The Irish-born Bishop of Dallas Kevin J. Farrell, 69, has said the sniper killing of five Dallas policemen was not a complete shock and that semi automatic guns must be banned. He was speaking to The Irish Times.

“When you listen to the rhetoric that we are dished every night on television from our so-called leaders and politicians, what do you expect to happen? This tension in the country is at an all-time high,” he said.

Farrell, a native of Drimnagh in Dublin who has lived in the U.S. since 1965, spoke at a special vigil for the dead officers and those wounded on Wednesday. His brother Bishop Brian Farrell is attached to the Curia in Rome. He stated Americans desperately needed to listen and learn from people with opposing views.

“Our society – and there are many philosophical reasons for this – but we have become more and more isolated from each other, and hatred is what happens when somebody else doesn’t do what I want them to do. There is little communication between people,” he said.

He said he agreed with the Second Amendment for hunting, but not with the public being allowed to have semi-automatic weapons. Texas has “open carry” laws, but the bishop has banned all weapons from Catholic churches in his diocese.

“What are you doing with an AK-47 in your house? They are meant to kill people,” he said. 

“People need to be reasonable and we are just not. It is ‘my way or nobody else’s way.’ There is no dialogue or communication and they are to blame for this because that is the tone they are setting in the country,” he said, speaking of the failure of leaders in Washington to compromise.

Racism has reared its ugly head again he said. The eight years of the Obama presidency showed that racism was “still alive and well.” 

Bishop Farrell had also issued an earlier statement saying:” We have been swept up in the escalating cycle of violence that has now touched us intimately as it has others throughout our country and the world," said Farrell, who has blogged in the past several months about the escalating gun violence across the country and world. 

"All lives matter: black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu. We are all children of God, and all human life is precious.”

He said the people of Dallas were “still in shock after what happened which followed on from the deaths of two black people at the hand of police in Baton Rouge and Minnesota.”

Bishop Farrell, who is in Dallas ten years, said Dallas police chief David Brown had found it “extremely difficult” to break the devastating news to the families of the slain officers.

“How do you go and tell a wife, a mother, children that their father was out there protecting people who were protesting against them, that he was there protecting them and all of a sudden somebody shoots him?” he said.

“It’s time for our country to show some semblance of respect for those in law enforcement,” he said.
Bishop Farrell, said that it would “take a long time” for the city to recover.

“As the mayor said today, before we were known for one thing and that was the death of Kennedy and now we are known for this thing too,” he said.

Bishop of Dallas Kevin J. Farrell with Pope Francis.Catholic Diocese of Dallas