Speaking the Truth in Love

Reflections on the Dallas Shooting

Law enforcement has always been a dangerous occupation. Police officers must pursue and arrest people with passions heated by alcohol, drugs, hate, panic, and violent fury. They sacrifice their own safety to protect our community whenever lives are threatened by fire, flood, storm, or home invasion. Even people who despise the police call 911 at the first hint of serious personal danger.

And now this. On Thursday evening, July 7, a sniper murdered five officers and injured several others. The organized campaign to slander policemen and incite violence against them is demoralizing. My heart aches for everyone physically or emotionally scarred by this atrocity. My prayer for them is this blessing pronounced by Moses: “The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).

My heart aches. But I’m angry too. In 2015, the police killed 990 people. Only 26% were black. Only 17% were Hispanic. A full 50% were white. Could you have ever arrived at these statistics by listening to protesters and the mainstream media? The entire premise of the BLM movement—that white officers routinely murder black men—is a demonstrable falsehood. In rare instances do policemen behave in criminal ways? Yes. And in every case the offending officer should be prosecuted and punished. But targeting 600,000 officers for the behavior of a few evil people in their ranks is insane.

Consider a parallel in the medical community. The real slaughter of black people takes place in abortion clinics. Every day about 1,800 black babies are murdered in the womb. Who is to blame? More than half a million doctors practice medicine in the U.S. All are legally permitted to perform abortions. The vast majority of them don’t. What if government officials, the media, and protesters conspired together to slander and incite violence against everyone wearing a lab coat? America might wake up one morning to find clinics and hospitals with no doctors in them.

The physician analogy is hypothetical. The demoralization of policemen isn’t. The Dallas police department was inundated with almost 50 resignations in June. How many officers will resign in July? If sensible citizens don’t have the courage to speak up, we may call 911 some night and get a busy signal or a recording: “I’m sorry. This number is no longer in service.”

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