(excerpt: Twilight Language)
Readers of The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines will not be surprised by what we have seen in the wake of the Dallas police killings. There is no left or right in this insight. Only the harsh reality that copycats exist.
Please note the military background, mirroring that of Micah X. Johnson’s own record, for several of these gunmen. Does one hear faint echoes of Manchurian Candidates in these incidents? Vulnerable ex-military men who have been triggered by recent events?
In Valdosta*, Georgia, a man opened fire Friday, July 8, 2016, on a south Georgia police officer investigating a possible vehicle break-in outside an apartment complex, sparking a shootout in which both the officer and suspect were wounded but expected to survive.
The shooting in Valdosta, just north of the Georgia-Florida state line, happened hours after five police officers were killed Thursday night [July 7, 2016] during an ambush in Dallas. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said there was no immediate evidence the shootings were related.
Officer Randall Hancock was shot multiple times as he responded to a report of vehicle damage, possibly caused by a break-in, outside the Three Oaks Apartments just after 8 a.m. Friday, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress told a news conference.
“The officer called out on the radio screaming for assistance,” Childress said, and officers from multiple law enforcement agencies swarmed the apartment complex.
The gunman [Stephen Paul Beck, 22] who fired on Hancock was not immediately identified. Both Childress and Dutton identified the suspect as an Asian male. The officer is white, according to Valdosta city spokeswoman Sementha Mathews.
Dutton said one gunshot hit the officer in the abdomen, just below his protective vest. Other shots hit Hancock’s vest. The officer returned fire and wounded the suspect.
Hancock underwent surgery at a local hospital and was stable Friday as he rested with his family by his side, Childress said. The suspect was also considered stable, he said, and was being taken to a hospital in Florida. Source.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, at which time the county government was moved from nearby Troupville. Citizens of Troupville relocated when the Gulf and Atlantic Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla Number Three pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Gulf and Atlantic Railway.
Troupville, now virtually abandoned, had been named after Governor George Troup, for whom Troup County, Georgia, was also named. Valdosta was named after Troup’s estate, Val d’Osta (occasionally the Valdosta spelling was used as well), which itself was named after the Valle d’Aosta in Italy. The name Aosta (Latin: Augusta), refers to Emperor Augustus. Thus, the name Valdosta can be interpreted literally as meaning “Valley of Augustus’ City”. Originally, a long-standing rumor held that the city’s name meant “vale of beauty.” The land around Valdosta is flat.
After the American Civil War, over one hundred African Americans, families of farmers, craftsmen, and laborers, emigrated from Lowndes County to Arithington, Liberia, Africa, in 1871 and 1872, looking for a better life. This was made possible with the support of the American Colonization Society. The first group, which left in 1871, was led by Jefferson Bracewell, and the second group was led by Aaron Miller. Source.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged a 31-year old man in connection with the shooting of a Ballwin police officer.
The suspect, identified as Antonio Taylor, was charged with first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
The incident happened around 11 a.m. [July 8, 2016] in the 300 block of New Ballwin Road. The officer, a 9-year police veteran, pulled over a vehicle on a routine traffic stop. As the officer returned to his squad car, the suspect exited his car and shot the officer.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said the suspect walked up to the officer, who by this time was on the ground, and shot him again.
The suspect fled the scene before leaving his car abandoned. He was apprehended after a short foot pursuit.
The officer was rushed to a local hospital for treatment. He’d been with the Ballwin Police Department approximately 2 years prior to the shooting.
Taylor, who was arrested about 30 minutes after the shooting, remains in custody on $500,000 bond. Source.
In Wisconsin, 43-year-old Byron Cowan was arrested and accused of making threats against white law enforcement officers on social media, police said in a statement [July 8, 2016].
“Be first to shoot first. I encourage every black man in America to strap up. It is clear. I encourage every white officer to kiss there love ones goodbye,” Cowan posted on social media, according to the Racine Police Department. Source.
Another officer was fired upon by a motorist north of Atlanta. Source.
Near Bristol, Tennessee, there were sniper incidents that directly proceeded the Dallas events that had several of the same elements.
Hours before a black Army veteran shot 12 officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, another former Army soldier was accused of shooting indiscriminately at passing cars and police on a Tennessee highway.
And like the Dallas sniper, Lakeem Keon Scott said he was motivated to act in response to police violence against African-Americans, authorities said Friday.
One woman died and three others, including a police officer, were wounded Thursday morning [July 7, 2016] in the Tennessee rampage, one of several spasms of violence across the country this week amid boiling tensions over policing and race.
Civilians also have been caught in the fray. The woman who died in Tennessee was a newspaper carrier, driving down the highway.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that its preliminary investigation revealed the suspect, a 37-year-old black former soldier, was troubled by the other incidents. All those shot were white, police said….Scott — allegedly armed with an assault rifle, a pistol and a large amount of ammunition — was wounded in a shootout with police early Thursday and remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition….Newspaper carrier Jennifer Rooney, a 44-year-old mother of two, was struck by a bullet as she drove to pick up papers for the morning delivery. The Bristol Herald-Courier reported that her car careened over a median and crashed through a chain link fence. Source.
Scott served from January 1998 to June 1999. He was a private in the 5th Battalion 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, stationed in South Korea.