Five Policeman Dead- Is Empathy A Zero Sum Game?

As many may know, five Dallas policemen are dead after snipers fired on police during a peaceful protest.

The cases of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling got little sympathy as it was, and now their deaths are overshadowed. The death of the Dallas policemen is undoubtedly a tragedy, but it brings up another issue.

I was reading a cracked article that a man wrote about being raped by a woman. I am currently at work and I am hesitant to type rape into a search, therefore I will add the link later.

The man made the point that he understood women get raped and that he was not trying to use his issue to detract from their issues. He made the point that sympathy for one group is not always antithetical to sympathy for another. Empathy is not a limited resource that we must devote only to one cause.

I find people always try to derail arguments by appealing to this zero sum mentality.

“Black people always complain about racism, but what about the racism¬†my people¬†face.”

“Women say they’re victims of sexual assault, but what about men?”

If people apply the zero sum mentality to this week’s incidents, then all sympathy will go to the policemen, and the two men killed earlier this week won’t get any.

The five policemen deserve our sympathy, so do Castille and Sterling.

Peaceful protest against police brutality is not meant to imply that all cops are racist or poorly trained. The peaceful protests are seeking justice for what was done and better training and evaluation of police officers at an institutional level. I am sure none of them condone the shooting. Why would they? It detracts from their efforts and creates more sympathy for the institution they are protesting against.

As this issue unfolds, let’s see if the zero sum mentality reigns supreme.


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