The details of what transpired in the Dallas shooting are still under investigation, but based on what we know, a local police officer, Amber Guyger, mistakenly entered her neighbor's apartment, and proceeded to shoot and kill him. The officer is a white woman, while the victim, Botham Shem Jean, was a black man.
A few days after the slaying, Guyger was charged with manslaughter, but soon after, local officials were accused of trying to smear Jean by alerting the media to the fact that he allegedly had 10 grams of marijuana in his apartment when he was killed.
Not surprisingly, this has become an important election-year topic for candidates in Texas, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R), in his first debate on Friday with Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D), chastised his rival over his criticisms of the officer who killed her unarmed neighbor. As the Washington Post reported, after the debate, Cruz went a little further.
Sen. Ted Cruz's most popular tweet Friday night -- the one with tens of thousands of likes, retweets and comments -- ostensibly was meant to slam his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
"In Beto O'Rourke's own words," tweeted the Texas Republican, who has found himself in the midst of a surprisingly tight reelection race for his U.S. Senate seat in a formerly solid-red state.
Cruz then linked to a video of a speech O'Rourke gave at a Dallas church in which he discussed the death of a local resident named Botham Shem Jean.... "How can it be -- in this day and age, in this very year, in this community -- that a young man, African American, in his own apartment, is shot and killed by a police officer?" O'Rourke asked the congregation, which grew increasingly animated.
On the surface, the fact that Cruz was eager to promote O'Rourke's remarks seemed baffling: the Texas congressman didn't say anything controversial. Indeed, it wasn't at all clear what it was, exactly, that O'Rourke said that the far-right senator disagreed with.
It seemed like a message that was destined to backfire: it showed Cruz's opponent making sensible observations in a Baptist church about a tragic shooting, where the congregation gave every indication it agreed with what O'Rourke had to say.
But to limit the analysis to the surface would be a mistake.