Blame abounds in the wake of the brutal slaying of five police officers in downtown Dallas. But while most people place the responsibility for this tragedy squarely in the hands of the man who shot the police officers (who were by all accounts monitoring and protecting protestors), some on the right believe other people are to blame.
Here’s a roundup of some of those (besides the gunman himself) who are being blamed for the Dallas shooting.
1. Black Lives Matter
The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren, who last week accused Jessie Williams of waging a “war on cops” in his BET Awards speech, once again ignited backlash for her hot take on the Dallas police shootings.
“Meet the new KKK, they call themselves ‘Black Lives Matter’ but make no mistake their goals are far from equality. #Dallas #bluelivesmatter,” the since-deleted tweet read.
Lahren may have scrubbed that post from her social media feed, but she went on to claim members of the Black Lives Matter movement “are openly applauding this war on cops.” She also laid blame on President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying it’s “highly unlikely” either “will come out and sob about this too.”
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) July 8, 2016
Lahren wasn’t the only one to connect the Dallas shooting with the Black Lives Matter movement. Conservative political commentator Matt Drudge, who culls right-wing articles for his website the Drudge Report, ran with the headline, “Black Lives Kill, 4 Cops Shot Dead in Dallas, City in Shock.”
Slate’s Jordan’s Weissman, who screengrabbed the site early Friday morning, noted little was known about the shooter’s motivation at the time of Drudge’s post. “As I’m writing this post, we know little to nothing about the shooters, or their motives,” Weissman wrote.”Nonetheless, Matt Drudge has seen it fit to dispense with his typical racial dog whistles, and instead run this fog horn of a headline.”
Before Dallas police detonated a bomb robot to take him out, Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, reportedly told police he was acting out of anger for the string of black deaths at the hands of police officers, but said he wasn’t affiliated with any group. Friday morning, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said police believe Johnson acted alone.
Black Lives Matter leaders disavowed the shootings, insisting the movement is nonviolent.
“We have never called for, or supported, the killing of police officers or violence,” activist Charlene Carruthers told the Chicago Tribune. “What we’ve demanded is a shift in the power that police hold over our lives and that does not require us to take up arms or kill police officers. What we demand does not require the death of police officers to happen.”
“It’s absurd to blame Black Lives Matter, and people who do have not been listening,” organizer Malcolm London said. “If you believe that when we call for being recognized as human we are somehow out for blood or revenge, you have not been listening.”
2. President Barack Obama
As expected, the annals of Twitter were immediately inundated with charges that “Barack is smiling his smug little smile.” Unfortunately, the notion that President Obama bears any responsibility for the Dallas shooting was hardly limited to the fringes of the internet.
“3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded,” former Illinois GOP congressman-slash-ostentatious-right-wing-radio-host Joe Walsh wrote on Twitter. “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black loves matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
Walsh has since deleted the tweet, but he continued posting video of the chaos in Dallas throughout the night.
“10 Cops shot. You did this Obama. You did this liberals. You did this #BLM. Time to defend our Cops. Wake up,” Walsh posted.
He later added that Obama “stoked the flame” and “defends Islam.” Eric Trump, son of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, reportedly retweeted a post by Walsh accusing Black Lives Matter of calling for the death of police officers.
4 Dallas Cops assassinated tonight.
Blacks lives matter cheers.
LGBT blames Christians.
Obama defends Islam.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 8, 2016
Walsh later clarified he “wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone.”
William Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, also blamed Obama, taking issue with the president’s completely accurate statement that “when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes it more deadly and more tragic, and in the days ahead we are going to have to consider those realities as well.”
“The Obama administration is the Neville Chamberlain of this war,” Johnson told Fox News. “I think their continued appeasement at the federal level with the Department of Justice, their appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter, actively calling for the death of police officers, that type of thing, all the while blaming police for the problems in this country has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible.”
Other GOP groups took issue with a statement Obama gave Thursday addressing the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police. “To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement,” Obama said. ”When people say black lives matter, it doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter.”
“Obama lectures nation on racial disparities hours before assassination of Dallas police officers,” the conservative group GOPUSA said in an email.
“It was bound to happen,” the email reads. “It was a ticking time bomb. Every time Barack Obama speaks on race, things get worse.”
For his part, Obama spoke out forcefully against the Dallas shootings Friday morning.
“I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” Obama said, calling the assault a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
“We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these types of attacks,” Obama said. “Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 8, 2016
3. Hillary Clinton
Trump supporter Corey Stewart, who the New York Times reports is planning to run for governor of Virginia next year, said in a Facebook post that liberals, including the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are responsible for the shootings.
“Liberal politicians who label police as racists—specifically Hillary Clinton and Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam—are to blame for essentially encouraging the murder of these police officers tonight,” Stewart wrote in a Facebook post. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Stewart does not speak for the Trump campaign.
Clinton released a statement Friday morning saying she mourns “for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families & all who serve with them.”
4. Elizabeth Warren
Conservative writer Donn Marten suggested Friday that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (who’s reportedly being vetted as Clinton’s VP running mate) is an “accomplice” in the “calculated murder” of police officers in Dallas, Raw Story reports.
“Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton’s hatchet-woman Elizabeth Warren may as well be an accomplice in the now out of control outbreak of racial violence in America that resulted in the calculated murder of at least five Dallas police officers on Thursday,” Marten wrote. “Pocahontas sought to exploit emotions in a dangerous way in the aftermath of the unfortunate shooting of a black man by Minneapolis police.”
“Looking to fan the flames of racial animosity in order to get black voters whipped up into a highly agitated state so as to gain politically, the cigar store Indian took to Twitter on Thursday to stir up anti-cop sentiment with a series of missives,” Marten added.
Thursday, Warren posted several tweets regarding the deaths of Sterling and Castile.
“We’ve seen the sickening videos of black Americans killed in traffic stops. Lives ended by those sworn to protect them. #blacklivesmatter,” Warren wrote.
“Most cops are good ppl,” she added. “But we can’t ignore the ugly reality: black parents feel they must teach kids to ‘survive’ police.”
Most cops are good ppl. But we can’t ignore the ugly reality: black parents feel they must teach kids to “survive” police. #blacklivesmatter
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 7, 2016