The canyon growing between police and public in both the USA and the UK is a one way ratchet. And so far, today, that's about as far as the similarity goes.
On Radio 4 recently I listened with pained surprise to the matter of fact accounts by black American mothers of teenage sons. As the boys were going out to see their mates, 'hang out' or court girls, the mothers treated each goodbye as if it were the last. The chilling warning given by the mothers to their children - that if they were stopped by the police not to answer back, to keep their hands on the wheel and don't move a muscle - spoke of the very real fear of quick-to-shoot cops. And if we find that hard to credit on this side of the pond (despite Duggan and de Menezes) cameraphones are bringing incontrovertible video evidence to every news screen around the globe.
American cops are not the nation's high achievers. Many have never mastered cursive script handwriting, and the sight of a cop slowly writing out a ticket in painful BLOCK CAPS, with their tongue clamped between their teeth in concentration, doesn't inspire confidence that they should be in charge of a lethal weapon. And today in reaction, I guess (unless it turns out to be some very clever Islamist terrorist act) to recent live-filmed killings by such cops, I am now hearing recordings of the semi-auto rifle fire that at this time has killed four cops and wounded six others in Dallas.
What will happen now is predictable. Cops will don even more body armour before venturing out; excessive H&S will keep them from saving 'civilian' lives, they will be no less trigger-happy than they are now but the psychological effect of some black kid being shot to death by a masked Robocop will be far more alienating than the shooter being a plump little cop in a too-tight uniform with bitten nails and dandruf who can't do joined-up writing.
My deepest sympathies to the families of both the dead Dallas officers and of the random black cop-shot dead. And a reminder that we must wrest control of our own police back from the State and the Home Secretary and affirm their Peelean constitution if we are not to go the same way.