Yet another week begins with American tragedy, as three police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday.
The attack — called “unspeakable and unjustified” by the state’s governor — comes after a week of protests concerning Alton Sterling‘s death at the hands of Baton Rouge police.
In the hours, days and weeks to come, a message of non-violence, peace and rational discussion must prevail.
Put another way: People need to stop killing each other.
Nothing left but to plead for peace
Granted, words on a page begging members of the human race to stop killing each other aren’t going to do the trick.
But with little else to say in the aftermath of yet more deadly tragedies, people must rise up and demand an end to the violence, no matter the perpetrators.
If the phrase “stop killing each other” seemed too obvious and flimsy to adopt as an ethos just one year ago, perhaps society needs to show humility about this summer’s slaughters and admit that we need a crusade against senseless killings.
Stop killing each other, please.
As the Baton Rouge situation unfolds Sunday, some leaders appear to be preaching that gospel. From the L.A. Times:
At a hastily arranged news conference Sunday, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Gregory Thomas called for peace between police and communities across the country. He said the country needed to have a “deep conversation” about revenge against police for killings of black Americans.
While the motive of Sunday’s shooting in Baton Rouge, La., is unclear, Micah Johnson, the shooter in Dallas, had told police that his motives included revenge for black men killed by police.
“We cannot let this be the order of the day. We don’t need to have a copycat scenario, be it in Baton Rouge or anywhere across the country,” Thomas said, speaking in Washington, D.C., where the organization was holding its annual conference.
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave the world blind and toothless,” said Thomas, paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had joined Thomas, said: “This has no kinship to our civil rights movement. This is not about black and white; it’s about wrong and right,” he added.
The Times and the AP have also reported that Alton Sterling’s aunt and nephew are calling for peace and are condemning Sunday’s shooting.
“We want to offer our condolences to the officers’ families because we know first-hand what they are going through. We just went through this,” Sterling’s aunt said.
‘These concepts should be so simple’
Critics of the Black Lives Matter movement will likely use Sunday’s attack to denigrate the effort’s message further, but that would be shortsighted.
Still, BLM activists must examine, address and condemn murmurings that revenge killings against police are acceptable.
In much the same way, police departments and police unions must accept that too many people — of all races — are dying at the hands of law enforcement in circumstances that range from complex to patently wrong. (And that’s not even to count the numerous videos appearing every month that show police using excessive — but not lethal — force. Disproportionately, that force is being used against black Americans.)
While this editorial cannot tangibly change the outcomes of any particular event, this summer’s proceedings have reached a point where cooler heads must prevail.
Police and communities must unite and stop killing each other.
And more people must step up and deliver the message.
“Violence is not only impractical but immoral,” Martin Luther King, Jr. said.
“There are many causes I would die for,” said Mahatma Gandhi. “There is not a single cause I would kill for.”
These concepts should be so simple, even in the face of injustice and anger.
But, with each passing headline, it looks like the world needs a reaffirmation of this message.
Stop killing each other.