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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dallas Shootings: 'My niece and her husband are quitting the police force because they're so terrified'

A Dallas police officer, who did not want to be identified, takes a moment as she guards an intersection in the early morning after a shooting in downtown Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A Dallas police officer, who did not want to be identified, takes a moment as she guards an intersection in the early morning after a shooting in downtown Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

A Dallas woman said the recent Dallas shootings have made her support US billionaire and Presidential candidate Donald Trump “now more than ever”.

Sharon O’Rourke from Dallas told Joe Duffy on RTÉ's Liveline that she now fears for her life and is considering getting a gun and learning how to shoot it.

“I can carry whatever weapon I want, that’s what being American means,” she said.

She told Joe that her niece works in the Dallas police force, Kelly O’Rourke, and was concerned for her safety last night when the shootings took place.

“When I heard a police officer was shot I really thought about my niece. She was at home but was called in last night after the shooting.

“There’s a very tense atmosphere. My niece has been a police officer for six years and met her husband there. Over the last several months she’s gotten more scared because even the police here in Dallas are targeted.

“She’s quitting the police force in a couple of weeks and her husband is being transferred. They’ll feel so much safer,” Sharon told Joe Duffy.

Sharon said that “Blue Lives matter first and foremost”.

“Black Lives Matter is not a good organisation. I don’t like them. They’re disruptive and showing up at political events and causing trouble,” she said.

Sharon said she has lived in Dallas for 53 years and has never experienced racial tension until now.

“It is now because of Obama, he has split the country. I’m voting Trump. This has made me support him now more than ever.”

Another caller Kelly told Joe Duffy that she worked in the prison system in the US and that people like Sharon have a “sympathetic ear to hierarchy” and think that “white lives are more valuable than black lives”.

“Sharon has a family full of law enforcement. People with her point of view need to wake up. Police officers should follow basic combat training if you’re going to pull your gun out on somebody you should be 10 feet away,” said Kelly.

Jason Downs who lives in New Jersey told Joe Duffy that neither “Blue Lives Matter” nor “Black Lives Matter” is right.

“Both sides need to take responsibility for their actions,” he said.

“When a man gets pulled over for a broken tail light with his four-year-old daughter in the back and his girlfriend in the front seat and a police man asks him for an ID and he goes and gets it and he says I’m also carrying a weapon, would you like to see it? And then all of a sudden the police officer shoots and kills him. You can’t justify that or give excuses for that.

“It’s July and already this year 6,000 people have been killed by guns. In Sandyhook 20 schoolkids were slaughtered. It’s not just mass shootings that are the big headlines but the 6,000 people.

“Those 20 schoolkids were killed and nothing changed, nothing will ever change. It’s currently 6,000, it will probably be closer to eight or nine when the bell rings on New Year’s Eve.

“There are now five or six police officers who were doing their job and they’re now dead. Some of these people will say they deserved it. As much as there’s bad apples in every state in the police force there are regular people who are going out to do their jobs and they don’t deserve to not come home. What’s next, an all out war?”

Another caller called Tom grew up in Boston but now works as a security guard in Mayo.

“I think Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group. It’s mind boggling that the media give legitimacy to these people. They were marching, shouting “get cops”. There were two NY police officers assassinated in a car at Christmas time. They intimidate and threaten people. I’m well aware there are bad apples in every group.”

Catherine Kelly, a politics lecturer in New York, told Joe Duffy she teaches minority students and they “have to record police interactions”.

“I teach minority students in the US and one of the first lessons they taught me is how they socialise, how they go out at night and how their parents have taught them to go out keeping their hands clear so police officers can see and to record any experiences with police officers they have. That’s the reality.

“Like many minorities across the world including Northern Ireland we’re calculated because we had to be. We had to record what was going on around us.

“White Americans don’t want to hear it, they don’t want to admit it they don’t want to realise it but a large part of society are living in fear, oppression and poverty and this is the consequence.”

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