The recent spate of shootings of unarmed civilians by police and of police by armed civilians has launched a new phase of domestic warfare that has been brewing for quite some time.
The events preceding the assassination of policemen in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., were tragic, but it should be clearly recognized that the Dallas policemen were shot to death while protecting those protesting against these same prior events; those shot in Baton Rouge were near a gas station where it was anticipated that similar protests might be held again.
What has failed to emerge from these tragic events is a voice of reason like that of the Rev. Martin Luther King, the quintessential proponent of nonviolence in an era when violence was regularly visited upon people simply because of the color of their skin. Dr. King certainly would have condemned the actions taken either by those who murdered police or by police who killed innocent people.
More importantly, Dr. King would have reached out to the parties involved, whether “black” and “blue,” to find a common ground where words rather than bullets would start the conversation about how best to resolve the deeply rooted societal problems that have pushed our nation to this historic precipice.
Wish as we all might, such a voice does not resound from the empty, platitudinous rhetoric of our current president. Rather than listening to inevitable political blather that solves nothing, it really is up to us, at a local level, to build the kinds of community bridges that outsiders such as police shooters Gavin Long and Micah Johnson can neither cross nor work around.