Daughter of Dallas Cop Remembers Dad in Interview No Child Should Have to Give

The 9-year-old daughter of Sgt. Mike Smith, one of the five Dallas police officers killed in an ambush last week, recalling her last talk with her dad should serve as a reminder to every American that the violence raging in our streets ultimately hurts our children most. 

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Caroline Smith bravely sat down for an interview where she shared the story of the last time she said good-bye to her daddy.

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"He was leaving for work, and I was leaving to go to a movie, and he said to me, 'What if this is the last time you ever kiss me or hug me?'" she told the CBS Evening News.

The little girl, fighting back tears behind her glasses, said it was the first time she can remember his saying something like that.

"It just felt different to me," she said. "Like something bad was going to happen."

Here's a look at the rest of the gut-wrenching interview no child should ever have to give about a parent:

And for those who, in the wake of the Dallas shooting tragedy and related police shootings in Baton Rouge of Alton Sterling and St. Paul of Philando Castile, attempt to retreat and retrench into their polarized positions -- let's remember it's not just the children of police officers who are left grieving a parent.

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Alton Sterling's 15-year-old son Cameron was caught up in the media frenzy surrounding the video of his dad's death when he wept standing by his mother's side as she made her first public statements about seeking justice for her husband. Today Cameron returned to stand in front of the cameras to ask protesters to "protest in peace, not guns." He added that if he could speak to his father again he would say, "I love you so much. I miss you a lot."

This is too much to ask of our children.

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There are many others. There's the 4-year-old daughter of Philando Castile's girlfriend, who watched as officers fired bullets and killed him. She's heard in the video of his death saying, "I"m scared, Mommy."

This is the world our children are growing up in. And none of them are safe.

The New York Times writer Yamiche Alcindor recently wrote an article detailing the damage being done to children across the country as a result of racial tensions with law enforcement.

She talks about the sister of Tamir Rice, the boy who was shot and killed by police in Ohio in 2014. Since the incident, which she witnessed, she's lost 50 pounds. The 5-year-old daughter of Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by a California transit officer in 2009, tells her friends to "duck" when she spots police. And there's Sandra Bland, who was found dead in police custody in 2015 after a routine traffic stop -- she left a 9-year-old nephew behind who now needs to sleep in the same room with his mother to try to feel safe.

Even if we aren't able to heal the wounds of race and violence in America for each other, maybe we can find the resolve in our love for our children. Because they're the ones who are suffering. They're the ones being robbed of not just their parents, but also their innocence and their feeling of safety and security.

We have to do better. Because no little girl should have to fight back tears while she recounts the last conversation she had with her dad before he was murdered in an American street.

 

Image via CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley/Facebook

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