided … Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better,” revealing an utter lack of self-awareness.

Is this the same Donald Trump who encouraged violence against African-American protesters at his rallies? Why hasn’t he made a statement about Portland, Oregon, where a Trump supporter pulled a Glock pistol on protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally?

Michael Strickland, who participated in a Portland State University Students for Trump rally last month, set up a tripod-mounted camera near the fringe of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Portland. He got the attention of protesters who recognized Strickland as someone involved in the YouTube channel “Laughing At Liberals,” which films people at progressive protests and puts videos online with their names and addresses, making them easy targets for stalking and harassment.

When activists approached him to tell him to leave, Strickland drew his gun and chambered an extra-capacity magazine. As he reiterated, Strickland repeatedly said he reached for his gun because, “I feared for my life.” Strickland and another man were ultimately arrested.

If he’s looking for someone to blame for increased division and rising racial tensions, Trump should look in the mirror and check his own rhetoric.

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