By Dan Leach

I watched horrified as many of you did as the scene unfolded in Dallas where 11 police officers that we know of were shot by cowardly snipers in what seemed like a planned and coordinated attack. At least 5 have died. I kept asking myself, is this really happening? Is this America? Because both seemed extremely foreign to me. It’s almost as if I was an alien visiting another planet and ran into absolute chaos. But it wouldn’t even make sense to someone from another planet.

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I understand the tremendous anger and frustration that has built over the past 24 hours stemming from what seemed like the senseless execution-style shootings by police officers in Louisiana and Minneapolis. This has been bubbling long before though and it seems like as if this country, the land of the free and the home of the brave, has truly reached a boiling point.

The fact that some people think the cowardly act of sniping police officers, the unbelievably overwhelming majority of which are there to protect and serve us in our biggest moments of need, and do so at risk to their own lives, that killing those who protect us will send a message and somehow bring justice to those who feel disenfranchised. To think that what happened in Dallas will do anything other than create chaos and more unnecessary strife, pain, and loss of life, is beyond me.

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This stemmed out of peaceful protests in one of our nation’s great cities. A planned, coordinated attack on the very people we entrust to protect our freedoms and protect the peace — that at least 1.6 million throughout our country’s history, fighting abroad and at home, have paid the ultimate price in sacrifice of those principles that separate us from so many in this world who don’t want to see human beings have true freedom.

No matter what side you are on politically what the President of “our” country said on Thursday was both poignant and sobering. “We are better than this!” And we simply need to be in a time where things might seem like they are falling apart. We have to rise up, come together, unify, and not become what we have so long fought against. Sadly some just want to watch the world burn, but there are too many of us to let that become the reality of modern-day America and the world as a whole.

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My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the officers that lost their lives as well as are fighting for them in Dallas, and the countless others that have been on the wrong side of justice. This is not the America I know, this is not the America that we all deserve.