I'm taking advantage of the fact that I'm pretty anonymous on this site, and (I think?) no one is going to trace this profile back to my IRL identity. Well, if you really wanted to get into IP addresses or whatever maybe you could, but I guess I'm not too worried about it. Anyway I'm taking advantage of this to post my opinions on race/violence in the US lately, because I predict that these opinions will be at least controversial and possibly not even fit for polite society. I'm trying it out here before I try it out on anyone I know IRL, just to see what range of reaction I get. Sorry to inflict this on you, WF, you all are lovely and don't deserve it, etc. Trigger warning, I guess. So: we had a couple (more) shootings of unarmed, innocent black men by the police, and then, in a pretty clear act of retaliation, a black guy with military training and an AR-15 shot 12 police, indiscriminately. Then, something which was extremely surprising to me happened. People began to change their minds about racism. No less a person than Newt Gingrich said that white Americans "instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk" that black people face. Even Donald Trump, who's never been shy about ginning up points with the racist constituency, put out a fairly measured statement, calling the deaths of Sterling and Castile "senseless" and "tragic", and didn't defend the cops involved with those shootings at all. There are more examples of prominent conservatives saying stuff like this; even my (admittedly few) conservative friends on social media have been posting hippy-dippy kumbayah stuff, instead of their normal doubling-down in defense of the cops in these situations. Now, this has been far from a universal trend; I don't want to overstate it. But the fact that it's happening at all, I think, is meaningful, and I think it signifies what is possibly a real opportunity to start to turn things around, on this issue, to really undertake some meaningful reforms of policing in this country. So my question is: why now? What happened to change these peoples' minds? And, much as it pains me to say it, the only thing I can see that's changed is that a black guy finally fought back, in an effective way. I don't mean effective in the sense that those individual cops in Dallas deserved to be shot. I mean effective in the sense that he demonstrated, with no room for doubt, just how serious the problem is, and just how bad it can get, if people don't wake up and do something about it. Up until now police violence against minorities has been easy for white people to ignore, if they choose to. If suddenly the indiscriminate violence starts turning against them, it becomes their problem as well, in a very real way. I think that Gingrich and people like him realize that holding on to their racism is not worth threatening the other parts of the social/economic/political order that they so dearly love. It might sound like I'm advocating for more violence, but I don't think I am. Violence for political ends has to be very finely calibrated in order to work, in all but the most exceptional circumstances. I think the best course now would be to wait and see, if any of this new talk turns into action. Will police forces start taking de-escalation more seriously? Will training regimens change, or will more excessive force complaints be investigated and punished? Will civilian politicians, at the very least, stop making up BS excuses every time an unarmed black guy is shot? If we start to see real progress, then Dallas might have proven to be, not a good thing exactly, but maybe a necessary thing. More violence now would probably give the other side of the right wing, which wants to double down on the violence, more ammo to say that their compatriots are "giving in to terrorism", or whatever. It would make this opportunity dry up. This one act of violence has done what violence does best, which is cause a break with what came before. Another act of violence would simply set up a new normal which I don't think would be good for anyone. So, that's what I think. If you really want to honor the cops who died in Dallas, recognize that the same system that killed them killed Sterling and Castile. And all the others. And try and change it.