On Monday, July 11, former Miss Alabama, Kalyn Chapman James, released a video on Facebook in which she agonized over the fact that she doesn’t “feel sorry” for the five Dallas police officers who were murdered by gunman Micah Johnson on July, 7, 2016.
“I can’t stop the image of these men being killed in my mind, and my heart weeps,” she says in the clip. “But I think more than anything I’m dealing with a bit of guilt, because I don’t feel sad for the officers that lost their lives. And I know that’s not really my heart. I value human life and I want to feel sorry for them, but I can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr.”
Since the video’s release James has gotten a lot of backlash. She appeared on CNN Wednesday to speak with anchor Poppy Harlow about why she feels empathy for the killer.
“I wasn’t saying that he’s someone I celebrate or that I hold in high esteem. A martyr is truly and simply defined as a person who dies for their beliefs. That’s the context in which I used it,” James told Harlow. “It’s complex being an African American in America, watching people being gunned down. It doesn’t mean that I don’t value all human life, because I do. But I think that I’ve been more directly affected by the atrocities I’ve seen done against people of color. I’ve had to deal with that as an African American woman. And I do have to admit, while I detest the killing of those officers and the taking of innocent lives … I did in a way, I understood what could drive the shooter to do something like that.”