Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology > Some Thoughts about the Recent Shooting of Cops in Dallas: 1

Some Thoughts about the Recent Shooting of Cops in Dallas: 1

I am sure that all of you have seen, heard and read a lot about the July 7 shootings that killed a few cops in Dallas. It is also not exactly a secret that this shooting has a peculiar linkage to a couple of extensively documented extrajucidial killings of two black men (Alton Sterling, Philando Castile) in the previous two days. As some of you know, more than a few of my previous posts have been about how the hubris associated with unaccountable power (or perception thereof) ultimately creates the conditions for the rise of its nemesis.

It does not take a genius to see that, throughout human history, institutions and systems that seem invulnerable at their peak inevitably implode under the strain of their hubris- which principally manifests itself through unaccountability, overreach and inability to adjust to the changing reality. Even systems capable of incredible levels of repression and surveillance over decades fail- frequently because of doing exactly that. It is also no secret that the status quo in the USA (especially since 2008) has more in common with a slowly imploding system than one with any chance of a better future.

Having said that, I will now make some brief observations about the July 7 incident.

1] The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was a black veteran. It is noteworthy that he had no worthwhile criminal record and grew up in a middle-class family. There is also no evidence to suggest that he was particularly shy, angry or had an otherwise unusual personality. In other words, there is nothing to suggest that he was destined to do what he did on July 7.

2] Ideologically, he did not seem to be especially partisan or religious. He certainly had an interest in black nationalist groups and was not exactly enamored by the behavior of white people (especially cops) towards blacks. Then again.. it is hard to blame him for having a fairly negative view of white cops in USA. However none of this rises to a level which would foreshadow what he did on July 7.

3] It is now obvious (based on his journal entries) that he was planning to go on a shooting spree for some time. However, it is not clear why he chose to do it on July 7. While he was fairly systematic in planning the shooing, the motive is unclear. I mean, we know he hated white cops.. but why now? What was the final event which pushed him into action?

4] Unlike most spree shooters who prefer venues where people are unarmed, he chose to shoot up an area with hundreds of cops. Also he was pretty accurate for a spree shooter as only two protesters were hit by stray bullets and neither died. In contrast, he was able to shoot 12 cops killing 5 of them. Perhaps most interestingly, all 5 dead cops were white men- which is pretty impressive when you consider that particular police department has many non-white cops.

5] One of peculiarities of the July 7 shooting was his choice of weapons. Why would he use a SKS carbine as his main weapon? As some of you know, the SKS is an older, but rugged, semi-auto carbine chambered for the same cartridge (7.62×39mm) as the AK-47. This is especially odd since a person who was in the US army would be more familiar with using an AR-15 derived semi-auto carbine.

6] He knew how to milk the fear of potential IEDs to cause maximal disruption and fear among his opponents. I mean.. think about it- one determined guy with a SKS, handgun and basic bullet-proof jacket was able to make hundreds of armed cops take shelter behind cars, garbage cans and pretty much anything they could find. Even if you do not agree with his actions- that is a pretty impressive result.

I will write about other aspects of this incident in future posts on this topic.

What do you think? comments?

  1. July 9, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    “One of peculiarities of the July 7 shooting was his choice of weapons. Why would he use a SKS carbine as his main weapon? As some of you know, the SKS is an older, but rugged, semi-auto carbine chambered for the same cartridge (7.62×39mm) as the AK-47. This is especially odd since a person who was in the US army would be more familiar with using an AR-15 derived semi-auto carbine.”

    I’ve been told that the Soviets tried to make a more lethal weapon whereas the American’s wanted something that would cause injury. The thinking behind this was if you kill a man, you take him out off action, but if you wound a man, you take three men out of action. One wounded man and two assisting him to a safe area.

    • Jim
      July 10, 2016 at 4:50 am

      The original AR with a 1/12 twist rate barrel shot a 55 grain bullet which would yaw and tumble inside the body. The modern version has a 1/7 twist rate barrel and shoots a 62 grain bullet that stays straight and goes through.

      The Soviets copied the original AR with their AK-74 and its 21 caliber 5.45X39 bullet. It exhibits the characteristics of the 1/12 twist 55 grain version and was notorious in Afghanistan for causing severe wounds but not killing.

      Looking at these mass shootings in enclosed areas with an AR and the body counts are excessive, a lot of it can be attributed to the 62 grain bullets passing through one victim and entering another. Not the lie that the weapon is an automatic or can spray tens of bullets a second.

      —-
      It depends if the bullet is military legal FMJ (full metal jacket), SP (soft point) or HP (hollow point).

      • Jim
        July 10, 2016 at 4:59 am

        Apparently he used an AK-74.

      • Jim
        July 10, 2016 at 9:27 am

        Commercially available M855 FMJ is usually sold in 420 round cans whereas the others you mentioned just come in 20 round boxes. Of course someone can buy more than one box or even a 1000 round case.

  2. webej
    July 10, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Would be careful about the authenticity of the content of his journals — all these events are about spinning the narrative. For me the motive remains completely open.


    Agree!

    The murder of Micah was completely unnecessary and demonstrates one of the problems of US police in all these shootings: they shoot people who do not comply quickly enough, even if said people are confused or mentally ill at the time, or not discounting the possibility of murder. In this case they also used an extra-judicial drone/robot killing on American soil for the first (!?) time. All these swat team busts are overkill (like Pulse, where they just had to use their bearcat armoured vehicle). Most people can easily be apprehended by waiting until they step out the door, especially in cases where you do not expect them to answer the door. Micah would not have stayed in the parking garage for eternity, and a trial would have been more illuminating.
    Many of the other cases are about police becoming outraged because somebody is not obeying them quickly enough … but prompt obedience has nothing to do with serve & protect. Often people are not obeying because they are (not seldom justifiedly) defiant. Patience would go a long way. Most situations could be defused by letting backup cops take over, especially cops trained for stretching time instead of wanting a 2 second outcome.


    and it sets up a rather dangerous precedent.

    In addition, American police, who do not have a hazardous profession going by the statistics, are generally cowards and rely on massive violence, even if it harms innocent by-standers.


    which will lead to inevitable blowback..

  3. July 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Karma!

    Not enough, though.

    • July 11, 2016 at 9:22 am

      agreed. But it’s long overdue and the tables are surely turning. They are starting to see that you can’t keep poking a sleeping giant without wreaking havoc on themselves.

  4. Rum
    July 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

    An SKS is probably the cheapest rapid fire gun out there, especially the Chinese ones (which I doubt he used, but maybe.) It may have been that. It does not look like he had much money.


    The SKS is about 300-400$ in USA. A lot of decent AR-15 clones and AR-15 types cost about a grand. So a bit cheaper, but not by that much..

  5. Rum
    July 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Maybe the shooter had an IQ of 74. That would explain everything perfectly… IMHO.

    I think it had something to do with a combination of low cost, accuracy and reliability. The SKS scores very well (for an intermediate cartridge semi-auto) in all three categories.

  6. blakcsafety1
    August 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    unfortunately, There will be more of these incidences involving both Black men women and children and the cops. This is because of the perceptions and excuses law enforcement consistently make against minority communities. Some of those perceptions: They are violent, they are criminal, they kill each other, too many babies, so forth and so on, leaves the cop unjustifiably justified in his actions toward people of color.

  1. July 10, 2016 at 5:31 pm

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