On Thursday, the city of Dallas was the stage for one of the most shocking and awful targeted killings of police officers in recent memory. Five members of the Dallas Police Department were slain by sniper fire towards the tail-end of a major anti-police brutality demonstration (during which, it bears mentioning, things had been notably peaceful and friendly between officers and protesters). Seven more were reportedly injured. It was a grim and scary scene, to say the least, but there was one image from the Dallas police shooting that you should really see, because it's pretty haunting and inspiring all at once.
Namely, an image of a group of people tightly huddled together as the shooting was taking place. As former Metro Boston reporter and Patch editor Nate Homan detailed in a Facebook post on Friday, it shows the crowd gathered around a baby stroller, trying to shield the young child from harm even in the midst of a chaotic and frightening situation. Here's the screen capture that's been floating around social media over the past several hours ― if you're trying to find something, anything, that's positive and life-affirming out of last night's tragedy, not to mention the tragedies of the last several days, this is a shining example.
The instinct to hurry oneself to safety, especially when gunshots have been ringing out, is one of the most powerful human impulses you're going to find. It's simply not always the case that a person, let alone a group of people like those pictured above, is able to override their instincts towards survival and self-protection to commit to such a strikingly selfless act. Amid an awful lot of pain and bloodshed that night, this scene is a ray of human courage, unity, and decency.
The image has gotten a little play across social media so far, so there's a decent chance you would've seen it on your own, but it's worth pushing to the forefront all the same ― the distinct diversity of people protecting the stroller, needless to say, also makes it a very powerful, very salient image.
As for the shooting itself, Dallas police reportedly have three suspects in custody. Although, as detailed by USA Today, they might have nothing to do with the shooting ― the authorities now believe that the one slain suspect, Micah Xavier Johnson, may have been a lone gunman. Dallas police chief David Brown told media outlets on Friday that the shooter voiced anger over recent killings of black Americans by police officers, and specifically said he wanted to kill white officers, although he also denied any personal involvement with any group.