Opinion: Sam Hanna, Jr. – Race merchants and killing cops

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Race merchants and killing cops

An old friend once said he felt the country was being ripped apart in 1968. He lived through it and remembered it vividly.

The Vietnam War was trudging along in spite of growing discontent toward America’s involvement in southeast Asia. Protests against the war were commonplace. Young people were burning their draft cards. Some were fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft altogether.
Meanwhile, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. Race riots were consuming the ghettos of many major U.S. cities, some of which were set on fire by the rioters.

The Democratic Party’s convention in Chicago was marred by protestors against the war. They were physically swept from the streets by Chicago police officers who apparently were not amused by the lawlessness.

Some you are old enough to remember 1968. I’m not, but in listening to those who were young adults back then and in doing a little reading about that era myself, it’s understandable how one could come to the conclusion the United States was in the midst of a civil upheaval some 48 years ago. Are we reliving it?

The U.S. military isn’t waging an open war to protest today, and the draft is a thing of the past. No cities have been set on fire thus far, and no public figures or elected officials — thank God — have been shot down like the Kennedys and MLK.

Yet, make no mistake, America — all of western civilization for that matter — is at war with radical Islam though the President of the United State refuses to acknowledge it for one reason or another. I suppose, at some point, our government will acknowledge that radical Islam poses the greatest threat toward a free and open society since Communism and Nazism raged throughout Asia and Europe beginning nearly a century ago.

While no recognized organization has declared war on the law enforcement community in the United States, it’s certainly within reason to suggest war is being waged against police officers throughout much of the nation. Fueling the fire is the impression among many black Americans that the police unfairly target blacks and often use excessive force in dealing with black lawbreakers. Unfortunate police shootings of black Americans sparked the outrage. Unfortunate, but not unjustified in most instances.

This outrage toward police also sparked the shooting of law enforcement officers by black Americans in two highly visible situations over the past couple of weeks. In both instances, the shooters were former U.S. military personnel who apparently had served their country honorably. They both had become radicalized and both died after carrying out their heinous acts.

But the shooting deaths of two Baton Rouge police officers and an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Sunday morning somewhat personalized this war on police for those of us who live in Louisiana. No longer is the violence toward law enforcement occurring “somewhere else.” Instead, it’s now here on the home front in a city many of us are very familiar with to some degree or another.

There is no justification for any American — regardless of their skin color — to lash at police officers in a violent fashion. Stalking police officers and firing at will with a military-grade weapon, as Gavin Eugene Long did in Baton Rouge over the weekend, was cowardly to say the least.

Long may have acted alone, but there’s no doubt the incendiary rhetoric we all are exposed to day in and day out played a role in driving Long to behave like a madman or a militant. Like a man filled with hatred for authority figures like police officers.

Though he’ll never take responsibility for it, President Obama deserves much of the blame for the rash of violence aimed at police officers, such as those in Dallas, Texas, and in Baton Rouge. For the last several years, each time a police officer somewhere used force to subdue a black American intent on causing harm to society, Obama hot footed to the nearest microphone to blame a so-called bigoted culture that, in Obama’s eyes and mind, consumes every police force in the country.

The word irresponsible comes to mind. Incendiary does too.
The calendar says we’re in the year 2016. Nineteen sixty-eight is long gone.
But what’s not gone is the divide that separates the races in America, and as long as the race merchants are given a platform to peddle their nonsense, it’ll never change.
At least not in my lifetime.

Sam Hanna is a state
political writer.