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A Crowd of People Huddled Together to Protect a Baby Stroller From Gunfire at the Dallas Protest

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As if America had not experienced enough tragedy in the past couple days, snipers reportedly opened fire at a protest last night in Dallas, and at least five police officers–one of whom was the father of a toddler–have died.

The demonstration had been going peacefully in Dallas, where according to Vox police have been trained in de-escalation tactics and excessive force complaints have dropped 64 percent since 2009.  At the beginning, it seemed like a model protest, with demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights to express grievances, and police supporting their right to do so. At the start of the event, the Dallas Police Department was controlling traffic to keep demonstrators safe and posting photos on Twitter of police officers standing with protesters.

 

 

And then, suddenly, the peaceful protest became a horrorshow as sniper fire reportedly broke out from tall buildings alongside the demonstrators’ path. Twelve officers and two civilians were wounded, and five police officers were killed. A suspect–a 25-year-old former U.S. Army Reservist who had been deployed to Afghanistan, according to Yahoo News–was allegedly killed when police delivered a bomb by robot to his location after an extended standoff. There are other suspects involved, but Dallas police say the investigation is ongoing and they won’t release more information on the suspects at this time.

But one thing that should come out of this devastation is that everyone should look at this photo of the shooting taken by CNN and highlighted by MIC, because when shots broke out and the police and demonstrators found themselves under gunfire, this group of people clustered, risking their own lives to get a baby in a carriage to safety.

The gunmen’s violence is unacceptable and unconscionable. Those police officers were murdered in the line of duty. It seems like there’s been a new tragedy every day this week. But this photo brings to mind Fred Rogers’ approach to violence and tragedy: “Look for the helpers.”

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LGHtc_D328]

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” he said, “my mother woudl say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

And he was right, because there they are. The helpers were the people clustered around that baby stroller, and the police officers who were helping direct traffic around the demonstrators. You’ll always find people helping. Violence and tragedy are not going to stop any time soon, so we have to remember to look for the helpers, and to be the helpers ourselves.