Tom Goodenough

Summer of bloodshed continues after latest police killing in the US

Summer of bloodshed continues after latest police killing in the US
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Once again, an American police officer has been killed in the line of duty. This time, a policeman in San Diego was shot dead, and his colleague wounded, in a gun attack which happened after the two officers stopped a car. It is, of course, too early to tell exactly what happened, but the horrific pattern makes one thing clear: police in America are increasingly becoming a target. The latest senseless killing caps off one of the bloodiest months ever for police officers in the US. On July 17th, three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in a targeted shooting which left three others injured. Just ten days before, on July 7th, a gunman named Micah Johnson turned his weapon on police - killing five officers and wounding nine others before he was blown up, in what was the bloodiest day for police since 9/11. In the aftermath of the attack, it emerged Johnson had vowed to kill as many white police officers as possible.

But whilst the spate of recent police killings is depressing, they cannot merely be treated as a blip. Last May, two police officers in Mississippi were killed at work. In December 2014, two officers were also shot dead in New York by Ismaaiyl Brinsley in an apparent act of revenge after a man died whilst being arrested by police. A pair of officers also died elsewhere in the US in separate attacks in September and June of that same year. Whilst each incident was different, they share a common type of victim and it's impossible to deny that being a policeman or policewoman in the US is now a terrifyingly-dangerous job.

If it's obvious that a grim, awful pattern of police in the US being targeted has emerged, it's less obvious what is being done about it. Barack Obama expressed the right sentiment when he said earlier this month that 'When people say ‘black lives matter,’ it doesn’t mean that blue lives don’t matter'. But words like these won't be a crumb of comfort for those families who have lost relatives doing a job intended to keep people safe.