Every time a town or a school that is hit with a massacre shooting, an emergency alert goes through the entire country. Lawmakers and Policemen become watchful and begin to look into the apertures in their laws to protect their citizens.
However, what happened in Dallas, unlike Orlando, Aurora, Newtown and all the others - represents a first for a country blighted by violence. That the victims were those who had sworn to protect and serve represents a game-changer in the tense debate over how law enforcement deals with the public. The officers died in the same week as two black men were very publicly gunned down by white officers.
Dallas has been jolted in a way not seen for decades. Just a few blocks from the scene of the shooting is Dealey Plaza, where a young, charismatic president was shot dead in broad, sunny daylight. That day in 1963 brought infamy to Dallas. Thursday night brought it again at a moment when modern America is being forced to examine itself.
The man who shot dead five police officers in Dallas and wounded seven more was planning an even larger attack, the city's police chief says. Micah Johnson, 25, was angry with the recent killings of black men by police and wanted to kill white officers, police say. Police chief David Brown said he was "convinced" Johnson had wider plans.
The debate over gun control in the United States has waxed and waned over the years, stirred by a series of mass killings by gunmen in civilian settings. Gun-control advocates sought to rekindle the debate following another string of deadly mass shootings in 2015, including the killing of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and 14 at a community center in San Bernardino, California. In January 2016, President Obama took a series of executive actions intended to curb gun violence, including measures to expand federal background checks to most gun buyers.
The crux of the matter is that a number of gun advocates consider ownership a birthright and an essential part of America's culture. The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world's population, has about 35-50 percent of the world's civilian-owned guns, according to a 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. It ranks number one in firearms per capita. The United States also has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world's most developed nations. But many gun-rights proponents say these statistics do not indicate a cause-and-effect relationship and note that the rates of gun homicide and other gun crimes in the United States have dropped since highs in the early 1990s.
The answer to America's violence and rampant crime isn’t more awareness amongst Americans. The answer is law abiding citizens, armed, empowered, and mobilized to protect themselves and back their communities. They're also pushing for legislative changes that will enact harsher sentences for those convicted of gun crimes,particularly repeat offenders.