Retired Holly Hill Police Chief Mark Barker: Dallas cops 'summarily and savagely executed'

Fill in the Blank Lives Matter / Headline Surfer

Dallas cops grieve for the loss of brother officers in Thursday's carnage / Headline Surfer®PREAMBLE (series): An essay by guest columnist Mark D. Barker, who is one of Volusia County's genuine modern thinkers, begins the first in a series of reflective writings and analyses in the wake of the deadly sniper attack in Dallas during the tail-end of Thursday's otherwise peaceful 'Black Lives Matter' protest march in response to the use of deadly force by police in the shooting deaths of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Headline Surfer® asked the retired Holly Hill chief of police that very night if he would write an essay on his reaction to the utter carnage in Dallas, since he pens his independent blog, 'Barker's View,' via Barkersview.org. Barker readily agreed to work earnestly on that request. Because he also agreed to write the same thing for the News-Journal, which was published Sunday, this media outlet decided to hold off on publishing Barker's essay for a few days to avoid antagonism with  the daily newspaper. What begins here is the essay, with this digital media outlet's commitment to meaningful debate on the divisions that exist across the US between the Black community and law enforcement:

Retired Holly Hill Police Chief Mark Barker / Headline Surfer®Essay By Mark D. Barker
For Headline Surfer®
 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- I had the honor of serving as a law enforcement officer for more than 31 years, the last five as chief of police of a full-service municipal department in east Central Florida.

The great privilege of my life was working with some of the finest men and women I have ever known, in a cause important to the life of our community.

I have seen these brave souls, time and again, go into harm’s way to protect the lives and welfare of their fellow citizens, willingly and routinely putting their own lives at risk to serve others.

Law enforcement officers play an integral and inspirational role in binding the very fabric of our society and they are my personal heroes. On Thursday evening, that fabric began tearing away when an assault rifle was trained on a dozen officers -- killing five and injuring another seven.

The vicious attack occurred while hundreds in the heart of Dallas' business district protested earlier police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, La and Falcon Heights, Minn.

In the two short years since my retirement, I have watched as my beloved profession has come under withering condemnation by predatory “social activists” and other shameless opportunists on the national stage. 

The net result has been escalating violence against law enforcement officers, an erosion of the public’s confidence in perhaps our most important societal asset and a widening of the “us vs. them mentality" not seen in this country since the civil rights unrest of the1960s.

Dallas cops seek cover from sniper / Headline Surfer®In the two short years since my retirement, I have watched as my beloved profession has come under withering condemnation by predatory “social activists” and other shameless opportunists on the national stage.

The net result has been escalating violence against law enforcement officers, an erosion of the public’s confidence in perhaps our most important societal asset and a widening of the 'us vs. them' mentality not seen in this country since the turbulent '60s.

-- Mark Barker, retired Holly Hill police chief making the case for cops across the American landscape being under siege by groups like 'Black Lives Matter' even as the Dallas protestors distanced themselves from the sniper...

 

Just hours after the incident in his state, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton asked at a news conference: “Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?" Then answering his own self-serving question: "I don’t think so.”

President Barack Obama was quick to remind us, “All Americans should be deeply troubled” by these events. 

In my view, we live in an age where snap perceptions - often based on jangled video snippets and inflammatory rhetoric - fuel an immediate and certain rush to judgment. Law enforcement officers are assumed guilty and convicted in the court of public opinion at the speed of social media. And at times before investigators have even arrived at the scene. 

Now, they are being summarily and savagely executed on the streets of a major US city. The result is an untenable environment where those sworn to uphold the law and safeguard our communities no longer enjoy the basic right of equal justice before the law or the fundamental presumption of innocence. 

The rule of law has been replaced with rabble-rousing, incendiary assumptions and hearsay — and now direct attacks by domestic terrorists.

Black Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter / Headline Surfer®President Barack Obama was quick to remind us, “All Americans should be deeply troubled” by these events. 

In my view, we live in an age where snap perceptions - often based on jangled video snippets and inflammatory rhetoric - fuel an immediate and certain rush to judgment. Law enforcement officers are assumed guilty and convicted in the court of public opinion at the speed of social media.  And at times before investigators have even arrived at the scene. Now, they are being summarily and savagely executed on the streets of a major US city.  The result is an untenable environment where those sworn to uphold the law and safeguard our communities no longer enjoy the basic right of equal justice before the law or the fundamental presumption of innocence. The rule of law has been replaced with rabble-rousing, incendiary assumptions and hearsay — and now direct attacks by domestic terrorists.

-- Mark Barker on the clashes between 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Blue Lives Matter' as some among the latter in law enforcement have dubbed themselves...

Americans should be outraged when our political leadership almost instinctively use their important role to fuel speculation and intensify emotional conjecture in the immediate aftermath of deadly police-citizen encounters that none of us - especially law enforcement - want to see continue.

Rather than use the power and influence of their office to calm fears, encourage cooperation and urge patience as police shootings are thoroughly investigated, these political leaders revert to the base provocations of group hysteria.

This vile hatred of law enforcement is real and it can no longer be ignored or exploited for political gain. Following the atrocity in Dallas, Obama asked that we wait until all the facts are in before forming a conclusion. Why does he feel law enforcement is not worthy of the same consideration?

About the guest columnist:

Mark D. Barker, a resident of Ormond Beach with his wife, Patti, retired as Holly Hill’s chief of police in 2014, ending his 31-year career as a cop in the much smaller land-locked municipality, sandwiched between Ormond Beach to the north and Daytona Beach to the south and snaking up Holly Hill's east side and cutting off direct beach access. Barker has been a valued and trusted law enforcement source for award-winning breaking news reporter Henry Frederick since the mid-1990s, when he covered cops & courts for the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade before transitioning to internet news with Headline Surfer® nearly a decade ago.
 

Next up: 

Seminole County Sheriff's-Elect Dennis Lemma / Headline Surfer®Volusia County Sheriff's candidate Webndell Bradford / Headline Surfer®Volusia Xounty Chief Deputy Eric Dietrich / Headline Surfer®Seminole County Sheriff-Elect Dennis Lemma, retired Seminole County Sheriff's Deputy Wendell Bradford and Volusia County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Eric Dietrich, react to the carnage in Dallas. Dietrich and Bradford are among five candidates running for Volusia County Sheriff in the 2016 elections while Lemma was the lone qualifier last month for sheriff in Seminole County. Lemma, Bradford and Dietrich are shown left to right, respectively.
 
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area in Central Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards in print & digital mediums. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's pursuing a Master of Arts degree in New Media/Journalism (graduation in March 2018). Frederick earned his BA in Political Science/Public Admin. (concentration in Writing) from Central Connecticut State University, in 1984, where he recieved the President's Citation for "academic excellence & outstanding campus/community service." Prior to myriad duties as publisher/award-winning journalist of Headline Surfer, 2008-present; Frederick was city hall reporter for the Palatka (FL) Daily News, 2007-2008; city editor of the Taunton (MA) Daily Gazette, 2005-2006; cops & courts/legal affairs writer for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, 1996-2004; and cops & courts reporter for the Rockland (NY) Journal-News/Gannett Suburban Newspapers, 1989-1996.