A couple months ago I came across an article from The Virginian-Pilot describing Old Dominion University's football team's pre-game "Circle of Unity," a sort of less controversial, Kaepernick-kneel alternative to acknowledging recent police shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma. It also described how some of the players wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts during a pre-game practice. Later in the article was a synopsis of BLM from conception up to the current state of the movement and the controversy surrounding it. The account was generally neutral, though one sentence stuck out, describing the fatal shooting of 5 police officers during a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas.
Now, I never heard that Micah Johnson, the Dallas shooter, had supported Black Lives Matter. In fact, I knew he expressed disdain for BLM during his stand-off with the police. I did some digging to be sure but found no validity to this statement. Johnson was turned down from numerous Black Power groups for failing background checks. It would seem that (and this is absolute personal inference) BLM was a disappointment to Johnson for not being radical enough.
I looked up the author on twitter to ask him if he had a source.
Judging by the neutral voice of the Virginian-Pilot article, I do not assume this mistake was ill-intended, but simply a misremembering of the facts, or an embrace of what has been presented as fact by unscrupulous reporters in the mass media. I was disappointed that my correction went ignored, however, because these distinctions truly matter. That is not to say that it would be fair or reasonable to judge the entirety of BLM even if Johnson had been affiliated. But the truth is, we live in a country that is polarized on many meaningful issues, and outliers will always be reason enough for inciting further validation for one's convictions. I saw this inaccuracy on my feed frequently in the wake of this shooting.
I bring this up now in reaction to the vastly circulated Tomi Lahren interview which aired on the Daily Show on November 30. While pontificating about the supposed violent intentions of BLM, Lahren says of the Dallas shooting, "the shooter said he's doing this because of BLM." This is part of Lahren's justification for disgracefully labeling (oh, and she hates labels, by the way) of BLM as "the new KKK." Again, I could find no source for the claim. In a press conference, Dallas Chief of Police, David Brown, said "The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. He was upset at white people. He wanted to kill white people, especially white officers."
Such an event is one difficult to revisit. However, given the broad embrace of this misinformation, it feels necessary. No part of me believes Lahren does not know the facts around this tragedy. She is blatantly exploiting the deaths of the officer's she claims to grieve, to further the misrepresentation of BLM. This is a dangerous narrative, and I feel it's important we understand the facts around the Dallas Shooting, as it is so easy for emotions to impede logic in interpreting such a traumatic situation.