The aftermath of the Dallas shooting that killed five police officers has sparked serious reflection across the ideological spectrum. From the way conservative news outlets like the Daily Caller and conservative politicians such as Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich are talking about gun control and racial justice, real bipartisan progress on criminal justice reform seems within reach.
And then there are politicians like Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R).
In a Friday interview on Fox News about the attack in his state, Patrick called the protesters in Dallas "hypocrites" for fleeing the sniper’s bullets, and placed blame for the attack on people who "have a big mouth" and critique police on social media.
"All those protesters last night, they turned around and ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to protect them. What hypocrites!" Patrick said, his voice rising with emotion.
"I do blame people on social media with their hatred toward police," he said, adding that he also blamed people like Jesse Jackson who are "calling police racist without any facts."
"I do blame former Black Lives Matter protests — last night was peaceful — but others have not been," Patrick said. He said that even though "we’ve always had bad people," the "general public" used to have respect for the police. No longer, he says: "Too many in the general public who aren’t criminals, but have a big mouth, are creating situations like we saw last night."
Patrick also said that while he understands and defends the First Amendment and freedom of speech, "you can’t go out on social media, and mainstream media, and everywhere else, and say that the police are racist, that the police are hateful, the police are killers."
Patrick was understandably upset about having seen "four bodies of deceased officers go by on the gurney" at the hospital the previous night. But it’s harder to understand why he (or anyone) would blame peaceful protesters (or anyone) for fleeing for their lives amid a hail of bullets.