In the past week two unarmed black people have been killed by US police officers – Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
Protests erupted all across the country as people came out to demand justice for the two men. In shocking videos of their deaths, Sterling can be seen pinned to the ground by police, and Castile was shot in his car while reaching for his wallet. His infant daughter was in the back seat.
Their deaths continue to fuel the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the debate about gun control. But one argument stands out for its simplicity.
Back in 2012, National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre made a statement following the Newtown massacre, in which gunman Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults in a school:
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Except Adam Gopnik, writing in the New Yorker about the most recent shooting in Dallas in which police were targeted by a sniper, breathtakingly annuls that claim:
Last night’s tragedy was also the grotesque reduction ad absurdum of the claim that it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. There was nothing but good guys and they had nothing but guns, and five died anyway, as helps as the rest of us.
Jim Edwards had shared the excerpt on Twitter, and people's response was fairly universal:
Five Dallas police officers died after being fatally wounded by sniper-style shots in the protest about police brutality on Thursday.
According to a Facebook page which monitors the amount of people who have died at the hands of the police, 610 civilians have been killed in 2016 so far. 123 victims were black.