By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – On July 8, 2016, Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Williams posted this to his Facebook account:
Today he is dead.
Yesterday, three Baton Rouge police officers were killed and three others injured – one is critical and on life support. The officers were ambushed while responding to a call of a man with a rifle at a convenience store near police headquarters. The shooter, Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, MO, is dead and it appears he was acting alone. As is always the case, early reports are sketchy and there is a lot still to be learned here, but please don’t let me hear anyone say, “What were his motives?” I think his motives were clear.
There may or may not be a connection, but less than 24 hours before the shooting on Sunday, the Black Panthers had a meeting in Baton Rouge for the purpose of forming a new chapter there. The chapter was formed and names gathered for potential members.
Why was Gavin Long in Baton Rouge anyway?
And let me get this out of the way right now: I put all of this at the foot of Obama for his divisive rhetoric from Day One. Go all the way back to the Henry Gates incident and work your way up. There are plenty of examples, not the least of which is his invitation to the hate group Black Lives Matter to come to the White House where he praised their outstanding work.
Cleveland police officer and Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis said it best:
“The president of the United States validated a false narrative and the nonsense that Black Lives Matter and the media are pressing out there to the public — validated with his very divisive statements. And now we see an escalation. This has got to end. We need some leadership in this country to come forward and put an end to this. I don’t care if it’s clergy, I don’t care who it is, but somebody has got to step up and put an end to this because it’s the false narrative and very influential people that are politicizing the false narrative. Absolutely insane that we have a president of the United States and a governor of Minnesota making the statements that they made less than one day after those police involved shootings. And those police involved shootings, make no mistake, are what absolutely has triggered this rash of senseless murders of law enforcement officers across this country. It is reprehensible. And the President of the United States has blood on his hands and it will not be able to come washed off.”
I agree with him.
However, none of that brings back the officers in Dallas or in Baton Rouge who have been killed this month.
The ripple effect of this is crushing. Montrell Williams had been an officer in Baton Rouge for ten years; he had a wife, a new baby, a family. They are devastated.
Officer Matthew Gerald served multiple Army tours in Iraq and had been with the department since October. His family is devastated.
Brad Garafola’s wife found out her husband was killed when she was stopped by police cars on her way to meet him at a convenience store. He leaves four children.
Personally, I’m at a loss right now; I’m angry, frustrated, and depressed. I wish we had a national leader who could bring peace rather than division. I wish we had a man of character to lead us rather than a community agitator. This was not Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream. Not at all. This is not what we want to teach our children and this is not the mess we want to leave to them.
It has got to stop.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.