Sunday, 10 July 2016

Violence In America: A View From The Outside

How are commentators viewing the recent police shooting of Black men and the gunning down of police officers in Dallas? For many, it’s just further evidence that America is a violent nation with politicians who lack the courage to enact common sense gun control laws. There’s also a sense that unconscious racism among White police officers is a powerful force that will continue to result in blood shed. It’s that kind of concern that led the government of the Bahamas to warn its young men traveling in the United States to be cautious when they encounter the police. But how is the rest of the world responding? GERMANY-US-POLICE-SHOOTING GERMANY Ines Pohl of Deutsche Welle News: Pohl said it has become “a sad reality” that videos of police killing African-Americans are now “so commonplace.” Consequently, a routine has developed, in which the news of a shooting surfaces, protests and arrests follow, officials express condolences and life continues as though nothing happened–until the next police shooting. In addition to underlying racism, Pohl said the police don’t hesitate to reach for their guns, out of fear that the Black men they encounter are also carrying weapons and ready to use them. “Officers do not learn how to deal with extreme situations appropriately, and thus situations arise in which they act more like executioners than professional enforcers of the law.” BRITAIN-US-POLICE-SHOOTING-PROTEST ENGLAND Piers Morgan of the Daily Mail: Morgan said he’s “sickened by the appalling execution” of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas police officers—and is also sickened by “the endless tide of gun violence destroying so many lives in America.” The former CNN host stated that Sterling and Castile would likely still be alive if they were White. He said unconscious racism is partly to blame. “There is still an undeniable endemic racism strewn through America’s police force which shows no sign of abating. Too many cops see a young Black man and automatically think: ‘criminal.’” Morgan blames “spineless” lawmakers for not having the courage to take action. He placed President Barack Obama among America’s ineffective politicians, with regard to gun control. Gary Younge of the Guardian: Younge called the killing of Dallas police officers a “vile” and deplorable act. It cannot be given a free pass, but “should be unequivocally condemned.” It “sabotages” the anti-racism movement. “This horrific incident must be both mourned and understood for what it is. But it should not be allowed to distract us from the 566 people who have been shot dead by police so far this year – a disproportionate number of them Black and Native American.” BRITAIN-US-POLICE-PROTEST IRELAND Larry Donnelly of TheJournal.ie: Americans must discuss racism in a more “considered” way, said Donnelly. He highlighted this angry Twitter response by former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh to the Dallas shooting: “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.” Slate said Walsh deleted that post (which seemed to many as a threat) quickly and gave this explanation, via Twitter: “I wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone. Obama’s words & BLM’s deeds have gotten cops killed. Time for us to defend our cops.” Donnelly said there’s a clear divide between Black and White Americans. It doesn’t help when Walsh (and others) send messages to the “silent majority,” as he does here: That term, “silent majority,” is “code” for White Americans, said Donnelly. “When Walsh employed it, he was appealing to them and to their worst fears and instincts,” he stated. Donnelly suggested that part of the solution to the problem of racial bias is to rethink how America approaches policing. “In the U.S., the police are labeled a force; here [in Ireland], the police are labeled a service.” He noted that many in the Black and Hispanic community “see the police as the enemy.” At the same time, he’s not surprised that the police in those neighborhoods, given their training, view the residents with hostility. Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College CANADA Elizabeth Renzetti of the Globe and Mail: It’s lamentable that Americans have become numb to videos showing police shootings of Black men, said Renzetti. “These videos could, in the best possible world, open Americans’ eyes to the cancer of race hatred and gun violence in their midst. In the best possible world, viewers might look at a four-year-old girl in a red T-shirt in the back of a car where a black man lies bleeding to death from gun wounds and think: This has got to stop.” Perhaps worse, she said, is using images of a “murdered” school cafeteria worker (Castile) or Dallas police officers as propaganda in a national debate about racism. SOURCE: Deutsche Welle News, Daily Mail, Guardian, TheJournal.ie, Slate, Globe and Mail | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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