President Barack Obama on Tuesday heralded the "heroes" in law enforcement who put their lives on the line to defend the U.S. public.
Speaking at a memorial ceremony for the five officers killed in last week's shootings at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, Texas, the president called the slayings an act of "racial hatred."
"We also know that what Chief [David] Brown has said is true, that so much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much, and we ask too little of ourselves," Obama said.
Pres. Obama: "What Chief Brown said is true...we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves." https://t.co/KV086BnTfJ— ABC News (@ABC) July 12, 2016
Obama went on to say that systemic issues in the U.S. allow poverty to "fester" so that entire neighborhoods don't have access to education and employment, leading to increased crime.
"We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book," Obama said. "And then we tell the police: 'You're a social worker. You're the parent. You're the teacher. You're the drug counselor.' We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs, and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience. Don't make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind."
[sharequote="center"]"It is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book." - President Barack Obama[/sharequote]
The president continued: "And then we feign surprise when periodically the tensions boil over."
Obama invoked the Bible to offer hope to mourners in Dallas following the shootings last week.
"Scripture tells us that in our suffering there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance – character. And character, hope," Obama said.
But the officers killed and injured last week in Dallas exemplify the best that America has to offer, he added.
"From the moment you put on that uniform, you have answered a call that at any moment, even in the briefest interaction, could put your life in harm’s way," he said.
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