Statistical anomalies can be tragic and regrettable without serving as evidence for anything all.
Less than 50 officers are killed in the line of duty each year on average, not counting accidents or injuries or deaths from illness. In the grand scheme of tragedy, this statistic means that policing is not a particularly deadly career. At the same time, this doesn't preclude officers from being brave and noble individuals worthy of appreciation.
The majority of those officers killed in duty are killed by white Americans.
By contrast, police are responsible for killing around 1000 people each year, and a disproportionate number of those people are black Americans, usually men, and whom in the vast majority of cases, did nothing to elevate the conflict but for existing in a high-tension situation with an armed officer while also being black.
These are all facts.
The photo on the top left was taken during the Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas last night, before further violence took place. This photo represents an ideal situation: if cops are meant to professionally stand against injustice, then it is right that they would stand in solidarity with those suffering from injustice. I like to think that the moment reflected here is an accurate representation of the majority.
The photo on the top right is the tragic reality that black Americans are forced to live with every day, due to the aforementioned statistics of black Americans being killed by cops. Regardless of your feelings towards police, you should be able to empathize with the fear that black Americans are feeling — because it is statistically justified. This is unfortunate, but it's the truth.
(If at any point in this ranting you have thought to interject something to the affect of "But isn't every death tragedy?", you're part of the problem, because that is such an obvious and foregone conclusion that it doesn't even bear clarification.)
At the bottom of this photo, you see a tweet made by a former US Congressman, in the aftermath of last night's protest and subsequent anomalous shooting.
And that tweet at the bottom? That is the source of all of these problems. That is the insidious virus of white supremacy laid bare for all to see, by a white man in a position of power and influence. It still exists today, still oozing like snake venom through the veins of our country.
And it is not a statistical anomaly.
It is men like this who create a system that continues to keep black Americans down 150 years after the formal end of slavery.
It is men like this who pass laws that lead cops — essentially their employees, or at least, the professional enforcers of their will — to profile, punish, and sometimes and with increasing disproportionate frequency kill black Americans.
It is men like this who use their power to appeal to the most rotten fears in the hearts of white Americans, by pointing to statistical anomalies like a sniper at a Black Lives Matter protest and use that as evidence or justification of some greater evil, while ignoring all other steadily persistent evidence to the contrary. It is these same men who will readily classify any white shooter as a "lone wolf" or as "mentally ill" — perpetuating the idea that white people are allowed to be individuals, while all minorities must stand-in as representatives for their entire group.
It is men like this who encourage others like them to deny their human impulse for empathy. It is men like this who are the problem. (And yes, it is men like this who make up the bulk of Donald Trump's support base.)
I try not to be the person who shares every single meme in the wake of every single tragedy, who participates in the back-patting performance art of social media America. I try to stand in solidarity with my black friends, and let them feel their grief, while also knowing that I can never fully grasp what it is like to be in their shoes.
It is 2016 and these 3 photos represent 3 vastly different realities that all coexist in the United States of America today. Do you see the problem now?