Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Says ‘There is a Race Problem in This Country’

“I think we have all the ingredients to be just a great country, if we would just take the time to get to know each other and get to understand each other.”

By Rhonda FanningJuly 12, 2016 11:39 am| ,

Dallas is once again on the minds of many across the state and the country as President Obama arrives to honor victims of last week’s police shooting. The president is set to speak at the interfaith memorial service for the five slain officers.

Joining him is former President George W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, both Texas senators, and a host of other dignitaries – including congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who represents much of Dallas and calls the area where the shooting took place home.

The Standard spoke to Rep. Johnson about the aftermath of the attacks, and the concerns she heard from her community during her visit over the weekend.

“I felt lots of concern. People were in deep grief,” Johnson says. “Dallas people are feeling that the city has been mistreated with what has happened.”

On questions about why the shooter was able to carry out the attack:

“When they revealed the history, they felt that he had had enough behavioral manifestations that he needed some kind of attention. That did not come. He had these war weapons, and had been practicing, and had lots of magazines of ammunition. He probably should have gotten some attention from the VA, some medical facility. But it did not happen, as it has not happened in many other cases as well. That concerns me, because I’m a psychiatric nurse.”

On the availability of “war weapons”:

“The assault weapon ban has expired and we can’t get it renewed. Most of these multi-killings are done by assault weapons, which I have never been able to understand why assault weapons would be necessary to own outside of war.”

On approaching the issue of mass shootings from more than one perspective:

“Each time that we’ve had an incident with multiple lives being taken for no apparent reason, when we examine the person who the perpetrator, it’s found that they have some type of mental disorder. We have to look at this from two different fronts – and a background check would go a long ways in helping to keep some of these war weapons out of the hands of people who are not emotionally stable”

On the current state of race relations in America:

Unfortunately race relations are not where I’d like them to be. I think we’ve seen some deterioration recently. … There is a race problem in this country, and there really should not be, because we have the greatest democracy in the world, we have the most diverse nation in the world. I think we have all the ingredients to be just a great country, if we would just take the time to get to know each other and get to understand each other.”

On Dallas Police Chief David Brown:

“This police chief has vigorously attempted, even in spite of being criticized by the union – the police union that thinks he’s too soft on everybody but policeman. But he has stood his ground, he has demanded respect, and he’s attempted to address issues as they have come up. I have great regard for him. He’s been a rock of Gibraltar during all this time.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above.

Post by Alexa Hart