Yesterday in Baton Rouge three more police officers were assassinated, and another three were wounded, one critically. Once again the assassin was a young black military veteran armed with a killing machine, an assault rifle designed with only one purpose, killing large numbers of people with the utmost of efficiency. Like the man who assassinated five police officers that were guarding a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, this man, a former Marine Corps Sergeant named Gavin Eugene Long was interested not in justice, but vengeance. One of the men that he killed was an African American police officer, named Montrell Jackson, a father who talked of how people in the wake of the police killing of Alton Sterling, “I swear to God that I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.” Two others, Baton Rouge officer Matthew Gerald, who was also a veteran of Iraq, and East Baton Rouge Sheriff Deputy Brad Garafola. The murders were inexcusable, and the killers, well, they put more innocent lives at risk.
Neither Long, nor Micah Johnson was a freedom fighter, nor were they heroes. They were terrorists and murderers. The men that they killed and wounded were ambushed and assassinated simply because they were police. While Johnson said that he wanted to killed “white people,” Long simply wanted to kill police. Neither helped the cause of African Americnas who have been brutalized by other police officers, they did not bring any lives back, they killed to kill without thought of the repercussions that other African Americans might experience. While others protested peacefully, some even being harassed and others arrested in the name of principled non-violent protest, Johnson and Long used their military training to serve as judge, jury, and executioner of men who had done nothing to them.
I am angry because these men have only helped the critics of of the Black Lives Matter movement, they have proved that for them no lives matter. Filled with hate Johnson and Long did what countless other nihilistic hate driven assassins have done before them, they killed in order to destroy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “The old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.” Sadly, these two men were probably too ignorant to remember or even care about what Dr. King said, and now because of their crimes they have enabled white supremacists and other racists to change the narrative and blame African Americans for violence committed against other African Americans.
Their actions did nothing to help African Americans, nor did it do anything to end the scourge of violence that has led to so many African Americans dying at the hands of some police. Instead their actions have only ensured that more violence against African Americans as well as law enforcement officers will continue. No words from elected officials or celebrities will change that until people’s hearts change, and sadly, I cannot believe that will happen anytime soon.
Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”
If only these two men had heeded his words. When will we ever learn?