House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered a powerful statement from the House floor Friday after an ambush on police in Dallas on Thursday night left five officers killed and seven more wounded.
“We are all stunned by the events last night in Dallas,” Ryan said. “We’re all outraged. An attack on the people who protect us is an attack on all of us. Our hearts are with Dallas Police Department. Our hearts are with the victims, and especially with their loved ones. They wear the badge too. I know to be a cops wife or a cops husband is to prepare for the worst. But who could’ve fathomed such horror as this.”
The Wisconsin Republican added there’s “no cause or context” that justifies such violence.
“There will be a temptation to let our anger harden our divisions,” he continued. “Let’s not let that happen. There’s going to be a temptation to let our anger send us further into our corners, let’s not let that happen. That script is just too easy to write — it’s too predictable. Let’s defy those predictions.”
Ryan noted that as President Barack Obama “rightfully said” from Poland earlier Friday, “justice will be done.”
“This has been a long week for our country,” he said. “It’s been a long month for America. We’ve seen terrible, terrible senseless things. Every member of this body, every Republican and every Democrat wants to see less gun violence. Every member of this body wants a world in which people feel safe regardless of the colour of their skin. That’s not how people are feeling these days.”
“Sometimes we disagree on how to get there,” he continued. “Sometimes we disagree passionately on how to get there. But in having this debate, let’s not lose sight of the values that unite us. Let’s not lose sight of our common humanity.”
He said those values of respect, decency, compassion, and humanity were what brought peaceful protesters out in the street in Dallas and in Washington, just two of many cities that held demonstrations Thursday in the aftermath of the recent police-involved shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
“If we lose those fundamental things, what’s left,” Ryan said. “We need to take a moment for reflection, for thought, for prayer, for justice, for action. Right now, let’s let justice be done and lets’ also let some healing occur too.”
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said two snipers staged the attack from “elevated positions” near the protests and that the department thought the attackers coordinated the ambush. Three people are in custody in connection with the ambush, and a fourth was killed by police after a lengthy standoff.
Brown added the suspect told police he was “upset about Black Lives Matter” and the recent police-involved shootings. The police chief said the suspect told authorities he wanted to “kill white people, especially white officers.”
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