Micah Johnson’s journal opened a portal into a madman’s mind, reports the Dallas Morning News. Handwritten scrawls and crude sketches suggested the 25-year-old’s gun lust, his fascination with shoot-and-scoot tactics, and increasing interest in black nationalism. His words were not “an intricate manifesto,” the newspaper said, but rather “fleeting thoughts that bounced around inside a brain that never really grew up.” Yesterday, three days after he slaughtered five Dallas police officers and wounded seven others and two civilians in a rampage fueled by racism and rage, a more nuanced portrait of the killer began to take shape. His journal included riffs about assault rifles, but they were interspersed with rap music lyrics. A dispassionate sentence about ways to inflict maximum carnage might be followed by one with complexity and heart, about being both African and American during a time where those identities often seem to conflict. “This guy might have been a loner,” said one officer, “But he was smart.”
The police investigation suggests Johnson had long prepared for the attack, said Chief David Brown, but fast-tracked his plans after the protest march against recent police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota was announced. Brown said police are “convinced this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous” and was determined to “make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color.” A police official close to the investigation said Johnson’s written ramblings did not contain a direct threat or outline definite plans. Johnson “was studying all these different disciplines and you can’t make heads or tails out of it,” he said.