WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The shootings in Dallas are sending shockwaves across the nation. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are reacting to Thursday’s violence, entrenched in a reignited gun debate since the Orlando shootings.
"We’ve tried so hard in Dallas to build positive police relationships,” said Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). "We have not been perfect, but we’ve been near perfect.”
That all changed Thursday night. Five officers dead, several more wounded. As Johnson’s city is reeling, she says changes have to be made; expanding background checks, mental health care, weeding out the small minority of bad apples in law enforcement, and better communication between law enforcement and their communities.
"An eye for an eye does not work,” said Johnson. "We’ve got to create more understanding and we’ve got to address the issues that we’re dealing with.”
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) says political discourse has created a bad environment for the country.
"I just feel sad as to what’s happened to our country and how divided we’ve become,” said Cuellar. "Not only by words, but by actions.”
Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX) says new leadership at the top is crucial in bringing Americans together. He also says people have to stop playing the “race card”.
"We’re drawing black and white and Hispanic all into this wedge,” said Williams. "The fact of the matter is, we’re all Americans and let’s get our house in order. Let’s get off that and respect each other.”
Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) says new laws aren’t the answer. He says Americans need a culture change.
"What we need to have coming out of Washington is support for our men and women, and support for our people that are trying to create communities that are drawn together instead of split apart,” said Flores.
For now, they head back to Texas without a consensus on how to address these issues.