We create our own monsters.
If he had gone to college, instead of Afghanistan. If he had never been subjected to a stop and frisk. If no one he knew had ever been abused by the police. If he had never seen videos of young black men dying in police custody. If he had mental health problems that were recognized and treated by medical professionals.
My heart aches for the police officers who kissed their beloved families goodbye on June 7, and never came home. They were no more guilty than I am. They did not deserve to die.
But their tax dollars, like my tax dollars, trained Micah Johnson in the sniper skills that enabled him to slaughter them. Our government’s policies sent him off to a war that was designed to keep us safer, but which ended up creating a more comprehensive network of worldwide terrorism. And like so many other US combat veterans, he probably came home damaged. Like so many human beings across the globe, he experienced war. And then he did horrible, unspeakable, things. Because war is horrible. And some people who experience war end up doing horrible, unspeakable things.
I know nothing about Micah Johnson, other than the tidbits of information available to us in the press. He had a deep anger towards police. So I guess, I assume, that like most black men, he had had negative experiences with the police at some point in his life. And his friends and family members had as well.
So institutionalized racism intersected with post-combat trauma, and perhaps organic mental health issues. And he did something evil. He became a monster.
And we as a nation have been complicit in the creation of monsters like Johnson.