Yesterday, July 17, 2016, 29-year-old Gavin Long, an African American man of Kansas City, Missouri, is accused of exchanging gun fire with law enforcement on in East Baton Rouge, Lousiana. Long was in Baton Rouge to celebrate his birthday with his family and was walking down the street with a long gun strapped to his back. Although this was legal to do in Louisiana, police arrived and shortly thereafter, gun fire was heard and Long was dead along with two city police officers and one sheriff’s deputy killed as well as three other law enforcement shot and expected to recover. At this hour, we do not know the details of how the exchanged between Long and law enforcement went down so we look forward to viewing and listening to dash cams to see who was at fault.
What is interesting is to see the responses to the shooting by the three main presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and Donald Trump. Even though we do not know many details of Long’s exchange with the police, Trump and Clinton have made presumptions while Johnson had a measured response acknowledging the fact we do not know the details of the exchange. We do not know if Long was acting in self-defense or was protecting his rights under the law or if he was out to kill police officers.
Libertarian Party presidential nominee, Gary Johnson shared on Facebook:
“Once again, we find ourselves grieving for the victims of a senseless attack, their families and a community. And once again, we are trying to understand it.
We have no idea what is truly behind the murder of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. But as was the case in Dallas just days ago, we do know that violence and killing are not how we deal with problems in America. We cannot hide from the broader and very real issues of distrust that create tensions between law enforcement and the citizens they serve.
We must focus on healing those divides, while also rejecting these attacks on law enforcement as the cowardly acts that they are — regardless of the motivation.”
Democratic Party presumptive presidential Hillary Clinton nominee said yesterday:
“Today’s devastating assault on police officers in Baton Rouge, is an assault on all of us.There is no justification for violence, for hate, for attacks on men and women who put their lives on the line every day in service for our families and communities.
We must not turn our back on each other. We must not be indifferent to each other. We must all stand together to reject violence and strengthen our communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the police officers who were killed and injured today.”
Republican Party presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump took to Twitter with this yesterday:
“President Obama just had a news conference, but he doesn’t have a clue. Our country is a divided crime scene, and it will only get worse!”
“Our country is totally divided and our enemies are watching. We are not looking good, we are not looking smart, we are not looking tough!”
“We are TRYING to fight ISIS, and now our own people are killing our police. Our country is divided and out of control. The world is watching”
“We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today. How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order.”
Lastly, President Obama said yesterday, “Nothing justifies violence against law enforcement. Our hearts go out to the families who are grieving. This has happened far too often.”