On November 22, 1963, a white man named Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated the President of the United States. Whether Oswald, a communist fellow traveler who had previously defected to the Soviet Union, intended to kill John F. Kennedy to strike a blow against American imperialism, or whether he was a patsy set up by the “deep state” to cover up their murder of an insufficiently militarist member of the ruling class, is still unclear. We’ll probably never know the real answer.
What we do know is that two years before I was born, Lee Harvey Oswald went to Dallas, Texas, and opened up the gates of hell. The 1960s was a decade where every decent public figure was murdered. Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, one by one each leader who could have made a difference was stuck down by a “lone gunman.” Well, in Fred Hampton’s case, he was assassinated Gestapo style by the Chicago police, who busted down his door and riddled him with bullets, but most people outside of the activist left have forgotten him anyway. The slaughter of the 1960s, having eliminated all of the good liberals and smart black nationalists, left us with nothing but stupid black nationalists like Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton, and venal, corrupt white politicians like the Clintons. We’re still paying the price.
In the Summer of 2014, the ongoing police murder of black men came to a head in Ferguson Missouri, where we witnessed police SWAT teams point machine guns at non-violent protesters. Unlike the early 1960s, where even the reluctant Kennedy brothers finally called in federal troops to put a stop to the violence in the Jim Crow South, the political and media elites in 2014 did nothing. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, even Bernie Sanders watch police murder after police murder and respond with nothing but bland platitudes. They give the kind of speeches politicians are obligated to make, but little more. None of them has shown the leadership that would put us back on the right track. The lawyerly and evasive Obama, who always tries to please everybody, as usual winds up pleasing nobody. The more the political and media elite speaks, the less they seem to do, and the more they seem to divide black and white Americans against one another.
So here we are in the Summer of 2016, 53 years after the murder of John F. Kennedy, back in Dallas, the city that gave us the term “lone gunman.” Just like Lee Harvey Oswald, Micah Xavier Johnson is a veteran of the United States military. Unlike with Oswald, who has never been considered a “representative of the white race,” the media seems positively certain they know why Johnson opened fire on police officers guarding (or more accurately trying to repress) a Black Lives Matter protest. He did it because he hated white people. He did it because he hated cops. Well, he may have. He may not have. Deathbed confessions off camera in the middle of the chaos of a mass shooting are irrelevant. We’ll probably never really know, but the damage has been done. The right wing media has already framed the incident as a “black on cop crime.” The NY Post and the Drudge Report are busy huffing and puffing and trying to spin the massacre in favor of Donald Trump. The Black Lives Matter movement has been tarred by a murder in which it had no involvement.
And the gates of hell remain open in Dallas, Texas.