Five chairs are empty with flags placed upon them honoring the slain policemen as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for the five police officers killed last week in a sniper attack in Dallas, Texas July 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Obama in Dallas: 'Joy comes in the morning'

(RNS) As he has done 10 times in his seven-plus years in office, President Obama comforted the nation after a mass shooting with words of Scripture.

"My faith tells me these men did not die in vain," a wet-eyed Obama said from a podium to the right of full-color portraits of the five officers killed by a Dallas sniper Thursday (July 7). Then, paraphrasing the Psalms, he added:  "Pain comes at night. But joy comes in the morning."

The president spoke for 40 minutes, seemingly without notes, quoting from the Epistle of John and the prophet Ezekiel. His remarks sometimes took on the cadence and shape of a church sermon, with the definition of a problem -- America is divided by race -- and the promise of a solution.

Police officers attend a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas, on July 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Police officers attend a memorial service after the multiple police shootings in Dallas, on July 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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"This is the America I know," he repeated several times, almost like a refrain, to punctuate stories of blacks helping whites or policemen and women under fire coming to the aid of citizens.

The memorial service was held at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. It was a private service for the families and police officers but was broadcast live.

Before the president's remarks, Dallas Police Chief David Brown told the crowd -- which gave him a standing ovation even before he was fully introduced by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings -- that the words of a Stevie Wonder song held his promise to the families.

"Just as hate knows love's the cure/You can rest your mind assured/
That I'll be loving you always," Brown said, looking at the families in the front few rows. "I'll be loving you always."

Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush were also seated on stage. President Bush, who spoke so eloquently of religious equality after the Sept. 11 attacks, addressed the families.

"Your loss is unfair," he said. "We cannot explain it. But we can stand beside you. ... May God bless you."



  1. Warning: I don’t know how to say the following more tactfully.

    I really, really wish that the overwhelming numbers of otherwise truly good police would loudly, openly, publicly decry the actions of those remarkably few crazy, violent, killer cops. The fact that I *NEVER* hear the individual and collective outrage of such a huge majority of the nation’s law enforcement officers — at every position and level of the “org. chart” — takes my breath away and breaks my heart at the same time.

    All those good cops should be reliably and relentlessly confronting inappropriate behavior by those very few awful officers. All those good cops should be standing up to those very few angry, arrogant bullies and telling them to stop killing and abusing their equals — citizens — while ruining the reputations of their entire departments, and of the profession itself. All those good cops should be demanding the immediate removal of those very few awful officers who violate the laws and ethics that all those good officers honorably uphold with justified pride. And all those good cops should be voicing their condemnations of those very few awful officers with such loud voices that every American citizen can’t help but hear their deafening protests.

    THAT’S how you get the support and respect of the public.

    I don’t remember what they call the malignant “blue code of silence”, but it needs to be recognized and eliminated as the death-dealing cancer that it is. There is nothing honorable about concealing others’ dishonor — and crimes — particularly in such a vitally important organization dedicated to fighting crime… dedicated to fighting crime… except for the crimes committed by those very few awful officers who betray their own police departments?

    Americans want to know what they can do to fix this awful problem. Here’s what you can do: demand this from your local police departments — with your voices, and with your votes.

  2. Did Obama say that the shooter could have been his son?

  3. Rev. Obama went down to Dallas in the heart of the Bible Belt, and quoted some scripture, but the general tone of his message was still that tired whine that white people are at fault for African Americans’ hatred of the police. He never seems to get around to addressing the hatred that African Americans have for the police. Instilling that in their youth is the root of the harvest of random cop-killing, especially the killing of African American officers trying to keep order in their communities, The fact that Dallas has a black Chief of police doesn’t count for much, since it’s the presence of police-period that incites African Americans hyper sensitivity to the use of force on those who would do them harm.

    Race relations have severely deteriorated under his administration. He speaks in pastoral tones but never delivers a clear message about the heavy culpability of members of his race, or personal responsibility for pulling the trigger. He’s forgotten that a big majority of people of all colors, elected and re-elected him president, hoping to span the racial divide. At this he has failed miserably. He polishes his Nobel Prize while basking in the pleasant hum of yes-men/women and a doting mainstream media.

  4. So according to you atheists, the act of voting is “immoral” and “insanity” ?? Seriously??

    No wonder most Americans aren’t atheists. Americans want rationality, and atheism is clearly NOT rational !!!

  5. As for me, I’m voting for automatic federal SUPERMAX PRISON time for the St. Paul, Memphis, and Baton Rouge BLM protesters.

    They proved last weekend that they are a **disgrace** to the memory of the non-violent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and even a disgrace to Black America itself. They are messed up.

  6. Gee… I find myself disagreeing with both of you. That’s a first.

  7. You’re right about this G Key. There is a rare and courageous cop voice sometimes condemning the behavior of those bad cops you spoke of, but it’s so rare. I have heard an occasional, usually retired cop naming the insidious code of silence and explaining that it is enforced by threats and acts of violence against the violator, even including death.

    My mind and body recoils from believing that could be true about police forces entrusted with access to weapons of individual and mass destruction, entrusted to “serve and protect” the citizens who pay them.

    Yet, as you said G Key, good cops do not rise up en mass to condemn the behavior of the corrupt few. Why not?

  8. “…the insidious code of silence… is enforced by threats and acts of violence against the violator, even including death.”

    Wow. The Gang Department?

    “Say it ain’t so, Officer Joe.”

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