Community leaders weigh in on Dallas shooting

Posted By: Brent BonFleur

Pastor John Harris watched the horror unfold in Dallas last night, as a lone gunman opened fire during a peaceful protest.

"It’s been a challenging week," Harris said.

"It was just hurtful. It was just amazing to see the carnage in that moment. To see people out there in that moment protesting peacefully now have to run – and of course our law enforcement, who were out there protecting their right to protest, out there running for their lives as well."

The protests come after videos of police killing two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Charlie Foster, Interim director of OASIS at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says she understands peoples’ frustrations in the aftermath of the killings, but says matching violence with violence just makes things worse.

"There are people who are frightened, and that’s what you hear, you know," Foster said.

"People have to have conversations with their kids that they don’t want to have conversations about – not moving quickly and making sure you’re very clear with what you’re doing, and it’s unfortunate."

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister weighed in on the situation Friday morning.

"People have the right to be able to express their opinions and they should – and I encourage that," he said.

"But, these things have to be done in a peaceful manner, and they absolutely cannot be used as a conduit to target police, who are merely wearing the uniform and doing the job of protecting all of us."

Pastor Harris says in order for the killing to stop, it’s critical that communities – Lincoln included – form meaningful relationships with their police forces.

"It’s up to the citizenry, it’s up to the people of good will and good faith to step up and say, ‘No more, not here,’" Harris said.

"Whatever we have to do to come together, we just have to do it. And the unfortunate thing is we’re going to have to hurt before we heal, and the hurt has begun. There’s nobody who needs to be a spectator now, OK, everybody has to be a player. Off the bench, and in to the game – the price is just too much."

Harris said a meeting will be held Thursday, July 21, at the Belmont Rec Center for people to discuss the shooting. There will also be a lunch held at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center on the UNL campus Friday, July 15, on the same topic.