The Troubles of Dallas


My deepest wish is to be wrong.

In looking at things like Dallas, I’m beginning to wonder if we are entering a new phase, a new Stretch of River. I’m referring to the evolution of current tensions within the US. Race, law enforcement, and urban blight are within these tensions.

The new phase or Stretch might be likened to the Troubles in Ireland and England. The hardening of conflict and violence into a more organized, targeting, and motivated force resembles the Irish Republican Army in Britain. A group with a pre-existing identity regards itself as inherently wronged and abused over time, over generations. There are past events that define their present-day outlook. Elements within the group increasingly revile those that oppose them, even to the extent of seeking a separate and distinct physical existence paired with vengeance and a Hobbesian-oriented justice. That belief becomes a world-view. At the same time, the world-view is accompanied by greater organization, purpose, and, above all, willingness to both accept and produce death and destruction.

One of the keys will be how this dynamic connects with other dynamics outside the immediate nation-state. Will common cause be found and made with other loosely similar efforts? That’s an important question.

I fully recognize that many other features are part of what happened between the IRA and British law enforcement and military forces. But honestly, I think my description is rather solid and, I fear, revealing about the direction of events post-Dallas.

The FBI and CIA waged a little-known war within the US in the late 1960s and 1970s. That war was a subset of larger global issues. It is possible that we are rounding a bend, beyond which lies an American Troubles.