Cover Image: Standoff

Standoff

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt for providing this ARC. This is a very good telling of the Dallas police shootings that occurred in 2016. Although I was familiar with the event, this book provided lots of details I did not know. This book is mainly told from the view of the police officers involved and does a good job of explaining their thoughts during the crisis as well as their backgrounds.  What I didn’t like about the book was that it left me feeling educated, but dejected about the divide in our country between factions supporting anti racism initiatives and police support initiatives. It didn’t seem like anyone in the book was likely to change their attitudes and I feel like in 2020, that is eden more true given our polarized state. I don’t fault the author for any of this, she is reporting a factual story.
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Solid, Compelling, Yet Blatantly Biased In Favor Of Cops. Four years ago nearly to the day when I read this book on July 11, 2020, Dallas cops used a brick of C4 to murder a suspect in a college building, rather than arresting him and bringing him to trial. This book is a detailed telling of the events of that night, taken from multiple interviews and videos with many of the very people in question. It doesn't really delve into race or policing generally so much as the thoughts and histories of those involved, and not one person involved comes out looking like so much as a good person. Even with the narrative blatantly biased to put them in as favorable a light as possible. A compelling read that very much puts the reader in the night in question and in the heads of the cops in question, and this fact alone is the reason it rates so high. A great primer on exactly what cops think of the rest of us in modern America, and thus very much recommended.

A final note: While I absolutely recommend reading this book, I recommend getting it from a library or waiting until it hits the used market because the cops in question stand to benefit financially from its sale. This is a novel recommendation from me, but warranted in this case as these people should *not* stand to make money from murdering someone.
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Jamie Thompson has created a superb and engrossing read with Standoff. A true page-turner and well worth the time!
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A quality piece of reporting. Jamie Thompson (the lady journalist who wrote on this shooting for Dallas papers, not the male military memoirist this name is also attached to on Goodreads) manages to bring a lot of conflict to the table and offer it in an unbiased way. The cops, SWAT, and DART officers all speak for themselves. Even the shooter's voice is in his own words. The story speaks for itself, and Jamie Thompson did an outstanding job of chasing it down. 

With an abundant number of firsthand accounts, some short and single-chaptered while others carry throughout the entire event, Thompson manages to frame the social commentary of <i>The Standoff</i> within the backstory of these officers. Their previous experiences in life, in the military, and in the police department have been steeped in racial politics and so the story builds this history upon the officers of the city itself - there's even a little Kennedy discussion in here - up through specific incidents and the Black Lives Matter movement. All leading up to Dallas on July 7, 2016 when Micah Xavier Johnson decided this was where he would start his revolution.

The negotiator, Larry Gordon, is a member of SWAT. He's also toeing the line between black and blue.
<i>At work, he defended black people's gripes with law enforcement, explaining how he even still got pulled over while off duty. To relatives and friends, Gordon was always defending cops, trying to explain the use of force and the dangers of the job. He was too black to be blue, and too blue to be black.</i> 

Another great viewpoint comes from the trauma surgeon, Dr. Williams, who spends a lot of time after this shooting to advocate for better relations between police and community. As a black surgeon, he also experiences racial politics in his life and workplace. He has a ritual once he gets in his car to place his badge around his neck - whether he's going to work or not - to clearly identify him as a doctor in case he gets pulled over. He has his veteran's status on his driver's license and his Air Force Academy plates as "talismans" to protect him in case he gets pulled over. 
<i>Even he, a surgeon at one of the country's busiest trauma centers, could on any road, outside any home, be reduced to a black man acting suspiciously." A menace. A threat.</i>

Another standout member of SWAT was Banes. I had a hard time grasping why Banes read like a main character when he was as enveloped in the narrative as Gordon, but I think it's because he offers a reasonable look at the blue side of the thin blue line. He acknowledges the alpha pack, testosterone fueled misogynistic <i>necessity</i> of police, military, and especially SWAT. 
<i>The cop would watch the SWAT guys roll up in their armored personnel carriers, hanging off the sides with their M4's, muscles flexing beneath their heavy entry vests, hair perfectly fixed as if they'd taken an extra moment with the blow-dryer before heading out to save the world. They'd ride past that cop and silently communicate that they were tougher, quicker, better. </i>
It doesn't prevent him from succumbing to it, but at least he acknowledges it. He yearned for it until he made it. Through him we get to meet many tougher tougher SWAT guys. Burlier, older, more experienced testosteroney.

I would definitely recommend this to any fans of military or police non-fiction, maybe similar to <i>Black Hawk Down</i>, those interested in the topics of police relations in America, racial policing, SWAT, guns, explosives, with minor social politicking. 

Thank you to the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., for providing me with an early e-copy via Netgalley.
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