Saying that “Nothing justifies violence against law enforcement,” United States President Barack Obama offered his thoughts about the slayings of three Baton Rouge police officers earlier today, according to USA Today.
Obama said the Baton Rouge police officers that were killed and those that were wounded in the shooting “were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now — all of us — to be at our best.”
According to Variety, Obama also cautioned against further violence following the Baton Rouge carnage, saying Americans need to “temper our words and open our hearts.”
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 17, 2016
Obama also said that Americans have to not engage in further divisive actions that might further split societies following the Baton Rouge shootings. Tensions have been high in Baton Rouge since the shooting of Alton Sterling July 5, 2016. As might have been expected, Baton Rouge police have come under fire of late for their role in the shooting of Sterling, while the treatment of African Americans at the hands of police has been squarely in the crosshairs of the debate.
It seems that President Obama has had a full plate of tragic news of late. A few days ago, Obama spoke at the funerals of Dallas police officers killed at a Black Lives Matter rally, while there was an apparently random shooting at a Florida hospital early Sunday morning.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2016
According to People, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took to his Facebook page to offer his thoughts about the Baton Rouge shootings and took the opportunity to fire a shot at President Obama and his leadership.
“We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today,” he said before turning his sights on President Obama. “How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order.”
Trump also tweeted that “President Obama doesn’t have a clue” in offering his statement about the Baton Rouge slayings, and called the United States a “divided crime scene”.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton echoed President Obama’s words about the violence needing to end.
“Today’s devastating assault on police officers in Baton Rouge is an assault on all of us,” she said. “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 of our families and communities.”
In addressing the shootings in Baton Rouge, President Obama cautioned the public to avoid what he termed “careless rhetoric” and accusations against any one of a number of groups of individuals because such kinds of statements would not help put an end to the violence.
President Obama also noted that the 24-hour news cycle could play a contributing role in how the racial divides might seem, saying that everyone’s focus in the wake of the Baton Rouge shootings should be about what can help unite the country rather than drive a further wedge between the society’s various divides, according to CNN.
The shooter in the Baton Rouge police killings, identified as 29-year-old Gavin Long, was killed on scene, and a motive for the crime still remains unknown as far as law enforcement officials have disclosed. Long was apparently a Marine who was released in 2010 after five years of service. For his part, though, Obama acknowledged the difficulties that police officers face daily — challenges that have become that much more apparent in the wake of the police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. While few details about the Baton Rouge police shooting have been released, Obama has acknowledged that he continues to be appreciative of the work of the police daily.
“I’m surrounded by the best of the best every single day,” Obama acknowledged in his statement about the Baton Rouge shooting. “And I know whenever this happens, wherever this happens, you feel it. Your families feel it. But what I want you to know today is the respect and the gratitude of the American people for everything that you do for us.”
(Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)